The US spends more money on mothers' health than any other nation in the world, yet women in America are more likely to die during childbirth than they are in most other developed countries, according to the OECD and WHO. The BBC's Laura Trevelyan has been trying to find out why.This is how a BBC news report begins. It is disheartening, as we in the 'alternative' childbirth community have been seeing and saying this for so long with little response from those in our own country. I don't understand it, if I were an American woman of childbearing years, I would be looking at better health care options, becoming a more proactive consumer, and questioning the All American Birth.
"What is the All American Birth", you ask? It is a woman who may or may not take childbirth education classes, most likely sees an OB (92% of women), chooses a hospital birth (99%), ends up with either an induction or augmentation and an epidural (80-90%). She may be one of the 1 in 3 women who end up with a cesarean and most likely won't continue breastfeeding past 6 weeks, if she makes it that long.
On the same day that the BBC article was published, another article was published in the U.S., "Hospitals to Crack Down on Induced Labors". I am ecstatic to hear that they are tackling one of the All American Birth practices that make American Birth risky, but we have so many more! What about women being denied VBACs because of insurance or doctor policy? Those repeat cesareans bring us right back into the unhealthy medical practices resulting, sometimes, in 'late preemies' and the normal cesarean-related risks to mom and baby.
What about the fact that we know that using (pricey) medical interventions increase risk to a normal, low-risk birth, and can exacerbate a med-to-high risk birth if not tempered with evidence-based practices? And yet, upwards of 90% of American Births are high intervention. Read here for how it seems more than coincidence that, on the heels of many more women requesting low-intervention births (which results in the hospital loosing money) the AAA came out with how SAFE their interventions are.
What about how, although many other developed nations have come out with homebirth studies showing it is safe for low-risk women, our own health professionals continue to balk at those studies, remaining stoically unsupportive of the right and safety of homebirth.
Reclaim Your Right To Birth Right, written by Christiane Northrup, MD, is a powerful article. It addresses all of the issues I have laid out here and gives women the understanding that we, as the consumer of childbearing medicine, have the ability to affect our healthcare practices.
We have taken one powerful step in the right direction to becoming a safer childbirthing nation by working to reduce the rate of inductions. We have many more obstacles to attend to, though. Maternity-care failings can be remedied with cost-saving fixes, states USA Today, and I agree. Baby steps are minute, but they are moving us in the right direction.
One woman at a time, one issue at a time, I have hope that we can be a nation that practices Mother-Friendly healthcare and Baby-friendly practices.