Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why We Need To Take Pregnancy & Mother/Baby Health Seriously

Day after day, we talk on blogs, Facebook, Twitter or in community groups about the need to make childbirth classes more accessible to expectant families.  We explore ways to market our classes.  We discuss the strategies we use to teach.

As the year 2010 begins to close and a new year is on the horizon, we need to ramp up our efforts and make turn our talking into doing.

In the US, the Healthy People 2020 has many of the same objectives that were written in the Healthy People 2010 edition.  Why?  Because we didn't meet the objectives.  We didn't better maternal deaths in this country, didn't improve access to prenatal care, didn't increase the number of women attending childbirth education classes, and we didn't reach the breastfeeding objectives.

However, we still do not stress the importance of prenatal care ~ we care too much which celeb is expecting and what she is wearing.  We still allow physicians to tell our clients that the clients don't need to attend childbirth education classes or even Doulas as the epidural will take care of the pain even tho epidurals often contribute to a cascade of interventions with a wide variety of side effects...and not all of them good.  These women still present in labor with little knowledge of their bodies, the physiology of the birth process, the response of the body to labor and the importance of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding immediately following birth.

We still have nurses and residents who receive little or no information on how to support women who choose to have natural childbirths.  In the long term, this has forced some women to seek out homebirths ~ some in states with no regulation of certified professional midwives.  Since these states have no legislation or licensing, homebirth is neither legal or illegal - it is alegal, meaning that all is well as long as nothing happens.  If something should happen, the midwife can be arrested.  And if there is no legislation or licensing or quality of information regarding homebirth, the unsuspecting public has no way of knowing if their midwife has proper education, training, mentoring, or carries the proper equipment.  This, then, puts mothers and babies in more risk.

If we spent money on helping employers have worksite lactation programs, OR lunch-time childbirth education, OR train more professionals about facilitating normal birth OR helping more hospitals become baby friendly, OR promoted state legislation that would guarantee the safety of homebirth in ALL states, rather than making "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" into a movie, I just feel more women and babies would benefit.

I just feel we need to take pregnancy and mother/baby health more seriously.

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