Today is International Women's Day -- a celebration of the social, cultural, economic, and political achievements of women around the world. This year's theme is #BeBoldForChange. This day hits close to home for Lamaze, as we have been a champion for change -- and improvement in -- the treatment of and care for women during labor and birth since our humble beginnings in 1960. Our #BeBoldForChange began with our co-founders, the late Elisabeth Bing and Marjorie Karmel, who spearheaded the movement for women to reclaim their power and authority in birth by using more evidence-based practices.
The Lamaze of today continues to #BeBoldForChange with our mission, which is to promote a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. In addition to serving as a direct resource for women and families, we engage in and partner with organizations and initiatives created to bring about progress in maternity care, which is vital to improving outcomes for mothers and babies.
How can you #BeBoldForChange for women and families when it comes to pregnancy and birth? Here are just a few ideas!
⇒ Spread the word about evidence-based practices in birth -- do your friends know that practices like cesarean and induction are over-used unnecessarily in the United States and how to avoid them? Send them resources from Lamaze!
⇒ Talk with your care provider and encourage others to do the same -- talk early and often with your OB or midwife about your care and the practices and things that are most important to you in birth. You do have choices and a say in your care!
⇒ Talk about your own birth story so that others may learn -- include the negatives and the positives, share what you would do differently next time or what you believe helped you have the best birth experience.
⇒ Get [really] educated about birth -- you can surf the net or you can really dive deep into learning about birth, which includes more than just the stages of labor. Take a childbirth class that will teach you the many options you have in birth, what informed consent looks like, and how to "push" for the best care in addition to useful comfort measures techniques and pain management options for labor. If you had a great childbirth class experience, spread the word!
⇒ Be vocal, be selective, be bold -- speak up for what matters most, choose your care provider with much consideration, and be prepared to do something out of the "norm" or against the grain if that's what it takes for you and your baby's optimal health. It's not always easy to take a stand, but usually, the benefits are immeasurable.