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Childbirth advocates petition hospital not to ban VBACs

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Wisconsin's Hudson Hospital has announced that it plans to stop providing VBAC (vaginal birth after a Cesarean) as an option at the end of August, and childbirth advocates are working to change its mind.

Local childbirth advocates say Hudson Hospital, just over the border from Stillwater, has long been a refuge for women seeking compassionate and evidence-based care. Many Minnesota mothers traveled to Hudson Hospital in order to have VBAC births, especially in the Twin Cities area.

It can be hard for expectant mothers to find a hospital that will respect her birth choices. International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) of the Twin Cities says that options are limited in Minnesota:

According to a survey conducted by ICAN of the Twin Cities in 2008, 39 out of 101 hospitals (38%) with labor and delivery services in the State of Minnesota have formal policies prohibiting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Particularly in rural areas of the state, this means that women must either "choose" unnecessary, repeat cesarean surgery or travel extensively to receive maternity care. An additional 30 hopstials (30%) have policies leaving access to VBAC up to individual doctors' discretion. In total, this means that two-thirds of all hospitals with labor and delivery services in Minnesota have formal or de facto policies that severely limit birthing women's access to choice in childbirth.

ICAN Twin Cities has responded to Hudson Hospital's announcement by creating a petition on Change.org. The petition states:

This petition is in response to your recent hospital policy change of banning all vaginal births after cesareans (VBACs) effective August 31, 2014.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists clearly states in its guidelines that “Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe and appropriate choice for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including for some women who have had two previous cesareans” and goes on to conclude that most women “are candidates for and should be counseled about VBAC and offered a TOLAC.”

All women are entitled to access to choices in healthcare, whether that is a repeat cesarean or a VBAC. And these choices should not be dictated by stifling policy, but made in partnership with their physicians or midwives and based on their unique medical needs.

Women who come to Hudson Hospital to birth their children are thrilled by the care they receive. Your highly educated and compassionate nurses, doctors, midwives and hospital staff go above and beyond to provide evidence-based, supportive care for birthing mothers. It is truly devastating to the community, and especially to the 1 in 3 mothers who have cesarean births, to lose access to the integrity, partnership, and exceptional care that Hudson Hospital provides.

We urge you to rescind your policy change immediately and return to providing safe, evidence-based care to mothers seeking VBACs at your hospital.

ICAN is asking concerned citizens to sign this petition to urge Hudson Hospital to reconsider changing its policy.

Nearly 2,000 people have already signed the petition.

Concerned citizens can also write letters to the hospital administrators at the following addresses:

Hudson Hospital
Attn:Robbi Marion
405 Stageline Rd
Hudson, WI 54016

Hudson Physicians
Attn: Dr Paul Scott
403 Stageline Rd
Hudson, WI 54016

To learn more about your birth options if you've had a Cesarean, visit ICAN.

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