Group Wants Improved Birth Practices in Casper

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Casper -- A group of moms and soon-to-be moms is working to improve birth experiences in the Casper area. They're planning a rally, fittingly enough, on Labor Day, joining a nation-wide movement that urges "evidence-based maternity care." Woyming Medical Center caregivers tell News 13 they do their best to accommodate women's choices, but these women say the area's only labor and delivery hospital can and should do better.

Sara McCarthy, VBAC Casper Co-Founder and one of the rally's organizers, says natural birth should be accessible to all. "It's emotions that you can't even express. It is so wonderful and so beautiful and i want every mom who wants to have that VBAC -- and can have that VBAC -- to be able to experience that."

A vaginal birth after her first child came via c-section was possible thanks to a supportive obstetrician, but McCarthy had to speak up for it. "I just told them that I was in labor and that I was going to do this, that I was going to have my VBAC," McCarthy said.

In a statement, Wyoming Medical Center administrators maintain that supporting vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC for short) would be too difficult, requiring a lot of personnel on-hand: "Wyoming Medical Center sympathizes with a mother's desire to experience natural child birth, but we do not have the resources to meet guidelines set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to provide safe VBACs."

But a big problem according to this group is a lack of information.

"When you attend those classes that the WMC presents, you are only told what your choices are at the WMC, you're not given a depth of knowledge of other choices that you would have in labor and delivery," explained Improving Birth Rally Organizer Chelse DePaolo-Lara.

Yet other accommodations the group hopes for are possible at WMC. WMC Labor & Delivery Education Coordinator Jennifer Cockrum says it's all a matter of communication, and a birth plan is extremely helpful.

"We work through those individualized scenarios before the delivery so that hopefully we can communicate it before the delivery and meet those needs," Cockrum said.

A birthing ball, squatting bar, showers and massage tools are on-hand for example, and Cockrum says within the confines of safe birth, women can make decisions with their obstetrician about whether or not to start an IV immediately.

"When I teach classes the first thing i always tell them is I don't want you to leave disappointed from your birthing experience," Cockrum said.

The group hopes the hospital will change its policies, but they say this event is really about education. "I think that it's important that women are respected. They need to know that they have rights and that they have a voice, even when they're in the painful throes of childbirth!" said rally coordinator Becky Dever.