Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

The Business of Being Born

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The film, The Business of Being Born, changed my entire outlook on childbirth. I have never been exposed to anyone giving birth at home; everyone who has had a child that I know personally has had them in a hospital. For me, it has never been a question of whether or not I would have my baby in a hospital, I was always under the influence that this was the safest place to do so. After watching this film though, I really don’t think a hospital is the best place. I have never once considered having a midwife until now. This film poses one life-altering question: Where is the best, most comfortable and safe place to deliver a child; at home or at the hostpital?

First of all, most OBGYN’s never see or participate in a live birth while going through medical school. Why are we so prone to trusting these people at hospitals we don’t even know simply because they have on a white coat and scrubs? OBGYN’s are surgeons, and they really aren’t trained in the field of childbirth. One doctor explained childbirth as 98% not exciting, and 2% terrifying. I took this to mean, 98% of the time they don’t care at all about you when you are in pain from contractions and they are probably thinking about what they will have for dinner, and the other 2% when the baby actually starts to come out, they have no idea what to do and are terrified of that. That doesn’t sound like any kind of doctor I would want at my delivery. Most doctors set up birth one way. If you have a birth plan, it will more than likely change when you come in to have you child, depending on the doctor’s agenda. It is fascinating to me that many women in America are PLANNING c-sections around their husbands work schedules, or to have their baby born on a specific date. WHAT? In New York, Westchester Hospital has a 45% c-section rate! Cesarean sections are very “doctor friendly” which means whenever the birth is beginning to take too long, a doctor will suggest the c-section to speed up the process and explain that it is “for the safety and well-being of the baby.” The peak hours for Cesarean section’s in the hospital are 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM. The doctor offers a c-section around 4:00 PM to ensure he will be home in time for dinner, and 10:00 PM because he or she sees that it’s getting late, and doesn’t want to be up delivering this child all night. You may ask what a doctor’s opinion on home birth is. Doctors say that birth at home isn’t as safe because if something goes wrong, the midwife will not have the essential tools to fix this problem at home.

Now, as far a Midwifery goes, in the United States, there are less than 8% of midwives. In China and Japan 70% of births are performed by a midwife. Even if women in the United States wanted to have a midwife, there are hardly any available here. Midwives stick with birth plans, and are said to be better for new-mothers because they have a much stronger connection with them. Midwives care about their patients and the newborns, and are personally involved in the birth. While having a child at home, it is recommended to move around a lot during the delivery to help “loosen” the baby. It is pretty impractical to have a woman lay on her back with her legs up while trying to deliver a child. It is hard for a baby to squeeze through to pelvic region in that position. The interventions that hospitals often spring on women in labor are medicines such as: Pitosin which increases contractions, Epidural which numbs the pain of contractions but slows them down also which delays birth, Cytotec which is for women who have had a previous c-section and could potentionally blow out the Uterus, and Stadol which is a drug that makes you want to reach and pull things. Back in the 1920’s this drugs was used and the doctor’s would tie their patients hands down to contain them. None of these drugs are offered during home birth. There are many advantages of having a midwife. One being, the rate for having a child in a hospital could be up to $13,000, while the average rate for using a midwife is $4,000, and that includes post-natal care. Also, you don’t have to worry about an infection from a c-section, or any drug use which may harm the child.

This film has opened my eyes to the idea of Midwifery, and I honestly don’t know which route I will take when I decide to have children. I think the video was a bit bias toward midwives, but did a good job at explaining both sides.

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