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October 3rd, 2016, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1
I came across the site while searching for statistics on maternal and infant mortality in the US. This country ranked #21 in maternal deaths, from research by the WHO. This means that 20 other countries have better childbirth outcomes. Being the most techno-advanced and wealthiest nation on earth has no advantages when it comes to women and babies. My starting place to help us move up a few spots is to incorporate midwives into childbirth. From lay (or "traditional") midwives to nurse-midwives, women receive high-quality one on one care. I cannot speak to states other than Indiana, but here we have a high infant mortality rate due to a single factor: lack of pre-natal care. Women who are single, working but low-income, and on Medicaid are routinely denied pre-natal care for the hellish reason that OBs are not paid enough money. So many sub-sections to this statement; too many to recount in one post. When I became pregnant in 1985, there were no female obstetricians in the area. I had experienced two miscarriages and so sought out a "good" doctor. This "good" man informed me I had broken a rule of society by becoming pregnant out of wedlock, and my punishment was to be delivered by a male doctor. (My losses had been heartbreaking, handled by male doctors, so I was skittish) This OB went on to say things that would now be considered sexual harassment. I left in tears, in complete panic. There was no way to trust this man, who manipulated me into revealing my fears about birth, then playing on those fears. A sobbing call to the local Medical Society, whose purpose was to handle patient grievances, became the most significant call of my life. The kind, sympathetic woman who took my report revealed that this man had a profound prejudice against single mothers. Would I be interested in speaking with a midwife? YES!!! Indiana does not dictate where you have your baby, but it does dictate who can assist you. Doctors, nurses, nurse-midwives, and of course lay midwives are all forbidden. I chose a lay midwife and a home birth. On May 1st, 1986, I gave birth to a perfect baby girl, Elizabeth Rose Ellen. The mood was serene. My mother, boyfriend, and best friend were with me while my midwife & her assistant helped. I'm leaving out a lot as not to be repetitious. 13 hours labour, 30 minutes pushing, Mozart quiet on the stereo. I was so enthralled that I began training with my midwife. After only three births as an assistant, the law decided we were violating a state law, practicing medicine without a license. (There is a wonderful argument about childbirth - natural or medical event?) The midwife was forced to leave the state. Fortunately one of her senior assistants was willing to take over, despite the legal risk. 17 years later, that assistant was on hand to catch my first grandchild.
I continue to follow the research and statistics, but Indiana stubbornly refuses to budge from its childbirth as medical event stance. Our large Amish population provides a brilliant model to shatter the myths that home birth is child abuse, that women under 21 and over 35 are high risk...etc. By the time my granddaughter (born 2008) is ready to have children, I hope that progress will have been made to allow her to make choices about birth without endangering her care-givers, should she follow family tradition into planned home birth with a midwife.
As a nation, I'm afraid that the conservative white male politicians would rather live with poor birth outcomes than take any action that would deprive doctors of their exorbitant fees.
I have so many good things to say about home birth....perhaps the most important being that it is a choice. Most of my contemporaries had their babies via c-sections, only one as true medical emergency; the others because their doctors created reasons while the women laboured. I conducted detailed interviews and was allowed access to medical records in order to draw these conclusions. No judgments were passed, no criticism offered. I just want women to have the final say. If you are comfortable in a hospital, surrounded by uniforms and equipment, then you will have a happy outcome - a healthy baby with proud parents in a safe environment. But for some of us, thoughts of doctors and shots and fetal monitors are terrifying, particularly when the OB has stated his disdain for you as a "****" and promised you that you would be mis-treated for your breaking of a social rule that doesn't exist!
When mothers are free to choose, when pre-natal care is provided without prejudice, I predict that the US will experience fewer maternal and infant deaths. One step closer to being a great nation.
Thanks to any readers who made it all the way through! Peace.
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