Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My dysfunctional love of statistics

I loved statistics so much in university. Honestly! I'm still such a geek, that I love to look at my client's stats...not at regular times of the year (like December 31st), mind you. I like to do it when the spirit moves me (the happy convergence of left and right brain.) Or might it be tax-procrastination time?

So, here's this past 12 month's basic statistics...

Of 62 clients, 43 (69%) had spontaneous vaginal births without any major pain medications (epidural or narcotics), 10 (16%) had spontaneous vaginal births WITH an epidural, 2 (3%) clients had assisted births (1 vacuum, 1 forceps), and 7 (11%) clients had cesareans (2 breech, 1 face presentation, 3 dystocia, 1 fetal distress). Take some time to think about that. Only 5 clients (8%) had unplanned cesareans. What's the average in BC?

The majority of hospital births were at BC Women's (46, 74%), followed by St. Pauls (9, 14.5%), Lion's Gate (2, 3%) and Royal Columbian (1, 2%). Five clients planned for a home birth. Of those, 4 were successful (one had to transfer to hospital for meconium at 10cm, but happily birthed then went back home). There was also 1 unplanned home birth (luckily, she had fast-moving midwives!) So, only 6.5% of births were at home. Okay...I need more home births!

As for who was caring for my clients, family doctors top the list with 37 (61%), followed by midwives at 16 (25%), and OBs (9, 14%). The BC Women's FPMS birth docs cared for a whopping 37% of my clients. Thanks to all who did such a great job of making slow births happen!

A lot of people think my clients stats must be so good because they are having second or third babies. Well, almost three-quarters (46, 74%) of my clients were having their first baby. Only 16 (26%) clients were having their second or third baby, and 12 (19%) of those were returning clients. Of the four new clients who were "multips," one had a home VBAC, one had a home water birth, another had a home birth after a traumatic first birth experience in another country, and one was over age 50!

You might also say that my clients have great births because they must all be very young and highly motivated. But, most are over age 35, many are over age 40, and most would have been fine with an epidural or cesarean if it was medically necessary.

But, after many months of working together, these women were all motivated to have a slow listen to and trust their allow for the natural rhythm of birth. And, with good support, and a great team (who can sometimes collaborate silently, with only eyes and hands to communicate) just worked!

- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula, Slow Birth, Slow Planet


Amy Romano said...

These are great stats indeed! And I applaud your transparency with respect to outcomes of clients in your care.

If you are interested in stats, I hope you'll check out my research blog, hosted by Lamaze, at

I'm happy to have found your blog!

Rosie said...

Beautiful stats! You have inspired me to start a new Excel Spreadsheet and enter my data! A couple of years ago my pc fizzled and I lost my data (i know to keep back up now).
I could use an encouraging stat about now - nice slow birth had surgical ending - baby was fine - mom was amazing - hospital was one few doulas will venture to.
Thanks J!

Anonymous said...

Stats that would satisfy the WHO. Keep up the great work. I've enjoyed your blog for a while now!

Kate said...

i love stats too! And i especially like being the single unplanned home birth! you DO need more homebirths :-)

Little Lady Cakes said...

I have to agree. Awesome stats.

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking a couple of days ago: "I wonder how many home births Jacquie has compared to hospital births?" Nice to see such inspiring stats. There is a birthing revolution going on!