BC Women Protest Persecution of Traditional Birth Attendants

Over 20 adult and around 10 children rallied with Humanize Birth outside the College of Midwives of BC yesterday afternoon to support women’s right to make autonomous decisions in childbirth.

The rally was a reaction to the College threatening a BC birth attendant with fines or jail time if she continued her practice of attending women in childbirth.

During the rally, the College issued a media release explaining their stance on the subject.  This video highlights some of the response women had to this media release during our rally.

Rally participants were obviously offending the release, which claimed traditional birth attendants are “taking advantage of vulnerable women” by honouring these women’s choice to have them at their births.

Check out some photographs of the protest, or visit Vancouver Birth Rally on facebook to join the conversation.

  • Breanna

    What you are advocating for is both dangerous and asinine. As a woman about to give birth, I am offended by you and this whole organization in its arrogance in your so called knowledge of the birthing process. It’s disgusting. Increasingly whack jobs who decide to abstain from medical care during their pregnancy and birth come to major problems including infant death!! You people are like cavemen!!! Get over yourselves. There is a reason why life expectancy continues to rise… Why infant mortality continues to decline… Medical science!!!!!! You disgust me. Also, I quite enjoyed the Sunnybrook video. You are uptight ignoramuses.

    • Admin – Jessica

      Hi Breanna,

      Thanks for your comments. We believe open discussion with people who have differing perspectives is really important in order to facilitate greater understanding of these issues on all sides.

      For you and any other readers who are interested in the stats on maternal medical care and infant mortality, I would like to provide some further information for you. Links to the data I provide can be found at the bottom of this comment:

      In Canada, where our organization was founded, the cesarean rate in 1995 was 17.6% (1). Since then, it has climbed steadily to its current rate, which is approximately 30%.

      It is well documented that high cesarean rates increase complications during childbirth (3). Cesarean birth is associated with higher rates of maternal and newborn morbidity and death compared to vaginal birth (4).

      Similar trends can be seen in the United States, where the maternal mortality rate has doubled in the last 25 years (5).

      In regards to infant mortality, while medical intervention rates such as cesareans and inductions continue to rise in Canada, the infant mortality rate has stayed the same (6), indicating that MORE technology and intervention is in fact not saving babies as you think it is.

      Research (7) supports that two of the most important factors in improving childbirth outcomes are good nutrition and good social support. Neither of these have anything to do with medicine and technology.

      Research also shows that planned home births are safer for mother and baby than planned hospital births, with planned home births having a lower risk of intervention, a lower risk of maternal hemorrhage, and a lower risk of newborns needing intensive care treatments, with the same rates of infant and maternal survival.

      Does medicine and technology save lives? Yes. Is it sometimes a good choice for birthing women? Yes. However, when used inappropriately, it causes increase risk to both mother and baby without improving outcomes (8).

      In the future, I do have to ask that comments do not include name-calling; we promote respectful dialogue here on Humanize Birth and feel we cannot support discussions which include name calling, swearing, or hateful language / tones.

      (1) Canadian Perinatal Health Report, 2008: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/2008/cphr-rspc/pdf/cphr-rspc08-eng.pdf

      (3) Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada: http://www.sogc.org/media/advisories-20080625_e.asp

      (4) Optimal Birth BC http://optimalbirthbc.ca/aboutus/cesarean-section-in-bc/

      (5) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/maternal-mortality-rate-infographic_n_1827427.html

      (6)http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/health/infant-mortality-rate.aspx

      (7) Example of this research: http://health.psych.ucla.edu/CDS/pubs/2000%20FeldmanDunkelSchetter_Maternal%20social%20support.pdf

      (8) http://www.birthtakesavillage.com/home-birth-safety/