Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It doesn't have to be this way!

The latest studies find that "The USA spends more than any other country on health care, and more on maternal health than any other type of hospital care. Despite this, women in the USA have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than those in 49 other countries, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea." - Amnesty International, you can read more here.

This is so disturbing to me.  Women in our culture have been "trained" to trust everything their doctors tell them.  We have put or trust in technology and not in women's bodies, designed by God to give birth.  Do what they say and everything will be okay, right?  WRONG!!  Research clearly shows that many of the the routine procedures used by OB's and in most US hospitals are not only not evidenced based, they are also harmful to the motherbaby. (Yes, I purposefully made that one word - they should not be separated in real life or in text.)

What can be done?
  • Women, educate yourselves!  Learn about your options, the benefits, risks, alternatives to every intervention.  Childbirth Connection is a great resource.
  • Consider homebirth or an out of hospital birth center birth (which is actually SAFER for most women with a normal healthy pregnancy than a hospital birth).  
  • Consider hiring a midwife instead of an OB for pregnancy and birth care.  Midwives are generally less likely to use interventions that many times cause more harm than good.  Many midwives will also attend hospital births.
  • Take a childbirth class OUT of the hospital (most hospital birthing classes teach you how to be a good patient, not about all of your options).
  • Hire a doula, especially if having a hospital birth.  No, I do not say that to bring in business (because I am one).  Many studies have shown that having a doula at your birth decreases the use of interventions, helps with breastfeeding, and results in a more satisfied birthing experience.  A doulas job is to provide you information for all of your options so that you can make the best informed decision for you.
  • Get involved!  Show your support for healthy birth through the One Million Moms Challenge or by supporting the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011 through Amnesty International.  Both things are free and will only take a minute of your time.
I have many, many pregnant friends.  I know or know of many, many more pregnant women through the birth work I do.  Sometimes it seriously scares the crap out of me.  I do not want them to be one of the nearly 13 deaths per 100,000 live births in the US.  Or one of the 34,000 who nearly die each year from pregnancy related complications in the US. 

Maternal health is a human right.  Please help.

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