Saturday, February 03, 2007

Listening to Mothers II

The Childbirth Connection recently published their second survey of childbearing women, Listening to Mothers II. The survey demonstrates a large disconnect between what the Childbirth Connection defines as a good birth, and what mothers themselves have to say.

Bias drips from every paragraph of the executive summary. Clearly the people at the Childbirth Connection feel that technology is overused, there are too many interventions, there are too many C-sections and women are not appropriately informed of the risks of interventions. Their own survey, though, shows that American women have a very different idea of what constitutes a good birth.

According to the report:
Mothers generally gave high ratings to the quality of the United States health care system and even higher ratings to the quality of maternity care in the U.S. Their opinions about the impact of the malpractice environment on maternity care, however, recongnized concerns. Large proportions felt that malpractice pressures led to increased charges and unnecessary tests and cesareans, and caused providers to stop offering maternity services. On the other hand, most felt that the malpractice environment caused providers to take better care of their patients.

By law ... women are entitled to full informed consent or informed refusal before expriencing any test or treatment. Most mothers stated that they had fully understood that they had a right to full and complete information ... and to accept or refuse any offered care...

A small proportion of mothers reported experiencing pressure froma health professional to have labor induction (11%), epidural anesthesia (7%) and cesarean section (9%)... Despite the very broad array of interventions presented and experienced ... just a small proportion (10%) had refused anything ...
So, despite the belief of the people from the Childbirth Connection that women had experienced "unnecessary" interventions, women were overwhelming pleased with their care, understood that they had the right to complete information, yet rarely refused recommended or offered treatments or interventions.

It seems that the Childbirth Connection's idea of what constitutes a "good birth" is not shared by the vast majority of American women.

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