Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On MDC: Making fun of women whose babies might have died

Here is an excerpt from a typical MDC post, typical because of its ignorance, arrogance and sanctimony.
I'm reading an article about freebirthing and in the comments, I have seen no less than ten women declaring that without a C-section/doctor/vacuum/whatever, both they and their baby would have died. Why is every woman who ends up with a complication so absolutely certain that (1) they AND their baby would definitely have died, (2) there would have been absolutely nothing that could have been done to help them at home, and (3) the midwife would never have suggested transfer to the hospital because it's a HOME birth. I'm getting SO irritated with the attitude that homebirthers (UCers especially) are just so dead-set on the comforts of home that they won't go to the hospital no matter what and that it's all about their comfort, since we all know it's safer for the baby in the hospital...

How selfish do they think we are? Yeah, I'm going to have a UC because I don't want a stranger elbow-deep in my yoni. But you know what? That is not the most important thing about having a homebirth. And yes, I know that women used to die in childbirth. People used to die of a lot of things we don't consider serious now - chicken pox for example. Scurvy. Mumps. Anemia. Etc. Yes, if I start developing symptoms of pre-eclampsia, I'm going to the hospital... A healthy baby is the most important thing, which is why we're staying out of the germ-infested hospitals!
Here's a little history to contemplate. In the past 100 years American obstetrics has lowered the neonatal mortality rate 90% and the maternal mortality rate 99%. That means that each and every year over 220,000 babies and over 39,000 mothers are saved who would have otherwise died. So approximately a quarter of a million women EACH YEAR can honestly say that they or their babies might have died in the absence of obstetric technology. That doesn't even count the additional hundreds of thousands who might have had near misses, serious injuries or brain damage in the absence of modern technology.

The inane MDC comment highlights the lack of basic knowledge among homebirth advocates. They live in Birth Fantasyland where childbirth is inherently safe and complications are rare. Hence they immediately disbelieve and even make fun of women who would have certainly died or lost their babies without obstetric technology. In the real world childbirth is inherently dangerous and complications are surprisingly common. That's why so many babies and women died prior to the advent of modern obstetrics and why millions of babies and women continue to die each year in places where modern obstetrics is not available.

Think about it: Almost a quarter of a million lives are saved by modern obstetrics each year. That's a tremendous number of women who can honestly say that if they had not been at a hospital, they or their babies would have died.

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