Sunday, February 22, 2009

Faced with a doctor gap, more hospitals turn to "Laborists" to deliver babies

Please click on the title above to read a Boston Globe front page article, published 2/22/09, about how hospitals are dealing with a shortage of OB's. This is exactly the reason why we need more birth choices, particularly in Massachusetts. Midwives, both CNM's and CPM's, can ease the burden on L&D units by creating more birth center births and homebirths, as they do in most countries around the world! The midwives would be able to attend more births, and the OB's could care for the much smaller percentage of births that actually need obstetrical intervention.

I come from a family with a number of doctors, so I have a very personal understanding of the pressures MD's face because of liability and soaring malpractice insurance costs. Because of my family, I'm also not as quick as others are to blame OB's for the medicalization of birth. But imagine if birth in this country were not driven by fear -- the OB's fear of being sued and watching a life time of work go down the drain for themselves and their families; the expectant parents' fear that the totally normal and healthy process of birth will go utterly awry unless it is interfered with; the mothers' fear when they go post-dates, because they can't spare precious maternity leave days waiting around for labor to begin.

So who is benefitting from the 15 minute prenatal visit, from theVBAC bans, from the c-section rate that is nearly 40%? Who is dictating all these policies? This really is a call for a reform of the insurance and medical malpractice industry and how it has burdened health care and effectively damaged our understanding of birth.

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