Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ricki Lake ruffled AMA's feathers

And I say GOOD FOR HER! My thoughts on her film (The Business of Being Born) and birthing are well known and often published on this blog.

So what's the stink?

The AMA has proposed a resolution re: home deliveries in light of Lake's The Business of Being Born documentary. Of course their position is that all deliveries should take place in a hospital. They need to protect their billion dollar business, but in a time when US C-section rates are more than twice what the WHO would suggest is acceptable for any country, the AMA (and all doctors) need to do a better job. The US has some of the highest infant and mother mortality rates in the developed world. Even honest doctors will tell you that vaginal delivery is safer than a c-section, yet in this resolution they fail to recognize their impact on the rising c-section rates. Yet, these same doctors follow their drugged up, make it home by dinner model of childbirth... strapping women to beds thanks to IVs and excessive fetal monitoring.

Yet here we are with the AMA saying that home births are unsafe and all women should birth in hospitals (or birthing center attached to a hospital). As I have stated before, I do not believe in the scare tactics of the AMA and its doctors. They are out to protect their self-interest. Well, guess what AMA? I am out to protect my interests and those of my child.

The resolution also states the safest location post-partum is in a hospital. Guess what? People die in the hospital too. People like Liz. Seemingly healthy women. Maybe the AMA figures other countries are getting it wrong?

I birthed my son in Germany. I could have had him at home, but I decided against it. At the time, I was anxious, in a new country, and unsure of what it would be like. I did a lot of research, but not enough on home birth. Anyway, point is, are the Germans getting it wrong? I was released from the hospital less than 10 hours after my son's birth. Sure, I could have stayed three or four or five days, but there was no need.

And THEN... as if the birthing situation weren't interrupted enough in the hospital, they are setting women up for failure when it comes to breastfeeding. The CDC has published data that shows that hospitals are not doing the basic things to help mothers be succesful at breastfeeding! The worst offenders?
Seven southern states Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia also had the lowest percentages (less than 30 percent) of children who were breastfed for 6 months, according to the 2006 National Immunization Survey.
I really don't think I want another child, but seeing the data confirms that I would not have a hospital birth for a low-risk pregnancy in this state (Oklahoma).

It seems to me if the AMA wants to push their agenda, they need to change their model, but because we know they are not changing their model, we need to make our own informed decisions regarding how we birth our babies. If you arm yourself with information and still chose a hospital birth, that is your choice, and no one can honestly fault you for that, but if you follow the model without informing yourself... well... that is a problem.

EDIT: I will be updating this post with links to other well thought out posts on this subject. Keep checking back!

Crunchy Domestic Goddess

Ricki Lake's Response

Spirit Led Birth


Jax said...

I see where you're coming from-totally. People should be able to have their babies where they want as long as they have measures in place in the event something goes seriously wrong. I admittedly however have a skewed perception from the law firm I worked at...the ONLY thing I saw was the 5% of births that go horribly I will have my children in a hospital due to an ingrained fear and visions of medical records still in my head. But, again.. I FULLY agree with you that things still go wrong in hospitals-esp where nurses and doctors are overworked, over-sued, and in the business of satisfying insurance over patients sometimes.

The one condition that scares the hell out of me actually happened to an atty I worked with:
There is NO WAY to tell until delivery unless supplemental (aka insurance not paying for usually)tests are run. Anyway, it's an interesting and scary condition...hence the link... Doesnt have much relevance, but hey, read about it b/c it's freaky!

Maria said...

The thing is-- the chance of that happening is low, and even in a hospital the failure rate is high. Also, alternative location birth (home or freestanding clinic) does not mean no medical care.

Amanda said...

Great post. I don;t know as much about home births, but I do know that there is a huge unofficial speed bump for women wanting to breastfeed, from the hospital to the pediatrician's office.

Rebecca said...

