Friday, July 11, 2008

Jennifer Block Author of the New Book Pushed Responds to ACOG on Home Birth

From the Los Angeles Times

Big Medicine's blowback on home births
Why do U.S. doctors strong-arm women into our standard maternity care system?

By Jennifer Block
July 9, 2008

Jennifer Block the author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care" wrote an amazing piece in the LA Times on July 9.

Key points from her published piece are as follows: (taken directly from her article)

Her friend in Britian received the following care last year:
  • As a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy, she saw midwives. And one of their first questions to her was, "So, would you like to give birth in the hospital maternity ward or at home?"
  • Britain's national health guidelines call water the safest, most effective form of pain relief. A woman will be helped to give birth in positions that are effective and protective: sitting, squatting, on hands and knees, even standing.

But hospital maternity care in the U.S. is typically not supportive of this process.

  • More than half of women are induced into labor, or it is sped up with artificial hormones; the vast majority of women labor and push in the desultory flat-on-the- back or leaning-back position; and (perhaps not surprisingly) nearly one-third of women end up giving birth through major surgery, the caesarean section.
  • This has led to an epidemic of pre-term births in the United States. A 2006 survey showed that the majority of babies are now born before the spontaneous onset of labor, which leaves them more prone to breathing and feeding difficulties. Caesareans are also contributing to a rising maternal death rate, announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year.

The choice to give birth somewhere other than a hospital is backed by sound science. Studies of "low-risk" women in North America planning out-of-hospital births with midwives have found that 95% give birth vaginally with hardly any medical intervention. The largest and most rigorous study to date, published in the British Medical Journal, found that in North America, babies were born at home just as safely as in the hospital.Organized medicine can't believe this.

In a joint statement last year, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal College of Midwives said, "There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications, and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families."

For the full article please click on the link above.