Jun 242008

Little doubt that one of the all-time things that screams vulnerability is lying flat on your back in a hospital bed with your feet in stirrups, likely with all manner of monitoring equipment and an IV attached, having childbirth contractions every few seconds. And that is exactly where the American Medical Association wants women to be when they give birth. A recent resolution calling for states to outlaw homebirths calls for members to,

“(S)upport state legislation that helps ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies by acknowledging of the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the AAP and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers.”

“(T)he original version of the resolution included the following language specifically attacking Ricki Lake: “Whereas, There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries, with recent Today Show headings such as ‘Ricki Lake takes on baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in new film.””

The reference to Lake has been taken out after a huge outcry. In a response to the bizarre reference to her, Lake asks,

“What are they so afraid of?

Just last week, Medical News Today reports that “about 8.2% of infants born in the US in 2005 had low birth weights, the highest percentage since 1968.” US infant mortality rates continue to rank us below 30 other countries, 22% of pregnancies are induced, and most worrisome of all, in the last 4 years, the maternal mortality rate has risen above 10 per 100,000 for the first time since 1977. To us, these seem like the troubling trends, not home birth.”

Add to that the sky-rocketing use of c-sections in this country.

Are homebirths dangerous? True, sometimes problems arise with homebirths, but I do not recall reading anything about a rash of deaths because women choose not to give birth in a hospital. And the urge to push (sorry) for hospital births is hardly universal, read here for the conclusion of a British study issued in April, 2007:

>“The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. 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. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby.”

So let’s be clear–this resolution has nothing to do with infant or maternal health, what this is about is the AMA’s power-hungry delusion that they are the keepers of health and that they deserve to maximally profit from a process that in many cases does not require their services at all.

 June 24, 2008  Posted by on June 24, 2008

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