Michele Lauria, OB-GYN, is one of my heroes. I first came across her name as the contact person for the Vermont/New Hampshire VBAC Project. Concerned by the fact that many hospitals in Vermont and New Hampshire had stopped offering VBACs, the obstetric departments at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Fletcher Allen Health Care teamed together in 2002 to create the VT/NH VBAC project. They developed these project documents: 1. VBAC Guidelines; 2. Consent for Birth After Cesarean Section; and 3. Birth Choices After a Cesarean Section and lobbied for area hopsitals to resume VBAC services. As a result, currently ALL the hospitals in Vermont and 3/4 of the hospitals in New Hampshire again offer VBAC.
Now Dr. Lauria is one of the featured speakers in an excellent 20 minute video produced by the Northern New England Perinatal Quality Improvement Network (NNEPQIN). The video, RISK: Consequences of Near Term Birth, makes a powerful case for allowing labor to begin on its own. According to Dr. Lauria [and current research], “If mother nature hasn’t decided that it’s time for that child to be born, you could be putting that child at risk” [by choosing induction]. The video features two families whose near-term babies experienced medical complications and extended stays in the NICU. The video is about 20 minutes long and is available for viewing online at no charge. You can also order a DVD of the video for only $10. If you have students in your childbirth classes who are asking for or being pressured into elective induction, it would be worth the time to show this video in class.
If you are looking for other resources to help reduce elective inductions, download this free handout from The Family Way. Because of the new Joint Commission perinatal quality standard for reducing elective deliveries, many hospitals have put policies into place banning elective deliveries before 39 weeks. We, as childbirth educators, need to do our part to educate consumers about the dangers of interfering with Mother Nature’s plan for birth.