Friday, September 29, 2006

What would happen to homebirth if doctors and hospitals were nicer?

Reading over the hundreds and hundreds of posts to this blog in the last few months, I am struck by a powerful common theme. Interestingly, that theme does not have much to do with pregnancy and birth. The theme that unites so many posts is anger and frustration at the way patients are treated.

Although there has been much discussion of the "harms" of hospital delivery, and there have been some examples of these harms, the reality is that birth in the hospital works out quite well most of the time. People are not posting on this board about personal experiences when a baby was harmed or killed by technology or even that mothers are seriously harmed or killed by technology. However, almost every has a personal experience to share about how they were treated very poorly and disrespectfully.

I am sensitive to this dynamic since I have seen it myself (and experienced it) on many occasions. The official attitude of doctors and hospitals often seems to be "yeah, yeah, whatever". In other words, "we aren't listening to what you want, we don't care what you want, we are going to do whatever we want, when we feel like doing it, and not until we feel like doing it."

Unlike people who are truly ill, who feel that they have no options, pregnant women do not feel ill (because they aren't) and they have created other options, one of which is homebirth. So here's my question: Would homebirth essentially cease to exist if doctors and hospitals treated patients respectfully, as they are supposed to do?

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