I’ve thought about addressing this topic for sometime now. As you know if we have met or you have read the “What Is This Blog About?” or “About Me” section, I am a “crunchy mama” and, as crazy as it may sound, the thought of a hospital birth actually scares me.
So today, I am going to suggest you watch a movie that made a HUGE difference in my birthing decisions.
The movie is called “The Business Of Being Born” and it changed my ENTIRE view on giving birth. Up until that point, I had no interest in having anything but a “normal” hospital birth with epidural and all. I am SO, SO, SO THANKFUL I listened and watched that movie.
In case you cannot get your hands on the movie (if you have netflix, it is an instant watch movie and you can probably barrow it from your local library, if not) here is the synopsis and a few statistics it brings to light:
Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business.
Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have babies.
The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal.
Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?
- In the U.S., as of 1900, midwives delivered 95 percent of all babies; by 1938, midwives delivered 50 percent of all babies and; by1955, less than 1 percent of all babies born were delivered by midwives.
- The U.S. spends twice as much on maternity care as any other country, but has the second-highest infant mortality rate in the developed world
- The U.S. has one of the highest maternity death rates in the world
- In Europe and Japan, midwives deliver 70 percent of all births
I found this review of the movie and I couldn’t agree more!
Also, when I decided to do a birth center birth, people were shocked that I would be sent home within four to six hours of giving birth if everything went smoothly. I had a friend who quoted a hospital commissioned study that concluded most women who are released too early end up being readmitted into the ER. Don’t let that scare you, the midwife model of postpartum care is actually more attentive.
When a woman is released from the hospital after giving birth, that’s it; no one is calling to check on that patient. I’m not saying that to pick on hospitals… I’m saying that hospitals are a bigger operation and realistically, the only way the doctors and nurses in a hospital can provide the kind of care a postpartum mother and baby requires is to keep them on the premises.
That is not the case for a birthing center/midwifery or a midwife who performs homebirths. There are just better healthcare provider to patient ratios in a home birth or birth center situation than in a hospital. period. When a woman is released by a midwife, they are checked on periodically for 48 hours and have two mamma and baby follow up visits with the midwife on days 2 and 12. Obviously, you should do your research before picking any birth center or midwife, but, I REALLY believe, any healthy women without major complications can have an enjoyable natural birthing experience!