published Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Labor Day rally highlights high C-section birth rate


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Organizers of a rally Monday hope to call attention to the high C-section birth rate in Chattanooga and Tennessee as well as to promote what they say are "safer, evidence-based birth practices."

The 2013 Rally to Improve Birth in Chattanooga will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Labor Day. The rally will start at the south side of the Walnut Street Bridge and end at the Walker Pavilion in Coolidge Park, according to Adele Gant, one of the local organizers.

The Chattanooga rally is one of 170 events taking place in the United States, Japan, Australia and Canada.

One in three births in Tennessee is by C-section, Gant said. That figure is more than double the rate recommended by the World Health Organization, a news release from rally organizer stated.

The United States is "in a true crisis, with the highest costs in the world and some of the worst health outcomes related to childbirth," said Dawn Thompson, president of, a national nonprofit organization advocating for mothers and mothering. "We must do better."

Health care providers -- hospitals and doctors -- are aware of the problem. C-sections and elective inductions often are scheduled for the convenience of physicians and/or patients. To reduce the number of early elective births, the state last year launched "Healthy Tennessee Babies are Worth the Wait" to improve birth rates at 39 weeks, the gestation experts agree ensures a baby is delivered healthy and more fully developed.

Still, rally supporters such as Gant believe more can be done.

There will be lots of information available to participants to help highlight issues of maternal health care, Gant said.

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