On Wednesday night, Husband and I cuddled in to watch the documentary "The Business of Being Born". He was a sport about it, although he was not thrilled about the naked ladies in the water giving birth. It is one thing to watch your wife birth your child, and it is a whole different experience watching other women go through the miracle of birth.
And a miracle it is, indeed. It is also a business. Those things are both true of birth in America.
I love learning about business of any form. I always liken business to an organism that grows and adjusts over time, learning to adapt to the changing climate. Learning about the business of hospital birth in the United States had me nodding my head. I agree that our litigous society adds unnecessary cost and some unnecessary interventions to the birth process, but I also understand doctors' needs to protect themselves. It is an unfortunate side-effect of living in a first-world country. Many OBs are going out of practice simply because malpractice insurance is so amazingly expensive. So, that said...I agree with the film that something needs to change. The process needs to be evaluated, and the best outcome for the individual needs to be constantly sought.
I also completely agree that hospitals are looking to turn over beds, etc. Because, that is how money is made. That is capitalism. That is part of the machine and ideology that you enjoy in a lot of other parts of your life.
My qualm with the film is in the "touchy feely" anecdotal part of the film. Of course, this is a film--and I understand film technique. However, I am not going to make the choice of how my baby is born based on the emotional response produced by a biased film. Especially not when I'm pregnant...and hormonal...and admittedly half-crazy. :)
Part of my response to the actual birthing parts of the film is my own personal bent. I am not an overly touchy person, I like my privacy, and I didn't even want "positive reinforcement" from Husband while in pain, let alone another woman. So, I was not drawn to that experience in the film.
Here's what I would love to see in the United States. This is the non-professional opinion of a pregnant momma. I would love to see "normal" and "uncomplicated" births attended by midwives in a hospital setting. It would be lovely if midwives had autonomy in the hospital setting and were not overly burdened by "hospital policies". Yes, I know that is wishful thinking. There is a lot of nuance in the legalities, the licensing, etc. wrapped up in the business of birth...even varying from state to state.
However, I do not believe that the natural swing from "over-medicalized" birth is to birth at home. If you want to do that, go for it! However, I would like to benefit from the advances in medicine, pain-control, and emergency management should the need arise. I think we can benefit from the knowledge and techniques of midwifery without having to sacrifice the safety of a hospital. Of course, the right to do so is not open in every state...and that is something to truly fight against.
I think that it would be beautiful if, in America the land of the free, women were free to make (with their medical professionals) the best decisions for their family.