There has been debate for years about a newborn’s ability to feel pain. Here’s an interesting video from Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaking to Dr. Whit Hall at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The title says it all. Today, Medscape released a paper ‘Science and Sensibility’ outlining the recent studies related to the safety of home birth vs. hospital birth while discussing the barriers that home birth practitioners, and women who want home births are facing.
Recently, women are choosing or are interested in home births at a greater rate than in the past several decades. The paper discusses ‘planned home birth’, which refers “to the care of selected pregnant women by qualified practitioners within a system that provides for hospitalization when necessary.”
I think I have to get this book. It’s called Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank By Randi Hutter Epstein. The author was recently interviewed on “Fresh Air” from NPR and I had a chance today to read the excerpt (linked above) and listen to the interview. Although her bit about Eve was a little too matter of fact for me (did that really happen- the whole rib, and apple thing?) it seems like an interesting and intriguing book worth a read for all interested in birth. We need to know the history because if we don’t know where we’ve been, then we don’t know where we’re going-right?
As I continue to read through the evidenced-based maternity report, I am more and more convinced that moving towards midwifery based care and free-standing birthing centers could be the answer to many of our country’s healthcare woes. Charges for childbirth vary considerably depending on the type and place of birth. “The average hospital charge in 2005 ranged from about $7,000 for an uncomplicated vaginal birth to about $16,000 for a complicated cesarean section, yet out-of-hospital birth centers were about one-quarter of the charges of uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospitals ($1,624 in 2003, when the national average charge for uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospitals was $6,239) three-quarters of the expense concentrated in the hospital stay.”
My first child, born just a little over 14 years ago, was 11 days late. As any pregnant family knows, the waiting game can be tough. Babies are usually born right on time, but sometimes they just aren’t. I was pretty sure of my dates back then, yet I had absolutely no cervical effacement or dilation after 10 days past dates. My midwife suggested a pitocin induction. Pitocin induced labor can be brutal as the contractions tend to come more quickly and forcefully with little to no break in between. Because I was hoping to have a ‘natural’ birth with no drugs, I was dismayed by the thought of induction. All in all, it worked out in the end. I labored for just 4 hours to complete dilation, and did it without an epidural (although I pushed for another four-a story for another day).
I will pull some interesting figures:
-In 2007, there were more than 4.3 million births — the largest number ever registered — in the United States.
-Cesarean section was the most common operating room procedure in the country in 2007, with a cumulative increase from 1997-2007 of 85%.
-The rate of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) within childbirth-related hospitalizations was 9.7% in 2006, a decline of 73% from 1997, when the VBAC rate was 35.3%
-In 2006, combined facility charges billed for “mother’s pregnancy and delivery” and “newborn infants” ($86 billion) far exceeded charges for any other hospital condition in the United States.
The latest analysis of 2006 medical records states that nearly 1% of children born in the US have been diagnosed with autism. Because the instance of autism in boys is 4x greater than girls, one in seven boys will be diagnosed with the disorder.
Scientists don’t know if the increase is due to more diagnoses or if there truly is this significant of an increase.
I’m so pleased that CNN decided to post a follow up to the Szabo story. The Szabos had to relocate so that they could have a VBAC because their local hospital changed their policy and refused to let them deliver vaginally.
On December 5, their son Marcus Anthony was born in Phoenix via an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, weighing seven pounds and 13 ounces. YAY!
I have only delivered a few babies in my life, and all have been ‘by accident’. Basically, the doctor failed to show up on time. Obviously, with these children, there was no issue of malpresentation- they were COMING OUT- no matter what. : )
However, one of things that keeps me up a night when I think about embarking on a career as a midwife (the person actually in charge of helping the baby come out-yikes) is what we called ‘asynclitic’ babies- those who’s heads are not in the preferred position to get born. Their little heads are turned in such a way that it can make labor long, dilation difficult and can result in c-section if not resolved. There are lots of ways to deal with minor malpresentations, and in this post, I am gathering up tips and tricks to educated myself, so every birth IN my dreams, comes out like the birth OF my dreams.
Joy and Jeff Szabo will need to be separated by 300 miles, and most likely he won’t be at the birth of their child. Neither Jeff or Joy is in the military. The Szabo’s live in a town whose hospital has decided to ban VBAC. (Vaginal Delivery after C-Section) This town is PAGE, ARIZONA. (sorry, had to put it in caps as a warning) but it could also be basically the entire southern half of New Mexico, and half the other places around the country. Joy has had a successful VBAC already at this same hospital. Joy was threatened with a court order, by the hospital’s CEO if she attempted to enter that hospital and refuse a c-section. Although grateful for the c-section that saved her son Michael’s life, she refused to be forced to have a c-section and has instead elected to deliver vaginally at a hospital 300 miles away.