Monday, March 12, 2007

Born in the USA...

I just reviewed a book for the library's blog (see the link on this page.)

Born in the USA by Marsden Wagner.

All I can say is, if I were to have another baby, I'd use a midwife, and have the baby at home.

I learned that it is safer to have a baby in Europe than it is in the USA. Midwives are used extensively for normal, low-risk births in Europe. OB's are only for those high-risk and dangerous births.

I was appalled to read about how the medical industry has taken over childbirth, and made the whole process convenient for the Doctor and not for the mother or baby.

If you give birth in the hospital, you let the Doctor and the hospital have control--you do what they want, not what you want. We all know that more people get sick and die from infections they get in the hospital. So, why do we have babies there? Childbirth is a very personal experience. I felt very relaxed in the hospital, but it takes a lot to make me tense, and I really didn't care who saw what and who was looking at me, but I know many who tense up.

Heck, I know that we give birth just like cats do, like dogs, like horses, cows, and goats. I was a labor coach for a friend years ago. She was a country girl--just like me, and asked me "what does it look like down there?" My reply--"Just like a laboring cow. You've swelled up just like they do." And we do. The physical changes are very similar to our pets and farm animals. So who do we have to give birth at a hospital, but animals can where ever they are? We mammals do it the same way. Yes, some animals die, yes, sometimes there are complications. And, sometimes, women die, and sometimes, there are complications. So why plan for the worst when 90% of the time, nothing goes wrong? It just doesn't make sense to me. Never has. And, now, I'm convinced that we need to change how we view childbirth in America.

How many of us hear horror stories of childbirth? And how many are scared to have babies? Yeah, I was, I remember wondering if I could do this. Then I remembered that women have been having babies for millions of years. Yes, some die. But most DO this. My mother, my grandmothers, all did this. IF they could, then I could. We are all scared of the unknown. I think that's why so many of us share labor stories, it's something that only we women, who have had, or who soon will have can experience. Men certainly can't.

But, we are taught that
  • we can't give birth safely outside a hospital.
  • we are told that we have to be induced. (80% of the time, that's not true!)
  • we are convinced that we can't tolerate labor pain and need to be given an epidural. (I didn't, and thought that labor was no worse than cramps.)
  • We are convinced that we need a MAN to help us have a baby...let's see, who has more experience with this, men? or women.
  • we don't think we are strong enough, that our bodies just simply can't have a baby. What? baby, we women are way WAY stronger than men are.
I'm all for home birth. Maybe I'm so open to home births because both of my parents, who were born in 1943, were born at home. Most of my Aunts and Uncles were born at home. All were healthy. I thought about a home birth when I was expecting Kat, but, discovered that there aren't any midwives here. I talked to a couple of nurses I know, but they said they legally couldn't deliver babies outside hospitals. So, I caved and went to the hospital.

We women have changed things before, remember, years ago, women wouldn't dream of breastfeeding their babies--formula was much better and more convenient. And we've changed that. We realize that breastmilk is the best thing for babies. It's time to do the same thing to birth. We women need to take control and demand changes.

It's ridiculous that we live in the USA and accept "policy." We live in the richest country in the world and yet we have the worst maternity morbidity rates in the industrialized world. The worst.

All countries where midwives attend birth have lower infant mortality rates than does the United States.

It's got to change. I've started--I've started telling Miss Kat that she can have her baby wherever she wants. That she can have her babies safely at home, or in a birthing center, with midwives. Hopefully, by the time she's ready to have a baby, the rest of the country will believe the same thing.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I agree. With Gabi I briefly late in my pregnancy wanted to go to the Bethesda Maternity Center which has midwives but then I chickened out and I thought about it pretty late in the game. She did have the cord wrapped around her when she was delivered so I don't know what they would have done with that but w/ the next baby if I have one I might look at a midwife. I HATED the epidural and it caused me to have a panic attack so I would rather deal with the pain. Next time I think I need to use a midwife.