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Robb Jeffries, Published September 02 2013

Group rallies for maternal health care

GRAND FORKS – Dozens of mothers, health care providers and their families rallied Monday in Grand Forks as part of a national campaign to increase awareness about maternal health care.

The 2013 Rally to Improve Birth served to bring light to America’s high rate of complications for mothers and babies during birth. According to the United Nations, the U.S. has the highest maternity care costs in the world, but it ranks 45th in maternal safety.

Event co-organizer Tanya Svec said altering the natural birth process, such as performing Cesarean surgeries and inducing labor, can increase risk of harm to mothers and babies.

“There’s an attitude that birth is dangerous, and C-sections are much safer than a regular birth,” she said. “That’s just not true.”

According to the website ImprovingBirth.org, 1 in 3 mothers have a C-section birth, while the World Health Organization recommends less than 15 percent of low-risk mothers have the surgery.

“Doctors, they are the experts, and many women are afraid to question them,” Svec said. “But hospitals can have other influences that affect those decisions, too.”

The fear of asking questions can complicate pregnancies, midwife Rebekah Knapp said.

Knapp said it’s important to ask your doctor the right questions, as some doctors have different biases in how they care for their patients.

Svec said the local rally wasn’t specifically meant to be an indictment of care in Grand Forks, but rather a way “to inform families and moms about the different options women have during their pregnancies.”