Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Birth Survey

For those of you who haven't heard of The Birth Survey, listen up. If you have heard of it, but haven't filled yours out, do it now! If you have filled it out, encourage your friends and family to do it too. I had heard about it, but learned so much more from Elan McAllister, President of Choices in Childbirth, who spoke at the Controversies in Childbirth Conference. This is the first item I wanted to write about from the conference because it is of the utmost importance.

All women are asked to participate who have given birth within the last three years. The Survey is gathering data on providers, doctors, midwives, hospitals, etc. When women learn they are pregnant, they will be able to go to The Birth Survey to find information about different doctors or midwives in their area. Obviously, the more women that participate, the better the data, the more information women are able to get to make informed choices about their medical care.

So far, over a third of participants have given birth with a Licensed Midwife or Certified Professional Midwife and gave birth out of the hospital. My reasoning for this is that these are the women who are excited to report about their wonderful and empowering birth experiences. This is a survey for all women and all types of births.

Here's how it works:

Take the survey. Simple.

View the survey reports. This will include consumer feedback on the hospitals, doctors, midwives, and birth centers in your area.

View the hospital intervention rates. This is so empowering to have this information in order to make informed decisions about where and with whom to birth your baby.

What I love about this is that it is real. No one can tamper with the results. It will speak for itself, based on actual births. It gives women a voice, who perhaps had a less-than-perfect birth, to help other women avoid the same birth attendants, etc. That is why I say that all women should participate in the survey.

The project was just started Fall 2008 by CIMS (Coalition for Improving Maternity Services) and the first results are due out the beginning of April. It will be regularly updated and will include birth surveys filled out for 5 years, so the data stays current.

So what are you waiting for? Go do the survey! Make a difference.


April said...

Love the new look!
I'm sad that my baby is too old for me to participate in the survey. I will be sure to share the info with others, though!

Janet said...

Love your new background. It looks really nice.

Sarah said...

A little over a year ago, I filled out this survey re: my first birth. I was pointed in the survey's direction from a friend who happened to know my passion for birth (though she was into hospitalized, medicated, and even c-section birth!). She thought it might be right up my alley.

It was very theraputic that someone cared to know my experience, and that it might actually make a difference for someone some day.

Yesterday, I tried to start the survey for my second birth experience, but somehow closed the window while in the middle and got discouraged. Perhaps I'll try to do it again soon.

I'm glad the results will soon be available for the rest of the country. . . though I wasn't very impressed with the NY survey results. They aren't that informative. You may find that a provider is not great in someone's opinion, but the "why" of it is not really answered.

What was your thought?

Donna Ryan said...

Very good question, Sarah. I must admit, because it's been over 4 years since I've given birth, I wasn't able to get in on the survey.

As for the results... This is a very new survey, just started last August. Totally run by volunteers. The results are just coming out right now from what they have so far. It has been a big problem with people starting the survey and not finishing it. In fact, 15,000 surveys have been initiated, but only about half of that have been finished.

I have not looked at the results, but I am anxious to do so. The Survey takes about 20-30 minutes to complete, and I assume a lot of that is how much you are willing to put down in writing as to why you liked, or didn't like, your birth place or attendant.

Let that be a lesson to us all -- include as many details and info as possible!

Kate's mommy said...

FINALLY finished my survey! Probably faster the less interventions/complications/care providers you had for your birth. :) I did lookup my past & current midwives - interesting but like Sarah said... no real details. Still - it's nice to know that someone is gathering and analyzing this important info! :)