The job of a birth doula involves staying updated about birth trends. It can be a great thing to help you know what’s going on at the national and state level, but it’s also a great way to think of topics for newsletters, blogs, presentations, and even social media posts.
The data is typically accessible from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One such place to look is the National Center for Health Statistics. The data sources are varied but usually come from birth certificate data, but you should always confirm that within the documents.
One such trend from the 2022 birth data shows what looks to be a slight rise in cesarean rates – from 32.1% in 2021 to 32.2% in 2022. This might seem small, but it means thousands more cesarean births happened. You should also check the end of the document for state-specific data that may be useful in your practice.
Knowing about such changes is critical for doulas. These numbers could show shifts in health rules, medical practices, or how society thinks about birth. Understanding these changes helps doulas better support people during birth.
Several reasons explain this increase in cesarean rates. It could be because of new medical guidelines, changing attitudes about birth, more high-risk pregnancies, or the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. More research is needed to be sure about the causes.
This change impacts doulas too. A rise in cesarean rates could mean changing how we teach about birth, advocate for people, and provide support. It tells us that doulas must keep learning and adjusting to do their job well.
Another example of things to discuss with your clients from this data is the late preterm birth rate. Given the number of inductions that doulas see on the rise, it was interesting to note that overall, the number of late preterm births (between 34-36 weeks) was down to its lowest point since 2007. While that may have been true overall, my state saw a rise in late preterm births. So be sure to use that state-level data too.
In the end, understanding birth data helps doulas do their job better. So it’s not just good to know these numbers – it’s necessary. It’s vital that my doula clients have this information.
Because of this, it’s good for doulas to talk about these changes. We can learn more by sharing numbers from their states and discussing what they mean.
Every birth is unique, and knowing these numbers helps us remember and respect that. So let’s keep talking and learning together.
Let’s learn and grow as a community. Share the cesarean rate statistics for your state and join the conversation.
Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Osterman MJK. Births: Provisional data for 2022. Vital Statistics Rapid Release; no 28. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. June 2023. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15620/cdc:127052.