Friday, January 2, 2009

Better childbirth? Lower costs?

Part III of the CA Prop 8 Series is coming, but we have a horrible virus in our house this past weekend~ The Boy first and then me. It was miserable, and I was not able to finish the posts. I promise to resume later this week, but I have to get caught up around the house...and fix our broken dryer? Or pay someone to do it. grr... In the mean time, I had prepared this to post after the series, so enjoy. :)

Rebecca pointed this article out on New Year's Day, and I can't help but agree. Better health in this nation should begin from the very beginning. The article states (in case you didn't click the link):
The nation’s maternity bill totaled $86 billion in 2006, nearly half of which was picked up by taxpayers.
But cost hasn’t translated into quality. We spend more than double per capita on childbirth than other industrialized countries, yet our rates of preterm birth, newborn death and maternal death rank us dismally in comparison. ...
Hospitals charge from $7,000 to $16,000, depending on the type and complexity of the birth. The average birth-center fee is only $1,600 because high-tech medical intervention is rarely applied and stays are shorter. This model of care is not just cheaper; decades of medical research show that it’s better. Mother and baby are more likely to have a normal, vaginal birth; less likely to experience trauma, such as a bad vaginal tear or a surgical delivery; and more likely to breast-feed. In other words, less is actually more.
$86 Billion spent on maternity care with poorer outcomes than other industrialized nations. We're not doing well in this arena of health care.
The Cochrane Collaboration Review of birthing concluded:
Midwife-led care was associated with several benefits for mothers and babies, and had no identified adverse effects. The main benefits were a reduced risk of losing a baby before 24 weeks. Also during labour, there was a reduced use of regional analgesia, with fewer episiotomies or instrumental births. Midwife-led care also increased the woman's chance of being cared for in labour by a midwife she had got to know. It also increased the chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth and initiation of breastfeeding. In addition, midwife-led care led to more women feeling they were in control during labour. There was no difference in risk of a mother losing her baby after 24 weeks. The review concluded that all women should be offered midwife-led models of care.
Honestly, too many women are brainwashed from an early age to believe we NEED these medical interventions-- often times to the point where women are so afraid of birthing that they do need these things. I try not to judge or intercept to the point of offending when debunking the myths that many of my own friends perpetuate, but it is becoming harder and harder. It is possible to have a safe, healthy child without pitocin, an epidural, or a c-section. Yes, childbirth hurts, but guess what? Knowing that it will hurt and managing that fear with a doula and midwife will generally yield better results for momma and baby than the model that has become standard.

Anyway... think about it. Cheaper with a better outcome, yet less than 1% of births are attended by a midwife in this country.

3 comments:

Blacktating said...

The pain of childbirth is also something that your body is built to handle. It's not like getting a tooth pulled. It's a natural and normal end to pregnancy. I think most people feel that modern medicine allows them to not be inconvenienced in any way (and let's face it, natural childbirth, giving birth in a birthing center and breastfeeding are more inconvenient in a lot of ways) and they feel they shouldn't ever have to feel any pain or be uncomfortable. We know that sections, epidurals, formula, etc. are bad for both mom and baby so it still boggles that women CHOOSE this route.

Rebecca said...

Actually, I think our nation's midwife rate is now around 8% or so. Only about 1% of births are planned home births. Do we know how many people give birth at free-standing birth centers? That has always seemed like a great option for people. Although, we don't have any in the Twin Cities area. The closest is a few hours away in Menomonie, WI.

My favorite quote of yours:

"Honestly, too many women are brainwashed from an early age to believe we NEED these medical interventions-- often times to the point where women are so afraid of birthing that they do need these things."

I agree completely. I personally see the role of fear in birth and the negative impact on the experience, process, and often the outcome. I also see the positive outcomes for educated and confident women. It's amazing how strong we women can really be if given the opportunity.

Del said...

Yo - there was a special on pleasure birthing this last weekend. You see it? Crazy crazy.

http://parenting.ivillage.com/pregnancy/plabor/0,,40fs,00.html

Just thought you'd find it interesting.

:)

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