Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time Magazine discusses homebirth

I found this online today. I'm not sure if it appears in the print version as well. Unfortunately, the article only mentions nurse-midwives, and it is a major oversight to omit the rigorous training of professional midwives who are licensed in 26 of our 50 states.

It has some sentences that seem promising enough at first glance: "Modern medicine can eliminate a lot of the risk (of childbirth)but in doing so, it can also turn what could be a joyous experience for the mother into the equivalent of an all-day appendectomy." But while the sentence acknowledges that many women are losing the joy of birth, the sentence doesn't acknowledge that modern medicine may create -- not eliminate -- risk in childbirth with unnecessary routine interventions and restrictive protocols. Also, deservedly categorized as "high-risk" are the premature births, but how many of those premature births could have been avoided had they not been caused by inductions before 42 weeks gestation, under the seductive guise that a scheduled birth is less stressful than a spontaneous one? Medically, a baby is full term at 37 weeks, but what if that baby wouldn't have been born until 41 if left on his own? That is 4 weeks his lungs would have had to mature in the safety of the uterus.

But the article does a good job highlighting some of the more-often discussed indications of why homebirth is a safe option, referring to the Oregon study and the British Medical Journal findings. It also makes a fair statement about why OB's may be "soured" on the entire concept of homebirth, as they only see the births that become complicated. OB's are never brought in on the homebirths that are progressing as normal, unmedicated, physiological labor should -- which is most of them! But combine that with our country's zeal for litigation, where there is zero tolerance for a less-than-perfect baby, it doesn't seem so unreasonable for an OB to be unsupportive of homebirth.

What I find most heartening, though, is that this article has appeared in Time -- hardly the publication of Radicals. Homebirth is slowly, slowly making its way into more and more women's menu of birthing options. Homebirth is also facing grave opposition, but I remain ever hopeful.

(cross-posted on the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives blog)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Do You Doula?

What's a doula?
Another great video sprung from the BirthMatters contest.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great Videos on OPTIONS in childbirth

Virgina’s Birth Matters video contest is conjuring up creative juices — and giving us fantastic ways to let people know that there are MANY options to how you birth a child!! Here is Part One of South Coast Midwifery’s video, and when that’s done, you can watch Part Two. Southcoast Midwifery is in California, where it seems all of my midwifery books are based! Massachusetts will get there!

(this has been cross-posted on the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives blog)


Friday, May 1, 2009

May 5th: International Day of the Midwife

The International Confederation of Midwives has chosen May 5th to celebrate midwives and midwifery — the International Day of the Midwife. Commemorating the day this year is the start of their campaign, “The World Needs Midwives Now More Than Ever!” By 2015, the ICM hopes to have 350,000 more midwives in practice, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the high maternal-infant mortality rate continues. The ICM is working hard to make midwifery an active agent of change in the UN’s Millenium Development Goals , which seek to end hunger, poverty, disease, and barriers to education and equality. Focuses on Maternal and Child health are major components of the UN’s goals.

As I continue to consider midwifery as a career, I’ve been completely absorbed in the politics of Massachusetts midwifery, comparing and contrasting my training options and how each would effect my family, and asking myself if I am ready to make the committment. Me, me, me, me, me.

But only now, as I read about the International Confederation of Midwives and the UN Millenium Goals, do I get a global appreciation for midwives and the critical role they play all around the world for women’s health.

Maybe I will celebrate International Day of the Midwife by sending a card to my midwife, thanking her (again!) for the amazing care she provided for me in my most recent pregnancy; I could send out a prayer of hope and gratitude for the women who are practicing midwifery in conditions of poverty and want that I cannot even begin to imagine; and maybe, just maybe I will make the final decision to answer the ICM’s call to be one of the 350,000 midwives the world needs by 2015.

(this has been cross-posted on the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives blog.)