Catching Babies in Appalachia

Sep 10, 2015

Midwives have a long and storied history in Appalachia. Can they help decrease the region’s high C-section rate?

On this week’s Front Porch podcast, we talk to two women who help “catch babies” in West Virginia: Leila Nichols, director of Midwifery Services at FamilyCare, and Staysha Quentrill, Strong Start Peer Leader at FamilyCare Birth Center.

The World Health Organization says 5 – 10 percent C-section rate is ideal. That rate is 33 percent for the whole U.S., and 36 percent in West Virginia – the 5th highest rate in the nation.

Nichols gives 7 reasons for the high C-section rate.

  1. Women being told they can’t have a vaginal birth
  2. Induction methods
  3. Continuous fetal monitoring
  4. Women not being given enough information about vaginal birth after C-section
  5. Casual attitudes toward surgery
  6. Reimbursements are higher for C-section
  7. More convenient for provider

Bonus information – what NOT to do if you’re the partner for a woman having a baby.

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Mary Breckinridge, founder of the Frontier Nursing Service in Appalachian Kentucky