Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Birth Industry

If you haven't seen the Business of Being Born, I recommend you do. I'm already a fan of documentaries, so I wasn't surprised by how much I enjoyed it. What surprised me was my reaction. It scared the living daylights out of me. I knew that Cesarean section rates are on the rise in the US. And I knew that hospitals like to speed up the birth process for efficiency sake. But I never thought about how birth has become big "business" in the United States. Looking back at my birth experience (which was not pretty), the film made a lot of sense to me (although I don't quite think I'm ready for a home birth).

In 2006, the national Cesarean rate in the US was 31.1% ( a 46% increase since 1996). How scary is that? The World Health Organization estimates the rate of cesarean sections between 10% and 15% of all births in developed countries. Why such a huge discrepancy? Childbirth Connection has put together some of the top reasons for the increase in C section rates in the US.

The film also looks at the use of midwives in the United States (and compares our low levels of use to other developed countries high levels). I'd like to get into this here, but the babe needs breakfast and is getting cranky.

For immediate info on midwives, check out the Midwives Alliance of North America. For more general info, the Business of Being Born has set up a helpful "Links and Additional Information" page.


Anonymous said...

I had midwives with both my births, and would never have an OB assisted birth unless I was high risk. Both births were intervention and medication free; and both were wonderful experiences. Our second baby is named after our midwife:)

I would do home-birth, but L is too queasy. I am still hoping to sway him by the next time the third baby comes along. I wouldn't consider unassisted birth though, which is what some women who have no access to midwifery care are choosing to do.

And yes, that film is excellent.

Hope all is well with you and the abbe!

Anonymous said...

Ha, that was me. didn't mean to be so cryptic!