Earlier this month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a U.K. organization that provides national health care advice and guidance, released a report on the care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth. The report stated that low-risk women would actually be safer delivering with a midwife — either at a birth center or at home — than with a physician at a hospital.
Ever since the report came out, there has been a lot of discussion as to how it might impact birth here in the United States. In fact, this week, The New York Times published a statement from their Editorial board, asking “Are Midwives Safer Than Doctors?”, and suggesting that many women would benefit from midwifery care. Like the Times, I too hope that NICE’s report will have an impact on the care received by those who are pregnant. I should note that I have a double stake in this issue. I’m currently working on my second book, this one delving into the concept of the “Perfect Birth.” I’m curious about the way we think about, talk about, and experience birth. I’ve teamed up with Deborah Wage, a Certified Nurse Midwife currently practicing at a university hospital. Together we’re looking at the research and data already out there on birth in this country as well as gathering our own, along with the stories of those giving birth to see how it all weaves together. The stories I have heard so far that span the spectrum of birth experiences is overwhelming. The way we treat women in this country is only magnified during the birth experience, where any semblance of control and autonomy is ignored, and marginalized women are treated poorly, resulting in poor birth outcomes for themselves and their babies. Just look at the basic facts and you can’t help but understand we have a problem. The U.S. spends the most when it comes to birth in the world, despite the fact that we’re the only developed nation whose maternal mortality rates continue to rise. Clearly, there is a systemic issue that needs to change.
But my interest in this is also personal. Keep reading »
Apparently, when it comes to maternity care costs in this country, I lucked out big time. Seven years ago, when I found myself pregnant for the first time, I had just switched from my own insurance to my husband’s much better one, and had only one, $25 co-payment for the entirety of my pregnancy — including the delivery. That’s it. Twenty-five dollars got me multiple visits with my midwife and a hospital birth (albeit a short one — I was in and out of the hospital in 10 hours, my choice).
Yet, my experience is certainly not the norm when it comes to maternity care costs in this country. The New York Times recently looked into why the U.S. has the most expensive maternity care in the world … despite not necessarily being at the top when it comes to quality of care. The facts are both absolutely terrifying and downright maddening. According to the Times article, prenatal and delivery charges can cost upwards of $50,000, depending on whether the mom-to-be has insurance or needs a C-section. Even for those with insurance, there is still the possibility of a costly birth, especially if your policy does not include maternity care coverage. Keep reading »
Looks like Joe Walsh won’t be getting off Jon Stewart’s list of the craziest guys in Congress any time soon: Last night in a debate with his opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois rep and Tea Party favorite explained that he is “pro-life without exception.” He continued, “Understand though, that when we talk about exceptions, we talk about rape, incest, health of a woman, life of a woman. Life of the woman is not an exception.” Duckworth accused Walsh of allowing a woman to die rather than get an abortion, and Walsh said that was unfair. After the debate, he explained further to the press, NPR reports.
- He told CNN: ”This is an issue that opponents of life throw out there to make us look unreasonable. There’s no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has been, has become a tool for abortions any time under any reason.”
- He told WGN: “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance … there is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.” Read more…