The Big Push for Midwives Campaign issued a response to ACOG’s statement about home births. My favorite quote from their response, regarding ACOG’s reference to home birth being chosen because it’s a fad is:
“It will certainly come as news to the Amish and other groups in this country who have long chosen home birth that they’re simply being ‘trendy’ or ‘fashionable,’” said Katie Prown, PhD, Campaign Manager of The Big Push for Midwives 2008.
ACOG had argued that home birthers were selfish women who put their need for an “experience” ahead of the safety of their babies. The Big Push responded with:
“ACOG has it backwards,” said Steff Hedenkamp, Communications Coordinator of The Big Push and the mother of two children born at home. “I delivered my babies with a trained, skilled professional midwife because I wanted the safest out-of-hospital care possible. If every state were to follow ACOG’s recommendations and outlaw CPMs, families who choose home birth will be left with no care providers at all. I think we can all agree that this is an irresponsible policy that puts mothers and babies at risk.”
The Big Push makes a call to ACOG to work with CPMs to reduce the c-section rate and “to take meaningful steps towards reducing racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes in all regions of the United States.” If you don’t know, many times a pregnant women on Medicaid or who can’t afford hospitals for birthing, end up as guinea pigs for the latest drug or the newest intern. My midwife was young and didn’t have insurance when she was pregnant with her first baby, so she chose a home birth with a midwife. She says it’s the wrong reason to choose a midwife, but at least she had a choice. The Big Push also points out that in a disaster, a realistic view, a CPM, who is trained is specialized in out-of-hospital care qualifies them as “essential first-responders” in the case that “hospitals become inaccessible or unsafe for laboring mothers.”
Okay, so The Big Push is thinking of it all AND they aren’t pointing any fingers- which is very easy to do at the obstetric care of now. There may be a small handful of OBs that are doing a stand-up job but they are within a larger ocean of OBs that need to find ways to bill their patients (by ripping the bag of water so they can administer Pitocin, offering an epidural for the pain the Pitocin brings on and finally calling a labor “failure to progress” so they can do the expensive c-section) so that they can pay for malpractice insurance (which can be in the hundred thousands), send their kids to Ivy League schools and maintain a certain quality of life.
My hope is that more pregnant women become aware of the reasons behind their doctor’s recommendations. In many cases, there is no good reason, except that the pregnant mother has been scared by telling her that her baby is measuring big (known as macrosomia) or that her amniotic fluid looks low, among other things.
A midwife I know said to me once that when she’s asked what she does for a living she says:
I wait for a living.
Besides wanting OBs to wake up to the damage they are doing to the mother’s experience and to their babies by opting for an assembly line mode of maternity care, I believe that we should encourage pregnant women to feel that they are important enough to be waited upon without led to the false belief that this patience will hurt their baby.