Chattanoogans rally to protect expecting moms and their babies

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 9/03/2013 7:57 pm
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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Many Chattanooga area families took part in a nationwide rally Monday morning to end what they call an American maternity crisis.

Dozens upon dozens of concerned moms and dads took to the streets with signs in their hands to bring awareness to a problem many people might not realize; a crisis that is allegedly running up the cost of maternity health care while potentially putting expecting moms and babies in harms way.

"Continued fetal monitoring when it's a low risk situation. Unnecessary inductions and even unnecessary C-sections that are not being done for the health of mother and baby," said protest organizer Rachel Jimenez when asked about the elements that are at the heart of the crisis.

According to a recent study, 33% of pregnant women in the U.S. Undergo surgical birth even though it's not necessary. In the State of Tennessee, the rate is at 32%. In Chattanooga, 35% percent of women are delivering babies via Cesarean section surgery despite being a low risk patient.

Concerned mom and protesters, Danielle Cemel says she wishes she knew those facts before she gave birth.

"There were interventions that were not necessary and I found out later that nine out of 10 women are getting care that puts them and their babies more at risk," said Cemel.

"For me, it means that my wife and mother of my children has the best birthing options available to her so she can make decision about what's best for her and our kids," said Mike Afdhal who attended the protest in support of his wife and other women.

Protesters say expensive and unnecessary procedures are costing patients thousand of dollars and putting a financial strain on the health care system. But opponents say the procedures have more to do with medical liability and making sure doctors aren't sued for malpractice should a patient say she did not receive adequate maternity care.

WDEF talked to doctor Michael Seever who was also in attendance at the rally. He explained how he deals with maternity patients.

"My job is to give people choices. I explain what the risk are and then let a person decide how she or they want to deal with that risk," said the doctor.

Supporters say they want the new affordable health care act to help put expecting moms and babies ahead of hospital profits, convenient procedures and liability concerns.

"We are hoping that with Obamacare, and the changes being made in medical practice, this will come along as well," said Jimenez.

 According to research by the United Nations, the U.S. has the highest maternity care cost in the world but ranks 45th in maternity safety.
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