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Safe Birth advocates spread message on Labor Day

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 03 2013 07:02:49 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 03 2013 07:03:10 AM CDT

Advocates gathered to spread their message in Center Valley Monday.

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -

Labor Day took on a new meaning at one rally in Lehigh County. Safe birth advocates gathered to spread their message in Center Valley Monday.

A group of women lined Center Valley Parkway. One was holding a sign that said "Birth Matters," and that was the message at the 2013 Rally to Improve Birth.

"We're advocating for evidence based care and humanity in childbirth," said Liz Puffenberger, a doula and co-coordinator for the Rally to Improve Birth.

According to data from the United Nations, the U.S. has the highest maternity costs in the world, yet ranks only 45th in maternal safety.

"It's helping get the education out there that the US could be doing a lot better with maternal care," said Jenifer Smith, a birth and postpartum doula.

Ralliers say part of the problem is too much doctor intervention. "C-sections carry higher risks, inductions carry higher risks. Other interventions like lying on your back, not being able to move in labor all increase risks," explained Puffenberger.

One mother, Michelle Adler, at the rally said she knows about too much doctor intervention. She describes her first birth as 'traumatic and difficult.'

"We had all of the interventions- the inducement and Pitocin and ultimately C-section, and it was very traumatic for myself and my husband and my son," explained Adler. She's now 6 1/2 months pregnant again and has opted for a home birth this time.

"I'm hoping to be part of a change, a national change, that informs women, empowers them, and let's them see that birth is not a sickness," said Adler.

This rally was just one of more than 170 being held all across the U.S. on this Labor Day. "We're trying to appeal to young people who may consider having children in the future, to care providers who could consider changing their practices, and also to pregnant moms," said Puffenberger.