Better Birth Starts by Watching This
Georgetown University researcher Ryan McAllister asks this question about American birth, “Would you pay more than full price for something that is broken?”
Thank you to Ryan McAllister and his team for this excellent lecture, it is worth your time to watch. The work he presents is what I spend much of my time lecturing on and advocating for mothers as both a blogger and women’s health physical therapist.
I had no idea how broken birth was until I was pregnant with my first son, Michael, in 2005. It was because of my dogged tenacity and my education in health care that I had enough confidence and knowledge to question my baby doctor (who at that time was an ob/gyn).
At the most exciting time of my life, visits to my doctor left me feeling alone and neglected. I did not feel well cared for, much less respected. Every time I had an appointment I saw a different person, who treated me as if I had no education or right to an opinion every time I asked a question.
But it is because I asked a specific set of questions of the hospital and caregiver, which I wrote about in these two blogs, Choosing the Right Birth Facility and Choosing the Right Health Care Provider, that I was able to finally find a health care provider that I felt respected me and cared about what happened to me. After firing two ob/gyn practices, I finally found someone that I felt truly cared about me, my baby, and my birth. That person was a midwife. Her name was Mary.
Just in the nick of time, Mary arrived on the scene and saw me at each and every visit, spending as much time as was needed to attend to my questions. This included Mary’s attending to my needs during my 36 hour (yes, 36 hour) labour.
Without Mary I would have most certainly had a cesarean section had I even laboured for 12 hours without progressing, and I would have definitely been induced without question after a short trial of labor. Read this blog post about the lack of evidence-based birth currently being used to determine labor duration limits for women.
36 hours later, Mary the marvelous midwife helped me guide my son Michael into this world, naturally. With calm music playing, kind words, and dim lights with no extraneous noise or intervention, my son was born in the most nurturing, compassionate, and caring way possible.
Mary was also present for the birth of my other two sons, William and James, and it is because of her, and my experience as a researcher and physical therapist, that I advocate for every mother to have an amazing and supportive birth experience.
American Mothers Deserve Better
Dr. McAllister lays out the facts, supported by the evidence, of why midwifery-attended births are not only more compassionate and nurturing for mother and baby, but they are also safer for low-risk births, which constitute the majority of births in the US. Read my post on American Childbirth: A Human Rights Failure?
Ob/gyns are trained experts in surgical birth, but midwives are the trained experts in well-birth. It is long overdue for the US, who has the highest infant and mortality rates yet the most expensive healthcare of all developed nations, to take a stand for the well-being of America’s mothers. It is long overdue for mothers to receive evidence-based, compassionate care based on what is best for mothers and babies, not what is best for hospital policy or doctor convenience.
Take a short half hour of your time to watch this video. Your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and their future daughters will thank you.
Watch Dr. McAllister's UnBreaking Birth video below.