I am DISGUSTED!!!!!!
I came across a blog that refers to the C-section rates at different hospitals, by state. Knowing that the estimated C-section rate is over 30% this year (get that, one THIRD of all pregnancies ending with a c-section...I'm sure they were ALL necesary and therefore the safest choice for the mother and baby right?), I was curious, so I took a look at some of the hospitals I'm familiar with.
One imparticular is the hospital I was born at. (See link above) Since I was born there, they have added a "State of the art" maternity wing and are heralded by word of mouth for having the best care available. Again, I was curious on how that translated. I fully expected the C-section rate to be higher than I would like, say 5-10%, but it was24%. Sad but true.
Yet this is not what disgusted me. With its superiour word of mouth, you'd expect it to be a great place to give birth, and by great place I mean healthy for the mom and the baby, and I guess for those who are there to visit too. And people think so. It has a Superior hospital rating from those who were there.
But look at the safety factor. Yes, they have a neonatal ICU, which is great assuming that your baby is going to have (or will likely have) complications at birth, but check out the patient safety piece. They are BELOW average in appropriate use of antibiotics, only average in the appropriate timing of antibiotics, and got a POOR rating on the appropriate discontinuance of antibiotics. Now, we don't know necesarily what this means, if they are more conservative in these areas or more liberal, but you'd expect a hospital with such a great reputation to have a much more better safety factor wouldn't you?
Not necesarily, or so I've learned. The truth is that people believe what they are told. People believe that because the billboards and websites show a gleaning white facility that the doctors and nurses must absolutely know what they are doing and are providing the safest location possible to give birth. What they don't know is that infection, particularly at a hospital where people are going to because they are ill and are in desperate need of care (that is what a hospital is for, right?), well, it happens! No matter how much the facility tries to keep things sterile and safe the environment by nature will always pose a risk to patients. Particularly those patients who are new to the world and haven't built up an immune system yet.
Now for those who are in dire need of medical care because they too are sick (again, thats why you go to a hospital correct? You don't go just because everything is fine?, I don't anyway...) then the benefit theoretically outweighs the risk of infectionm, or that is the goal.
So why do perfectly healthy mothers who by all indication are giving birth to perfectly healthy babies choose to subject themselves and their babies to the conditions where they have such an increased risk for harm? Why do mostly healthy mothers who by all indication will give birth to normal babies choose to subject themselves to it?
Because thats what they are told to do. Think about it. Where did you learn to give birth/prepare yourself for birth/be preganant? Probably from everyone around you. You saw that people go to an OB (that is the most common method of receiving pre-natal care), so you expect that when you get pregnant, regardless of your health/previous experience/etc. you too will go to an OB. But the truth is that OB's are trained surgeons, trained to diagnose illness and hardships. Again, this sounds great, until you learn that there are simple things you can do on your own to preven those illnesses and hardships that your OB will never tell you about. For example. Have you ever heard of preeclampsia (SP?) . I should probably do the research on this again, but when I did before it showed that if you eat 80-100 grams of protein each day the risk of developing pre-eclampsia drops to virtually none. Crazy huh? Bet your OB didn't teach you that one! Instead, they are trained to watch your "symptoms" throughout your pregancy and wait for the inevitable blood pressure increase and weight gain until you develop the condition, and they act according to what they've been trained to do....operate. Take that baby out. Afterall, at that point the only thing you can do to stop the preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Ok, so maybe they induce if they think you and the baby are up to it, but the point is that *its possible* none of that would have to happen if you had a bit of preventative care you should have received in the first place. (edited to add "its possible"...I don't mean to indicate that ALL cases of preeclampsia will be avoided with diet)
See, in the past, learning from others was a good thing. We learned from our mothers, our grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and other strong women on how to be a healthy pregnant mommy and give birth to healthy strong babies. 100 years ago, 200 years ago...for however long women have been giving birth they've done so and managed to continue population growth without a 30% c-section rate. They did preventative stuff, like walk a lot and rest a lot. They learned to move around during labor and give birth in a variety of positions that let mother nature (gravity) help. They learned that birth is messy and hard work and that you needed your energy to do it so you needed to eat as you saw fit and drink plenty of water. They learned that sometimes babies take a long time to cook, some shorter, but the baby will come when its ready. They learned that you needed the support of your family, those thtat have gone before you, your mother, your sisters, etc. And, they learned that birth isn't always successful. So they tried new things, and experimented and found other new things to help with successful births.
And somehow we've gotten to the point where it is today, where mothers and doctors for no other reason than the desire to have a perfect schedule decide to poke and prod at a mother and baby, forcing the contractions to start when the baby wasn't quite ready, ripping a hole in the protection the baby needs to stay alive and infection free, give the mother somtehing to help with the pain caused by all the equipment and meds she's been hooked up to which will make her crash as soon as the baby is born rather than nurse like the baby will naturally want to do for bonding, comfort, health, etc...and then when this all doesn't work because the baby doesn't come fast enough to fit that tight schedule and the baby is starting to become "stressed" and is now in danger (but wasn't just a few hours ago when all was fine and dandy in the untouched womb) the doctors rush mommy to the operating room, hopefully daddy can get ready in time, where she has little to no involvement in the birth of her baby, she can't see it, she can only feel pressure where people are doing something that just isn't "natural", and hopefully she will be able to get a quick glimpse as the doctor throws the baby in the air over the curtain and says "Say hi to your baby" like its a new puppy, then rushes him/her off to the NICU because the baby isn't breathing quite right and is sluggishly responding and, maybe there is a problem with the lungs.
And its all completely "normal"...afterall...birth is a dangerous, complicated procedure where skilled physicians must monitor the mother and baby at all times to ensure a healthy, delivery (like the one described above).
Outrageious? Not so much. Start looking around and listening to the birth stories your friends are telling you. Its all the same..."we went in for an induction...the baby wasn't responding...the baby's heart rate was elevated (or dropping)....failure to progress...c-section..." at least for 1/3 of the birthing population this year.
This isn't to say that ALL c-sections are unnecesary or preventable, or that the mothers would rather sacrifice the health of their babies for their comfort and ease of scheduling. Some mothers need c-sections for valid reasons (and everyone has a different definition of what a valid reason is). What is clear is that some of them could have been prevented if they only knew...if they only knew what they were really capable of rather than listening to the limitations others place on them.
Maya Angelou said (not a direct quote, or maybe it is, I don't know) "I did what I knew to do...when I knew better I did better". When are we as a society of women going to get together and "know better"...not in the scientific way of measuring facts and figures and misusing statistics to bring a lawsuit blaming someone else for the injury to our children (or ourselves) at birth, but in a way that we will know what truly is normal, healthy pregnancy and birth and that we will encourage each other to do what is truly best and make it through a healthy "normal" delivery that involves little to no mechanical interventions, few strangers, and lots of love and attention, true CARE for the mother and baby (and rest of the family)? When are we going to stop listening to the noise coming at us from all directions and listen to what God intended this to be?
Check out some links for some other hospitals:
Near the one above:
In the DFW area: