Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AMA Blasts Homebirth

As a busy mother of 7 children, I don't watch much tv. This being the case I haven't watched the birth shows that air on cable/satellite tv. Today, however, I watched A Baby Story.

Let me tell ya, I had a hard time keeping my jaw off the floor! Which is surprising since I was already aware of the birth scenario I witnessed today:

The mother is crying in pain, husband is terrified, doctor performs numerous vaginal exams, she's dilated to 4 & asks for epidural. After receiving anesthesia her labor stops, pitocin is administered, baby's heart decelerates, a cesarean is mentioned, 7 hours later (when finally dilated and the doctor returns from a nights rest) mother pushes, and pushes and pushes her baby into the world while lying on her back with her feet up in the air. The umbilical cord is quickly cut, baby is whisked away, wiped, weighed, and medicated before being returned to mother.

I know this scenario is played out across the country, I've been aware of it for years, but actually seeing it on tv today was kind of surreal. I just sat there astonished and I wondered about many things, like how doctors can get away with cutting the cord immediately after birth when there is no justification for it as it has been shown to be detrimental to babies.

I thought of the blog posts and comments that I have recently read arguing that one intervention doesn't lead to another. Yeah, right! The proof was right there on the screen... the epidural led to the pitocin.... which led to baby's heart decel... which almost lead to a c-section.

Some other aspects of the birth that I marveled at: the woman's lack of preparation and coping skills, the father's lack of participation, the doctor's ego as he skillfully managed yet another labor and birth.

Watching this show made me grateful all over again that after two painful CNM hospital births, I learned how to cope/manage labor and delivery and have had 4 wonderful unassisted homebirths that proceeded without any crying, vaginal exams, technology, or medications.

After turning off the tv I got on the computer and checked the google alerts where I read in a Daily News article that the AMA blasted homebirth citing Riki Lake and other movie stars who have brought attention to home deliveries.

The AMA has "resolved" to support the ACOG's recent statement against homebirth. They further resolved to develop legislation and rigorous standards for birth to be approved by ACOG the AAP and other hospital based organizations.

Ricki Lake, Jennifer Block, and Abby Epstein quickly sent their response to the Huffington Post.
This is one of their statements:

Research evidence be damned, the doctors want to mandate you to go to the hospital. They don't want you to have a choice.

Reading all of this really gave me the hebejeebies after watching the Birth Story show on tv. To think that doctors want me and my daughters to experience a birth like that! There is no way that I will subject myself to that medicalized routine unless there is a medical indication.

I prefer to birth in the comfort of my own home, in my bathtub even! At home I can labor in my own surroundings, with my family present (but not in my face) and with no strangers. I am able to tune into what my body needs so that I can birth without overwhelming pain.

At home my baby is better cared for as he/she is not exposed to ultrasound, electronic fetal monitor, germs, etc.. and I am not pressured to give medicines that are not needed.

However, because of my age, I foresee in the future that I may want to call on midwives again, either at home or in the hospital, depending on the situation. I want that choice to be available to me, my daughters and future granddaughters.

Please join me in fighting for our rights and the rights of our posterity to birth as we choose! Contact your state representatives, be on the look out for anti-homebirth legislation, and make your opinion known by signing this online Homebirth Petition.

Blog responses to AMA's statement:
Citizens For Midwifery
Demetria Clark's video response

Some blog responses to ACOG's statement:


Marijke said...

Thank you for leaving a comment at and for leaving your link. I read your post and I know - it's unbelievable sometimes.

I hope you come back again and I'll visit again when I have a bit more time to read your blog.


Sheryl Lyon said...

Hi Susana!

Thanks for leaving a comment at I am glad I found your blog and I added you to the blogroll (

Sheryl Lyon
A Much Better Way

Maria said...

Thanks for vising me. I'll add your link to the post when I hit DC. :)

Mrs. and Mama Knifton said...

I'm with you sister! Our last birth was supposed to be a water birth by a midwife at her birthing center and as she was raised by doctors, it didn't go the way I wanted. She practically forced me to get the dialation checked after lying to me about sweeping my membranes. I ended up in the hospital, and thanks to having a wonderful, supportive hubby, was able to fight off a lot of nurse advice. I got an IV (I'd been throwing up and they thought I needed liquids), the fetal monitors (which I took off so I could stand up and push), but once she crowned ended up on my back to finish the birth. I did get to pull her out myself and had time with her before they wanted to take her away to wash her, which I made my hubby go and make sure they didn't do more.

With all THAT fun, I'm definitely having this next one at home. Can't wait!

Eileen Sullivan said...

A belated thank you for visiting Transforming Times/Shekinah Birthing Co. and leaving a comment. (We've just moved and the house is chaos, so I'm behind in so many things!) I'm enjoying your blog and website, and am 1000% with you about the typical "Baby Story" births. Very surreal, and unfortunately very often traumatizing to both mothers and partners. It makes me sad that most people don't even know how different birth looks when mothers are empowered and supported and can give birth in a truly safe environment.