POSTED: Monday, September 2, 2013 - 4:55pm
UPDATED: Monday, September 2, 2013 - 5:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — If you are a mother or looking to have a baby in the future, local advocates want to protect you and your experience. Dozens rallied in Baton Rouge to improve birth Monday.
Advocates said the safety of the mother and the baby should be a doctor's number one priority, but recent statistics say nine out of ten women are so stressed out during pregnancy, their babies are more at risk.
Mother of three Hannah Birchman said she knows this firsthand.
"During my birth experience, I'd have cervical checks and it hurt, and nurses were yelling at me. Sort of as the nurse would come in, I'd be crying because I was afraid," Birchman said.
Birchman said her first prenatal experience was not what she expected -- that's why she's rallying to let other women know that they should be put first.
"Women and babies should be at the center of maternity care not convenience, liability, and cost or because a woman had an experience where evidence-based care was not provided to her," Birchman said. "Perhaps she was not treated the way she felt like she should."
In Louisiana, nearly 40% of women have C-sections, more than the 15-percent suggested by the world health organization. Birchman said one of her goals is to lower that number and let women know they have choices.
"So the mom can choose what procedure she wants. She can say no. She can say yes. She can say no, as opposed to the decision being made for her," Birchman said. "So I think that's sort of at the forefront that the mother's the decision maker."
"So, honestly, I think it's really wonderful when women stand up to educate other women about how to improve their own health and the health of their children."
Betsy Buckert's an OB-GYN who advocates to make sure more doctors create a healthy environment for their patients.
"That's what a lot of people experience in their prenatal care, in their births, that it's not about the joy of pregnancy and the joy of childbirth, and what's really best for me and my baby," Buckert said. "It's about where do I fit in the schedule? How are we going to make this convenient for the doctor and for me? and the whole act of giving birth gets lost."
More than 170 U.S. cities took part in the international rallies to improve birth -- along with countries like Japan and Australia.
If you're interested in learning more, you can go to rallytoimprovebirth.com.