Educating young mothers
In recent years, the rate of cesarean (c-section) births has risen dramatically. While celebrities have influenced this trend, some health professionals and family members also pressure women to have unnecessary c-sections for a variety of reasons (convenience, liability, lack of information).
British Columbia has the highest of rate of c-sections in Canada, at 31%. The World Health Organization says that about 15 – 20% is best.
The BC Women’s Hospital Cesarean Task Force developed two initiatives to deliver better information and support for making decisions around birth: 1) A new clinic offering birth information and medical consultation and 2) a public education campaign.
The goal: to reduce unnecessary cesarean births at BC Women’s Hospital by showing women who had had one c-section, that their second or third birth could safely be a vaginal birth.
Working with Cesarean Task Force, we used our research and discovery process to lay the foundation for what was to become a highly successful online public education campaign. The “Power to Push,” although the most controversial name on our shortlist, told the story best – helping pregnant women feel informed and empowered to advocate for their best and safest birth options.
The Power to Push campaign’s strong brand and clear messaging made it easy for women to relate to and make use of the latest research evidence to help inform their birthing decisions. Our integrated approach projected a singular, expert voice that encouraged women and their care providers to explore the options and make evidence-based choices.
We developed a website that provided clear, research-based information and resources about birthing options available in BC. Nine brochures in five languages, banners, posters and a very successful social media rollout helped spread the word. The campaign materials were distributed to health care providers province wide.
On the social media front, the Signals-developed and moderated Power to Push facebook community quickly grew to become the largest online birth community in BC. And due to the evidence-based content and supportive community members, it continues to be the largest and most active birth community in BC.
Two years after the launch of this campaign, the BC Women’s Hospital Cesarean Task Force announced its initial results:
- While cesarean rates continued to rise across BC, BC Women’s own c-section rate dropped 3%, exceeding the task force’s goal.
- Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) rate increased by almost 4% at BC Women’s.
- Women traveled from around the province in order to attempt a vaginal breech birth at BC Women’s.
- The Best Birth Clinic booked more than 600 obstetrical consultant appointments with women from around BC, exceeding the task force’s goal.