Back in November when I reviewed the book Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care, I mentioned that childbirth seems to be the last great frontier of feminism, and one that has not yet been taken on in full force. For some reason, many women activists insist on expending tremendous amounts of energy protecting a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.
I won't take issue with that crusade, at least not in this post. What irritates me is that these same feminists seem to devote little to no energy protecting a woman's right to birth a baby the way she wants to. I hope it's only a matter of time before the hardliners sink their teeth into that cause, because something needs to be done to make sure women are completely informed about the options available to them when giving birth. Before you stop reading because you think this doesn't apply to you, please note that it doesn't matter whether you are pro-intervention, a home birther, or somewhere in between. In order to make an informed choice to have the birth she wants, a woman should have access to information.
A project called The Birth Survey is setting out to do just that: put specific, pertinent information in the hands of women who are planning to give birth. At this time, it is difficult for an expectant mother to find out about a certain birthing facility's C-section rates, epidural administration rates, fetal monitoring methods, or even the facility's policies on food and drink during labor or level of breastfeeding support. The Birth Survey is collecting details of women's pregnancy care and birth experiences to compile reports that will detail this information and make it easily accessible to any woman who wants it. Reports for New York area hospitals are already available. In order to expand the data, they need you to take the survey, too.
Take the survey. Tell other people about your experience. Share information, so that what you liked, didn't like, loved, or hated about your birthing facility can be passed on to any woman who is investigating her birth options.
If for no other reason, do it as a matter of courtesy. As the wife of a PhD candidate, I know how much researchers rely on the kindness of strangers to take their much-labored-upon surveys to help them in their studies.