By Lew and Moawad
Saturday, December 23, 2006
The District of Columbia's only independent birthing center substantially reduced rates of Caesarean sections and preterm deliveries, saving the health-care system more than $800,000 a year, the Washington Post reported Dec. 21. Ruth Watson Lubic, founder and chair of the Family Birthing Center, presented the financial projections this fall.
The nonprofit Family Birthing Center of the Washington County Health System provides gynecological and obstetrical services, as well as parenting advice to women and general health services to children. In addition to these services, an increasing number of prenatal patients are choosing to deliver in its birthing rooms. The remaining pregnant women give birth at Washington Hospital Center, accompanied by one of the center's seven midwives.
According to preliminary 2006 numbers, the staff seems likely to celebrate a record number of newborns, which exceeds the 153 births last year, as well as the greatest percentage of births delivered away from the hospital. Through mid-October, less than 5 percent of those infants had arrived before 37 weeks and only 2 percent were considered low birth weight. Only 7 percent of their mothers had Cesarean sections. By comparison, in 2004, Caesarean sections accounted for 29 percent of all U.S. births.
As a lifelong nurse and midwife, Lubic says that the trust and communication that develop between patients and midwives during prenatal appointments translates into better health outcomes for babies.
"If we don't help women feel good about their ability to give birth, then they're not going to feel so good about their ability to mother," she said. Conversely, "there's nothing better than a birth well done to raise self esteem."
In India, lawmakers and women's rights activists are calling on the government to protect female fetuses, the Associated Press reported Dec. 18. A Dec. 5 report from UNICEF found that 7,000 girls in India each year are not born due to "male child mania," and are aborted illegally.
Overall, India's billion-plus population has roughly 800 females to 1,000 males. UNICEF's report attributed the skewed gender ratio as a contributing factor in the early marriage of girls, early deaths as a result of childbirth complications and lower levels of education. The report also said the gender bias could result in more violence against girls and women.
"Female feticide should be treated as a crime and not just a social evil, therefore stringent punishment and punitive action is required," said Renuka Choudhury, India's minister of women and child development.
Ninety-five percent of Americans have sex before marriage, including those who abstained from sex during their teen years, the New York-based Guttmacher Institute announced Dec. 19. According to a new study that uses data from several rounds of the federal National Survey of Family Growth, among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81 percent had premarital sex by age 44.
Irene Lew is editorial intern and Nouhad Moawad is Arabic intern for Women's eNews.
Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Birthing Center, Washington County Health System:
"Missing Daughters on an Indian Mother's Mind":
Guttmacher Institute, "Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States,
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