It's OK for the AMA to come out against home birth, but if they are, they need to offer a better alternative. I haven't seen them do that! The research shows that not only is home birth safe, it's often the SAFER alternative. Yes, hospitals can step in if a rare emergency (true emergency) arises, but the problem is that the current model of care in most hospitals actually causes most of the problems we see with babies and mothers. That nullifies the good work that they do. I think, however, that the numbers are so similar as far as "safety" goes between home and hospital that women really do have great choices. The fact is, we can choose either and be pretty much equally as safe. I just don't think American women are ready for home birth. It's too scary of a concept. And for those women who are scared at home, then the hospital is the best place for them.

Hospital births are not inherently bad, but nor are they inherently good. We have a few hospitals in the Twin Cities that are wonderful places to have a baby. We have one hospital with an 11% c-section rate.

Great post!

Maria said...

I think more women are ready than you might think, but ready or not, taking away the option is a problem and bad all around, and that is what the AMA is seeking to do ("develop model legislation in support of the concept that the safest
setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is
in the hospital..."). IMO, that is unacceptable.

KaritaG said...

The AMA should be pushing for women to have safe, comfortable labors regardless of the location. If they are worried about the risks of homebirth for mothers and babies, let's allow doctors to supervise. And by that I mean sit somewhere on the premises with all their emergency equipment just in case something goes wrong. Let's allow doctors to supervise freestanding birth centers in the same way. Let's make it easier for midwives to have access to "emergency" drugs and perform emergency procedures. Let's put freestanding birth centers right next to hospitals so if the mom needs to transfer, it takes a minute or two instead of a 10-20 minute ambulance ride. If I could go into a hospital and have a labor like I WANTED, this wouldn't be an issue. The real problem is that the second you step into the hospital, your options for an unaugmented, natural birth basically fly out the door. If the AMA really believes that it's "safest" for women to give birth in a hospital, why don't they push hospitals to adopt birthing models where the mother can have a safe, supervised birth like she WANTS? Instead, they use these fearmongering techniques to convince women to go to the hospital where they are then coerced into doing things the way the DOCTOR wants...I guess I would look at it differently if the AMA really appeared to be concerned about what's best for mother/baby and not doctors/insurance providers, is all. The AMA and the "alternative" birthing community need to be working together on this, not trying to "beat" each other at the "game."

Jax said...

Personally, if I were still at the firm, I'd be compiling a list of people who would never be permitted to come near me at certain hospitals while birthing. lol! I'm quite serious...

And do you know what pisses me off? We had SO many cases..SO MANY..where the mother would say "I knew something was wrong. I was yelling that something was wrong.." and the nurse would agree saying "The baby's heart was dropping...but the doctor said to wait.."

Um.. really.. If I know something is just not right and it's MY body, I'd be DAMNED if a doctor told me to wait. DAMNED I tell you.

Whew.. too much caffeine today...

Maria said...

jax-- click rebecca's name and visit her blog. She posted the Birth Story of her son, and you might like reading it. Maybe? I'm really not sure, but it is a neat story...

:: Suzanne :: said...

Very happy to find your blog and am adding you to my blogroll reader.

Susana said...

Great post! Love your slogan in the upper left sidebar! I promise, I won't try to change you!

I just want to sat that it is vital that the public understands how the medical system is positioning themselves against midwives and homebirth.

I am the mother of 7 children. I have birthed in the hospital with CNM's twice, once at home with a lay midwife and 4 times unassisted. My home births were like apples vs. oranges in comparison to my hospital births. So different.

I love birthing at home in my own surroundings, with my family present (but not in my face) and with no strangers. At home I am able to tune into what my body needs so that I can birth without overwhelming pain.

At home my baby is better cared for as he/she is not exposed to ultrasound, electronic fetal monitor, germs, etc.. and I am not pressured to give medicines that are not needed.

Because of my age, I foresee in the future that I may want to call on midwives again, either at home or in the hospital, depending on the situation. I want that choice to be available to me, my daughters and future granddaughters.

The day this story broke I had been watching a hospital birth on the tv show A Birth Story before turning on the computer and being smacked in the face with the AMA's resolution.

You can read my thoughts about the show and the "resolutions" on my blog:

sasspot said...

oh yes! i just found your breastfeeding label and am so stoked to have this resource from a friend!!!!! too cool.

Maria said...

@sasspot-- I'm a bit of an advocate and always happy to share my experiences and answer questions. :)

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