First National Rally For Change Celebrates a Different Kind of Labor Today

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COLUMBIA - Men and women gathered in Columbia Monday to celebrate Labor Day by raising awareness about women's health. The National Rally for Change focused on prenatal and maternal care for all women.

The rally took place at the corner of East Broadway and Old 63, near Boone Hospital where participants carried signs and chanted phrases like "birth matters" to get the attention of anyone who passed by. Ralliers said they hope the event helps encourage more people to demand changes in how the health care system manages maternal health care. The group says it wants better support for women's prenatal care through an infant's first 42 days of life. The rally in Columbia took place at the same time as similar rallies across the country.

According to research by the United Nations in 2010, the United States is currently ranked 50th worldwide for its maternal mortality rate, which puts it behind nearly every European country, as well as places in Asia and the Middle East.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate, which is 12 deaths per 100,000 live births, has doubled in the last 25 years, despite the fact that America spends more money on maternal care than any other country. Members of the rally held signs asking local hospitals lower the rates of cesarean sections and induction in the birthing process. Participants said reducing elective procedures will lower costs and hopefully improve outcomes for both the mother and child.