Did you know this weekend is when both the U.S. and Canada celebrate some version of a national birthday party? All this talk about birth of nations and lots of tidbits on birth in general has got me thinking about, well, birth. So, in one of the strangest Canada Day/Independence Day blogs ever, this is a look at the state of birth in North America.
This is what has got me thinking: Did you know that you are more likely to die in childbirth in the U.S. than you are having a baby in Greece, Astonia, or just about any other developed country? The U.S. is at the bottom of the list making it one of the worst places to have a baby of developed countries and we are one of the only countries where the maternal death rate is rising!
Part of the problem according to the World Health Organization and just about every other independent research body is the rising incidents of medical intervention. Women today aren’t given enough resources and support for natural birth and the result is more women and more babies are being injured and even dying. An indication of the problem is the rising c-section rate. In the U.S. it is at almost 32% and in Canada it is over 26% and around 31% in B.C. The W.H.O. says a country has a problem if the rate rises about 10 to 15%.
Another part of the problem is that the U.S. doesn’t track why or how women die in childbirth or postpartum related incidents.
The third issue is a general lack of information about what normal birth is in North America and an appalling lack of postive and realistic media. Birth is not the WHAM (broken bag of waters and surprised look), BAM (yelling and pushing in the hospital room) and THANK YOU MAM (happy mom with baby 1 minute later) that is so dramatically and quickly delivered before the commercial break. Luckily there is a plethora of media resources coming available for those who want to get even a tiny bit more informed about their options for births, how to realize those options, and what birth can look like when done under a midwifery model of care.
Learn more about the problems and politics of birth in North America:
Get involved creating meaningful and safer options for families:
Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein created the Business of Being Born, MyBestBirth.com, and wrote Your Best Birth to educate families on birth options: now they have the opportunity to create a larger impact and they need support for their independent media project. You can learn more and help .
The Maternal Health Accountability Act (HR 894) would help give funding so that states could start tracking this information. Momsrising.org is pushing for it. Famous midwife Ina May Gaskin has been fighting for years for this.
After you’ve read Pushed by Jennifer Block and you want to stay informed on what is going on with the politics of birth, don’t miss http://www.pushedbirth.com/