I just read this on another blog I frequent and it’s quite interesting to me that the USA is not on this list.
Actually, it’s not all that surprising to me.
Especially in light of my own recent struggles to be respected and have my rights upheld as a birthing woman in America.
But that is a topic for another time and another day. I don’t think I’m ready to broadcast my own human rights violation story on the World Wide Web just yet. But I would be happy to have a private conversation with anyone anytime about it, so shoot me an email.
I will, however, give you few little statistics here to help you understand why I am not surprised by this list.
1. The cesarean rate in America was 30.1% (and rising) in 2006. According to the World Health Organization: “there is no justification for any region to have a cesarean rate more than 10-15%”. (Cesarean section: What you need to know. Henci Goer). The higher the rate goes, the more women will not only die, but be faced with physical and psychological complications resulting from this surgery.
2. In 1999, the US ranked 21st in the world for maternal death. But the CDC estimates that maternal deaths are underreported by one half to two thirds, and that half of maternal deaths are preventable. The rate of death due to childbirth has not decreased since 1982, and it has actually been increasing since 1999. (Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Ina May Gaskin. Bantam, 2003. pp 274-277). Is it scary to anyone else that our country spends more on health care than any other country in the world and yet the maternal death rate has not decreased in 25 years?
3. The US ranks 29th in the world for infant mortality. Some other countries that are above the US are: Czech Republic, Israel, Cuba, and Japan. (National Center for Health Statistics, website). I tell ya, it sure makes me feel so good to know that I could fly down to Cuba and have a better chance of my baby being born alive and living through it’s first year than I do here in America.
Women’s rights to birth are in deep trouble here in America, folks. It has been predicted that in the near future (I’ve heard as early as 2015, but don’t quote me on that!) vaginal birth will be an exception and every baby will be born by cesarean. Do a little research on cesareans (here’s a good place to start) and you will see how very wrong this is. America needs help, and fast.
For those of you who live in Muskegon. If you would like to learn more about birth in this country there is going to be a showing of a wonderful documentary on April 17th, 2008 at 6pm. It is being hosted by Full Circle Midwifery (the wonderful midwives whom I see!!). It is being held at the MAREC center. A $5 donation is appreciated but no one will be turned away! The documentary is called “The Business of Being Born”, go here for more info.
I hope some of you will come, and that you will pass this info along to other women here in Muskegon. Because let me tell you…it’s pretty bad here for birthing women.
It’s really bad in America for birthing women.
It’s time we stood up for ourselves and demanded better health care for ourselves and our babies.
I include myself in this, and have already begun trying to make a difference. If I can help one woman avoid the unnecessary surgery I went through to “birth” my son then it will all have been worth it.