I find it interesting, perplexing, ridiculous, and absurd that the FDA seized a shipment of birth tubs from a Portland, OR dock, claiming that they’ve been ordered to “inspect and destroy” them. According to Barbara Harper, the founder of Waterbirth International, “They claim they are unregistered medical equipment, but they are not providing a way or means to get them registered. In other words, if the medical authorities can’t stop waterbirth, then just have the FDA take away the birth pools.” [emphasis mine]
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What’s more, the FDA believes this to be their jurisdiction because childbirth is . . . an . . . ILLNESS. Yes, that’s right . . . I’m ill; ill with child. VERY ill with child actually. So ILL with child, that I might just any day now crawl into my bathtub for relief, medical relief of course, from my nearly 10 month ILLNESS. Harper was told: “Pregnancy is an illness and birth is a medical event. Therefore, a pool that a woman gives birth in should be classified as medical equipment.” Now, I will say that the FDA isn’t the only institution that believes pregnancy and birth to be an illness, but that’s another story for another day.
So, when I say that the FDA may want to come into your home and inspect your bathtub, hot tub, pool, pond, toilet, sink, whatever . . . hopefully you can see that I’m not really that far off the mark for these are all things water containers that women may use to facilitate childbirth.
More info can be found on this blog as well as Barbara Harper’s Facebook notes. Please spread the news and watch for news of a petition that Harper may be starting on Change.org.
For twenty plus years WBI and Barbara Harper have been here guiding mothers and their providers, providing education and birth pools all over the world. We are facing the hard truth that the Gentle Birth World Congress – a fabulous success in every way for international , as well as local attendees – drained all of our resources. We may have to close the doors permanent by January 31st.
We need to raise $200,000 in donations to cover the debts from the Congress and move on to keeping waterbirth alive as an available option.
Can you help us stay open to take the next phone call?
– to convince the next obstetrician to incorporate waterbirth into his/her practice
– to work with the nurse midwives to install pools in their facilities
– to educate an entire hospital on the benefits of allowing women freedom of movement in the water
How much is it worth to see waterbirth become the norm in the US, like it is in the UK? I think we only need a few more years to make that happen. Women really do want waterbirth to be an available choice in every hospital. They need choices now, more than ever. If we need to call every single waterbirth parent personally, we will. We don’t want 25 years of pioneering work to end and the vision of safe and beautiful waterbirth to go away.
Please do the following:
~DONATE any amount you can
~Become a member of Waterbirth International
~Buy a birth pool for your local midwives
~Buy a birth pool for yourself
~Buy a birth video and donate
~ Post this message on other sites and blogs
For more information on Waterbirth International, please visit their website. Don’t let 25 years of service to women and babies around the world come to an end in this manner. Thank you for your consideration!