Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Grassroots Network: Comments re AMA on Huffington Post Blog

The AMA is getting the heat regarding their Resolution on Homebirth (see previous post). You can contribute to the conversation! Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein and Jennifer Block wrote on the Huffington Post blog, and the comments are pouring in, some negative, some positive.

You can read the blog and comments so far here.

You do have to sign up/log in before you can post comments. However, after you have read some of the more ignorant/hostile posts, you may feel moved to sign up! This is a place where you can speak up for facts that support midwife-attended home birth, and point out that the issue is not making “all” women have natural childbirth at home, but that the AMA does not have any business dictating that “all” women give birth in hospitals (or specifically accredited birth centers which are few and far between).

There probably are other blogs where this discussion is going on, but this is the first one pointed out to me.

Some thoughts to consider:

The AMA and ACOG are the health care professionals who have brought us the highest cesarean section and induction rates ever in the US, along with the worst standing yet for perinatal mortality and worsening rates for maternal mortality. Furthermore, rates for premature birth have been increasing, and recent studies have connected this increase with the increase in cesarean sections (for example, see here
). The same professionals who have brought us these sad outcomes are claiming their way is best???

Many complications in labor and delivery actually are caused by medical practices and interventions, and are not common problems of pregnancy, labor or vaginal birth. Denying food and drink during labor, preventing or discouraging mothers from walking and other physical activity during labor, using drugs to "start labor” (ie, induction) or hasten labor (augmentation), not “allowing” mothers to be in a vertical position to push the baby out, using directed breath-holding pushing, are all examples of routine hospital/obstetric practices (most not even considered to be interventions) that have been shown to interfere with the normal process of labor and cause complications, causing harm and not benefits to mother or baby. These practices are rarely if ever used by midwives in the home setting, who have very low rates of cesarean section (ie, low rates of transfer to the hospital for cesarean section) and very low rates of other interventions (see and ).

One has to ask if modern obstetricians are even competent to attend normal birth, as they seem unable to resist meddling with the process and causing problems in so many ways. There is no question that sometimes interventions, even cesarean sections, are needed and can be life saving. However, it is likely that many fewer mothers would have complications if typical routine obstetrical practices did not interfere with the normal process so much.

If there is going to be legislation, maybe it should require obstetrician wanna-be’s to complete midwifery training before their OB specialty training. In my personal opinion, ACOG and the AMA have no business trying to restrict women’s choices when it comes to birth.

Susan Hodges “gatekeeper”

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