Saturday, September 22, 2007

How much risk is too much risk?

Homebirth advocates and natural childbirth advocates, (and advocates of "alternative" health in general) tend to be obsessed about environmental exposures. They express concern about not eating "right" in pregnancy. They are sure that exposure to any and all medication is toxic. They chide other women about the "risks" of epidural. Before we look at the real risks of various environmental exposures, we need to ask a threshhold question:

How much risk is too much risk?

In other words, at what point (1 in a hundred, 1 in a thousand, 1 in a million) is the risk of death or injury to a baby or a mother too great to be acceptable? That point may be different for each individual, but logically speaking, we should be able to conclude that risks that are higher than the chosen risk level are too high, and risks lower than the chosen risk level are not high enough to warrant concern. It would not be logical to claim that some risks are too high, but other, even higher risks, are not too high.

So where do you draw the line? How much risk is too much risk for you?


0 Old Comments: