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Readers' Choice Awards

Finalists for 2013 Best Pregnancy Blog

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Pregnancy blogs are ways to educate, entertain and inform. It's a great place to let your hair down, or chat with others about pregnancy issues. Which one will have your vote?

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Cesarean Rates

CesareanRates.com
Jill Arnold blogs about hospital discharge data. So far, the blog has been almost exclusively tables and graphs of cesarean rates, maps showing small area variation in rates and an occasional write-up on why, how and to whom these numbers might matter and how they are reported, if at all. This summary makes it sound excruciatingly dull but sometimes even the most simplistic visualization of data can spark curiosity in health care use in certain regions.

The blog and data on the site go part and parcel with a conference presentation I gave on the topic in 2011. So far, I’ve mainly focused on the data and on practice variation, but now that all fifty states have completed reports, there is time to cover other topics of the presentation and weave them all together, namely health literacy and numeracy and the right to access the information needed to make informed decisions as a patient (such as hospital data) as a social justice issue. Patients should be able to learn as much as they want to about the facilities in which and the providers from whom they will seek care.

Blogging is one way to contextualize the data on the site. I enjoy blogging but I grew increasingly annoyed over the years with the seeing the same thing over and over on childbirth blogs. My work on cesarean rates has made me question and throw away many of the assumptions I had about high cesarean rates, low cesarean rates, hospital birth, medical care in pregnancy and how quickly seemingly basic data can be spun into propaganda. The political push-pull between doctors and midwives can get obnoxious and often appears to have less to do with patients than it does with promoting one profession and its ideology.

Rather than continually have to duck while two groups and their respective advocates threw mud at each other, I started a new blog because I like the idea of first quantifying and displaying what everyone is griping about and making data available directly to other patients and to the mudslingers themselves. Picking one procedure in particular and focusing on it can tell us a lot about how health care is delivered in a region. It is worth looking at how information travels into the hands of patients and ultimately whether there is anything significant to improve in maternity care and how severe the problem may be.

To vote for Cesarean Rates: Best Pregnancy Blog Finalists

New Mom Needs

New Mom Needs Blog
Photo © March of Dimes

Evidence Based Birth

Evidence Based Birth Blog
Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN started blogging 10 months ago on April 26, 2012.

I love reading medical evidence about birth and blogging about it! I feel like there is a real need for this blog. It helps provide families with a credible source of information about the evidence for different birth options. I get emails and phone calls from people all over the world who tell me that I am making a difference, and that's what inspires me to keep blogging.

What are the primary focuses of your blog?

At Evidence Based Birth, my main goal is to write evidence-based articles that review the highest quality medical evidence for certain birth practices. I always have at least two experts review these articles, and I try to write the articles in as non-biased a way as possible. I also publish interviews with families and care providers who have taken the evidence and put it into practice. These real-life testimonials help bring the evidence to life and inspire others to talk to their care providers about birth evidence.

Why did you start your blog?

After my first child’s birth, I began to read the medical evidence for the care I received in the labor and delivery unit. I discovered that much of the care I received during my first birth has been shown by research to be harmful to women and babies! A few years later, after the evidence-based birth of my second child, I googled “evidence-based care during labor and delivery.” I found out that nobody else was blogging about this the way I thought it could be done. Research evidence about birth is out there—but you need an expensive subscription and research skills in order to read and understand the evidence. As a PhD-prepared nurse, I had both the subscription and the skills. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could blog about birth evidence so that families all over the world can have this information?" And so www.EvidenceBasedBirth.com was born!

What are your social media links you'd prefer we use (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.)?

You can follow me at:

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Whole Beginnings

Whole Beginnings Blog
I write Whole Beginnings Blog because I see a need to reach women in the birthing community. There are many doulas, like myself, working hard to educate and empower women during their childbearing years and I see the blog as a great platform to not only inform women of their choices and support them through their decisions, but hopefully also empower and inspire them to see birth and themselves in a new positive way. WholeBeginnings began because I really needed a space to share all the things I was learning as I entered the birth world. Doulas do this hidden and yet amazing and essential job. They get paid very little in most cases, yet what they offer is incredible. Not only do they provide unconditional love, support and education, but they spend their nights answering worried text messages or driving through storms to apply counter-pressure and a warm compress to a mama, sometimes at the cost of being with their own families at very important times. I write WholeBeginnings to help them in their endeavors and the mothers along with them, by informing women about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum- there is so much misinformation and lack of information for mothers- but also to extend my doula work to a larger audience.

The primary focus of my blog is to educate, empower, and inspire women. I hope it reaches birth workers, mothers, mothers to be, sisters. I discuss things from very clinical aspects of birth, to the very esoteric experiences. I have birth stories of births I've attended, tips for mothers, information about pregnancy or birth procedures, and birth stories told by mothers themselves (see the video series Real Moms).

I started my blog to be able to share with a wider range of women the things I learn in the birth world. I was a nanny for five years before I became a doula and was just amazed that I could have spent all that time with so many mothers and not know much about birth! In fact, even now there are many clients that I have that really don't know much about birth. I believe that we will see better birth outcomes for mother and child in the US when we, as women, decide to educate and empower ourselves and demand better care. I hope to contribute to that in some small way!

To vote for Whole Beginnings: Best Pregnancy Blog Finalists

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