Monday, July 1, 2013

NYT Cross-Post: Birthing in America is Costly!

Josh Haner/The New York Times
As a doula, my job is to sort of come outside of myself, my wishes, my thoughts and my needs to focus solely on a mother as she labors. This means that I support a mother who wants to give birth in a hospital with an epidural as equally and fully as a mother who wants to give birth squatting in her living room. As a woman who's TTC I find this article by the New York Times shocking!

I've been considering a home birth when we, Gd willing, get pregnant. Birthing at home or at a Birthing Center with a midwife and doula insures woman-focused, mother-lead birthing with a caregiver you've had a continuous relationship with, but it's also, quite shockingly, cheaper!

In nearly every other developed country in the world, midwives, not OBs attend births. Why? Because birth isn't a medical "problem" and OBs are trained surgeons. Of course, and I know this because I have fibroids which may put me in the "high risk" area of moms, some births have medical complications where having an OB is necessary. But for women who are healthy, birthing is and should be a natural process. Our bodies were made and are perfectly capable of birthing babies.

It wasn't until the 1950s that birth came to hospitals, before then the majority of American births were done at home. It's also interesting to note that while our births have moved into the hospital and away from the home, we've lost more mothers and babies. In fact, the U.S has one of the worst mother and baby mortality rates.

What are your thoughts on this article? 

From the New York Times: American Way of Birth; Costliest in the World
 LACONIA, N.H. — Seven months pregnant, at a time when most expectant couples are stockpiling diapers and choosing car seats, Renée Martin was struggling with bigger purchases.At a prenatal class in March, she was told about epidural anesthesia and was given the option of using a birthing tub during labor. To each offer, she had one gnawing question: “How much is that going to cost?”Though Ms. Martin, 31, and her husband, Mark Willett, are both professionals with health insurance, her current policy does not cover maternity care. So the couple had to approach the nine months that led to the birth of their daughter in May like an extended shopping trip though the American health care bazaar, sorting through an array of maternity services that most often have no clear price and — with no insurer to haggle on their behalf — trying to negotiate discounts from hospitals and doctors.When she became pregnant, Ms. Martin called her local hospital inquiring about the price of maternity care; the finance office at first said it did not know, and then gave her a range of $4,000 to $45,000. “It was unreal,” Ms. Martin said. “I was like, How could you not know this? You’re a hospital.”Midway through her pregnancy, she fought for a deep discount on a $935 bill for an ultrasound, arguing that she had already paid a radiologist $256 to read the scan, which took only 20 minutes of a technician’s time using a machine that had been bought years ago. She ended up paying $655. “I feel like I’m in a used-car lot,” said Ms. Martin, a former art gallery manager who is starting graduate school in the fall.

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