Birth is Big Business

pregnant woman

For over 100 years families in our country have had the wool pulled over their eyes by the big business of birth. We have been led to believe as a culture that obstetric care and hospital birth is the safest way for this process to be controlled. Our belief, in general, that technology can control and enhance nature has led to worldwide problems on many fronts. Consider the environment for one.

My great-grandmother gave birth to all of her children at home with the help of the neighborhood women. This is not unusual. Most births throughout time and around the world happen at home with the women passing down the information from generation to generation on how to best support each other. It is a spiritual experience, not an illness in which the woman needs rescue.

My grandmother on the other hand has no memory of any of her children being born. Our nation was fully industrialized by then. Just as factories efficiently pumped out products for the retail market, birth became a capitalistic dream, a way to make money efficiently. “Twilight Sleep”, a drug that produced a psychoactive amnesiatic state, was given to most women after their husbands dropped them off at the hospital for birth.

My own father was present at my birth, but had little power to stop interventions my mother did not want. She had planned a natural birth, practiced Lamaze, and spent her early labor at home. When she arrived at the hospital in labor she was tied down, given a narcotic and while the nurse lay over her stomach putting pressure on me to come out, the doctor cut my mom and pulled me out with forceps.

No wonder the advice most of us receive about birth is “you need an epidural”. For many women, it makes labor tolerable, but like all medications, it has side effects. Thankfully, we have the “Patients Bill of Rights” which allows us to advocate for the type of care we want. Empowered with the knowledge that my body was strong and healthy, and knows how to give birth, I hired a doula to help my birth plan stay on target. With a good education and great support, I enjoyed the birth of both of my children without medical interventions or pain medications.

For many women, medically managed birth is the style they sign up for when they choose to have their babies at the hospital. I want everyone to know that they have choices, and it is their responsibility to learn about them beforehand. One of the most important statistics to realize is that even though our country spends the most money on birth, it is not the safest county in which to give birth. The top countries in the world for healthy birth outcomes have midwifery care as the basis of healthcare for all low-risk pregnancies.

Maternal Mortality Statistics (follow and click on “a 2007 United Nations report”)–and-moms–die-at-birth.html
Infant Mortality Statistics

Midwifery care is more personal, more educational, and more supportive of the individual. It results in less chance of complications, fewer interventions, and a healthier birth for both mom and baby. Our health care system is based on the premises of pay per service. Midwifery care costs the patient less, and therefore is not as profitable in business terms. Furthermore, our litigation system has caused care providers to error on the side of commission. As long as they try all interventions, they are less likely to get sued, regardless of the outcome.

Whether you prefer obstetric care, being delivered by your family doctor, or midwifery care, we live in America and value our right to choose. That includes the right to choose our place of birth, hospital, birth center or home. Our choices in Wilmington, NC are becoming less, not more. The sudden dismantling of the midwifery program in town has caused many to rise up.

Please join our pickets this week, every day between 12pm and 1pm until NHRMC agrees to meet with us regarding their policies on midwifery care. Come out and join us if you are local, or in your thoughts if you are our friends out-of-town. Write letters and emails (see links in prevoius post ‘Send Your Letters – Your Opinion Counts’ and support the cause!

Let’s not forget the obstetrician that had to leave town because her cesarean rate was TOO LOW?
“Doctor won’t make the cut”
Published June 5, 2005

Want to learn more about midwifery care? I hope you will before you pass judgment; our culture has subconsciously trained many of us to believe the opposite about safety and birth. I hope the following websites will be informative for those of you who don’t already know about the skillful and loving care of midwives: and

Our special coupon for this newsletter is $10 OFF the New Online Childbirth Class Series that includes a FREE version of our new e-Book, Trust Birth: Information you need to know before you give birth.


1 Comment »

  1. cubanitadoula said

    Thank you for this informative post, Carmen. I think it’s important that our community know a bit about the history of birth and about options (or lack thereof) in our community.

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