“In the vein of eliminating social bullshit via education, I suggest that everyone, women especially but men as well, should do some research into the harsh reality of the business of birthing babies in the United States. I bring this up because there was a fairly in depth conversation going on in one of the other threads about episiotomies and whether or not they are necessary. Most of what happens in hospitals is unnecessary and has little or nothing to do with the health or safety of either the mothers or newborns; most hospital procedure is designed to get people in and out as quickly as possible with as little chance for malpractice suits. the over-administration of pitocin, the mechanization of the entire birthing process, and the speed with which OB/GYN’s will jump to a c-section are just a few examples of the often dangerous, needless medical interventions that are common in American hospitals.
We are far behind the rest of the modern world, and some of the undeveloped world, in our ability to care for pregnant women and newborns. In maternal mortality rates, the U.S. is sandwiched between Iran and Hungary at 136th in the world (according to the CIA world factbook). At the top of the list are Estonia and Singapore and then a bunch of European countries. What do all of these countries have in common? They all treat birth as the natural process that it is and only bring in doctors when something goes very wrong. The situation is similar for infant mortality. The U.S. is 50th on the list (again, according to the CIA world factbook), behind pretty much the same European countries. And we have not gotten better, not in the last 30 years.
If you are a low risk mother (i.e. not VBAC, not morbidly obese, having a history of successful births), your best option is generally going to be a birth center with a functional working relationship with a competent local hospital. This category consists of 80% or more of all births. 80% or more. Perhaps this is one region of human life that we should follow the lead of the rest of the developed world.
Why the hell am I concerned with all of this? Two reasons: one, I’m a conscientious human being, genuinely and generally concerned with the well being of the rest of my human family and two, I am a father. I have a four year old daughter, and I just found out last week that my wife and I are going to be welcoming a new baby into our little family this October. When my daughter was born, I knew less than shit about what was going on. Thankfully, my wife did and refused to be induced, refused an epidural, and told the doctor very sternly that unless she or the baby was literally on the verge of death a C-section was off limits. Now, we are looking at a birth center in Chapel Hill, NC for our new baby to be born. The difference is night and day between the hospital birth (even at the comparatively nice facility where my daughter was born) and the truly amazing birth center facilities.
Well, I just wrote a fucking essay. Sorry about that. Just do your research before deciding, I think that’s all I’m saying. Peace.”