Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Great Debate

Homebirthing is certainly a controversial topic. I mean, why would a woman want to go to a hospital to give birth when the US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world? That's criminal.

But now you can't even get a homebirth in New York City. Love 'em or hate 'em, seems like people should at least have the option.

The best argument I've ever heard against homebirth is the welfare of the child. This post, clearly written by an outspoken homebirth opponent, claims the statistics for infant mortality at a homebirth are double that of at a hospital.

Of course, we still have a higher maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate than The Netherlands, where 30% of all births occur at home.

Personally, I blame malpractice. The article on New York linked to above rants about US doctors "highly interventionist approach" towards childbirth. That approach isn't the result of trying to look after the well-being of mother and child; it's the result of trying to covering their ass in court if something goes wrong.

1 comment:

  1. When I read the post on facebook, I wrote you a long reply - appartently too long, because facebook wouldn't take it! At first I wasn't sure if you posted it because it was one more example of a person's lack of right to choose; or to get me steamed up! Glad to hear it was the former.

    It is true that the US has one of the highest infant mortality rates for an industrialized country (I think we are #3). But the primary reason for that is lack of prenatal care. In this country not everyone has equal access to health care. We do not have socialized medicine.

    There are midwives who still do deliveries - but in hospitals with an OB as a back-up. Uncomplicated deliveries are attended only by the midwife and nurse, and whomever the parents-to-be choose. If there are problems, there is an OB available to step in as necessary. An OB who is familiar with the patient. An obstretrical nightmare is when a laboring patient is brought in through the ER by a midwife when the home birth has gone terribly wrong. The Dr is then expected to step in, without knowing anything about the patient, and try to fix a situation that is probably unfixable.

    It is true that in the hospital setting, the mom is going to be hooked up to the fetal monitor at intervals. And, if there is something non-reassuring on the monitor, she may have to be on it continuously. Think about what is going on - there are 2 patients and the only communication with 1 of them is by watching/listening to its heart rate.

    When people are so focused on having the "perfect birth experience", one has to wonder about their priorities. No matter how it happens, the "perfect birth experience" is having a healthy child as the end result. That IS the most important thing, not the delivery process itself.


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