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10:09 AM on 10/16/2009
Thanks for this article. I learned about Ina Gaskins when I watched "The Business of Being Born." I had no idea doctors were rushing women's labor and conducting so many C-sections. After watching that movie and doing my own research, I plan to give birth at The Farm Midwife Center instead of a hospital. The women there are certified midwives and some of them have been delivering babies longer than some OB-GYNs have been alive.

It is going to cost me about $4,000 out of pocket instead of the $125 that I would have to pay if I used insurance and a licensed doctor, but it is well worth it.
09:40 AM on 10/16/2009
HA! This is the USSA. You have no rights!
Grandma with eye on the future
09:23 AM on 10/16/2009
Well, as a former Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist who was involved in over 1,000 deliveries and C-sections during my career, I can agree with much of what was in the article. I do think that I would prefer to see women labor in a less invasional environment within the hospital, however, with midwives in attendance on a larger scale. The midwives used less chemical intervention, more focused care, and stayed with patients to monitor them. Try to get an OB/GYN to do that.

However, I also saw many healthy women who appeared to be having uneventful labors suddenly develop complications which endangered their lives and that of their infants, among which were prolapsed cords, placentral abruptions and sudden bleeding of the mother. Being in an environment where we could intervene quickly and did so saved the lives of those mothers and babies. We had one female pediatrician patient who was in early labor and feeling quite well suddenly abrupt and even though we had her in surgery and the baby out in five minutes, maternal bleeding almost cost her life, and only having the best techniques to intubate and resuscitate the baby prevented serious harm to the child.

A balance does need to be attained in all this and we need to get back to less intervention and less manipulation of labor and delivery.
10:35 AM on 10/16/2009
I totally agree with this. I almost bled to death after the delivery of my third child, and I am thankful that I was in the hospital where they were able save my life. If I had been at home, I might have bled out before an ambulance could have arrived. But a more comfortable, caring atmosphere at the hospital would have been better. If I were to have another child, which I won't because the last delivery was so traumatic, I would definitely do it at the hospital with a midwife and/or doula -- and medical backup. Balancing the emotional and (potential) medical needs of the mothers and their children is the key.
11:26 AM on 10/16/2009
The same thing happened to my sister, however in her case the doctor was in a hurry
(to go out on a Friday evening) and applied traction to the umbilical cord in order to
deliver the placenta. We used to have livestock and every book on their care made a
huge point of not pulling on the cord to deliver the placenta following birth. I thought
that was fairly common knowledge . . .

She went into shock and needed blood transfusions. A totally iatrogenic situation.
10:46 AM on 10/16/2009
The "something bad could happen at any time" mentality is silly. Apply this logic to eating in a restaurant where you can be exposed to harmful chemicals or food borne pathogens. You could have an allergic reaction to something in your food. OMG! You could choke and DIE unless medical personnel are standing by to rescue you.

And driving is terribly risky. I know healthy, normal women who have been driving down the road one minute and the next? Their lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye by a tragic deadly accident. Others become disfigured or disabled.

These horror stories make it clear: Don't eat restaurant food and for god's sake don't drive a car. You're gambling with your life unless you have medical personnel following you around so they can intervene the second anything looks like it might possibly go wrong.

No one would advocate such lunacy and yet this is the mind game the medical community plays with women to scare them into thinking they are safer with an OB in a hospital. The scientific facts repeatedly show the USA has the worst outcomes and highest rates of unnecessary procedures. And don't forget the risk of nosocomial infections, which are becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant. If you are going to discuss the risks of childbirth outside a medicalized setting, at least be fair and present the risks of walking into a labor & delivery ward so women can make a truly informed decision.
01:15 PM on 10/16/2009
Not to mention that nobody ever got MRSA flesh-eating bacteria in my house, and yet I'm expected to deliver a baby in a hospital with regular outbreaks of it? Thanks, but no thanks. I'll pass on the creeping crud.
03:11 PM on 10/16/2009
Pregnancy is inherently risky. Much more risky than driving. And bad things do happen - no rainbow unicorn vision of what pregnancy is can change that fact.

There are unnecessary procedures - but there are also real risks that can easily go undetected until childbirth - and they are not that uncommon.