Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Childbirth in America

Sarah wrote:

Interesting. I'd also be interested in learning the incidence of malpractice suits brought in Europe vs. America and whether there is a difference between how European and American women view, and seek treatment for, their own bodies.

I don't trust doctors implicitly but I think there are other factors ar work as well.

I agree with you. I think in general most of Europe views childbirth as a natural process and that many interventions that American's view as routine are things that are pulled out of the bag of tricks until they are truly needed. A lot of these interventions really do save lives - both moms and children. If you post something on a public message board decrying some part of a hospital birth you will instantly be bombarded with a slew of posts saying how intervention X saved the baby's or the mother's life. This is very true, but just as true is the fact that intervention X when used at the wrong point in labor can lead to intervention Y and Z which can easily end up as an emergency c-section.

I'd be interested in finding out about how American women measure up to Western European women in seeking and obtaining health care as well. Based on my limited knowledge, I'd like to think that Europeans are better health consumers simply because most of Europe does not seem to have the same hang-ups Americans have about women's bodies, i.e. the hyper-sexualiztion that exists in this country is not as rampant there. I would also think that malpractice isn't nearly the problem there that it is here because they have much stricter laws, which can be a good and a bad thing.

I think I'm going to withhold full judgement until I actually get a chance to see the film. The trailer smacks a bit too much of Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 for my comfort. While I agree that the message of Moore's film was important, it's a bit too close to propaganda for my taste. I'm hoping that the film will actually show the pros and cons of both the American and Europena model without resorting to turning the European model into a utopia of childbirth where the American model is next door to the Inquisition's torture chamber.

As an interesting side note, in the trailer they have several people talk about how much of a money maker childbirth is for American hospitals. There are extenuating circumstances due to out of control malpractice, but yet another Philadelphia area hospital looks like it's going to close it's maternity ward - Chestnut Hill Hospital. This is a very big blow because they provide OB back-up for many midwives who provide homebirths and a birth center in Huntingdon Valley. If you are local and reading this, there will be a rally and march on the hospital to show support for the maternity department tomorrow, Thursday April 5th. The group will be meeting at 11:30am in front of the Borders at 8701 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill and walking up to the hospital. I'm going to try my hardest to be there.