What exactly is this nasty little problem . . .
If you answered: the epidemic of cesarean birth in the United States, then you are the winner! Congratulations!! Tell her what she’s won! “Well, labortrials, your winner has now an increased chance of death due to abdominal section and quartering as an elective procedure appropriate for childbirth. She may suffer from post-partum depression or post traumatic stress disorder, but who’s really checking. She and her child may miss out on an important bond that established during and immediately following birth. Her child may have respiratory problems and nervous system dysfunction, but since cesarean ‘birth’ is manageable, she might as well climb up on the table and strap herself down. She can claim her prize at any just about any ole hospital!”
“American maternity wards are fast becoming surgical suites.”
You must read Jennifer Block’s opinion article from the LA Times (9/24/07). Here is the opening paragraph:
“Pre-term births are on the rise. Nearly one-third of women have major abdominal surgery to give birth. And compared with other industrialized countries, the United States ranks second-to-last in infant survival. For years, these numbers have suggested something is terribly amiss in delivery wards. Now there is even more compelling evidence that the U.S. maternity care system is failing: For the first time in decades, the number of women dying in childbirth has increased.” Click HERE to read more.
For those of you who don’t know, Jennifer Block authored the book Pushed. So certainly you are getting a more radical perspective on the medicalization of childbirth, but I’m okay with that since the dominant culture surrounding birth typically plunks it’s head in the sand when you start talking about certain topics. Well, it’s kind of like that crazy radical idea of global warming . . . interesting how after years and years of clear evidence (and head plunking), the government is at least entertaining the idea that global warming is man-made, reversible, and a real threat to the globe’s future. So, just because something seems radical doesn’t make it untrue, ya know?!
Caesareans are inherently riskier than normal, vaginal birth. They also lead to repeat caesareans. And repeat caesareans carry even greater risks.
The next time you hear a pregnant woman joke cavalierly about cesarean birth, smack her. Well, no don’t do that, but do say something to her that will make her think twice about that potential (or elective or scheduled or repeat) cesarean. It’s hard to put yourself out there, but think about the difference you may make for one woman and her child or children. You are obligated to speak out against the injustice of medicalized birth!