Born in the USA: How A Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed To Put Women and Children First, is a book that was authored by Dr. Marsden Wagner. The book underscores the error in thinking that the obstetrics and gynecology sector in the US has reached a level that can be considered safe for expectant women, the unborn children, laboring women, and newly born babies.
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Wagner highlights the mistakes that have been rampant in the birth industry and which have put the lives of expectant women, fetuses, and children at a high risk. He points out to the high number of caesarian deliveries and the growing number of infant fatalities to corroborate his claims that rather than creating a safer environment in the ob-gyn sector, the current trends are in fact becoming worse, resulting in an increase in maternal, fetal, and infant mortality.
Dr. Wagner, he himself being an ob-gyn and former director of Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization, points out that the numerous deaths are not coincidences, but are as a result of the use of wrong interventions. He puts forward several recommendations that can help reduce the health risks for pregnant mothers and their unborn babies.
Women should not opt for a c-section simply for convenience or for other non-emergency factors. He also asserts that a woman’s body is much more strong and resistant that present ob-gyn medical practitioners have made us to believe, particularly when it pertains to vaginal birth.
…the total number of pregnancies in which powerful and dangerous drugs are used is 60 percent, or nearly two-thirds of all births. It is ridiculous to think that two-thirds of American women have such lousy uteruses that they must be whipped into shape with drugs in order to have babies (Wagner 90).
Dr. Wagner’s book only supports a notion I had long held regarding caesarian deliveries. Having seen or heard of close to five fatal instances arising from this type of delivery, I had conceived a view that c-section delivery was not really as safe as medics had made us believe and instead, it put at risk the life of both the mother and the unborn baby.
In fact, a few months ago, my niece who was due to have her first delivery changed her mind on caesarian delivery when I told her of the dangers of this type of delivery. She had a safe normal delivery and still thanks me to this day. The evidence presented by the author is simply overwhelming and points to a health system in dire need of reforms, particularly a shift away from caesarian births. He writes:
Beyond the immediate risks to her health and the health of her baby, when a woman chooses c-section, she decreases the chance that she will be able to get pregnant again and increases the chance that if she does get pregnant, the pregnancy will occur outside the uterus, a situation that never results in a live baby and is life-threatening to the woman. Furthermore, the risk of having an unexplained stillbirth doubles when a woman has had a previous c-section (Wagner 44).
The mere fact that the author of the book is a man presents a twist to the evidence presented. Had the author been a woman, perhaps there could have been a few voices of opposition regarding the contents of the book. Indeed, it would have seemed that the author is biased and is only bent on pushing for reforms that will favor women.
However, it is so great to see that the work was done by a well-qualified maternal child health and an expert in the topics of pregnancy and childbirth. The author pushes for women’s choices in childbirth and uncovers numerous misconceptions that have been implanted on women by American obstetricians.
From the book, it is evident that some physicians do not tell the absolute truth to their patients, especially pregnant women. I have many at times heard of physicians who do not use informed consent and plainly lie to their patients. It very infuriating to see women accept physicians’ recommendations without seeking a second opinion, or due to the lack of adequate knowledge on matters pertaining to labor and childbirth.
These decisions have sometimes resulted into near-fatal or fatal situations. Going through this book, one cannot just choose to ignore its contents. The information presented therein will significantly affect the procedure of labor I will take. The use of c-section is definitely out of question unless it is a matter of emergency, even then, I will seek a second or third advice before opting for this method.
The use of labor-inducing drugs such as Cytotec and Pitocin is also out of question. All women must ask an ob-gyn what they use to induce births in case such a process is required, and also seek advice on the other alternatives present. These chemicals can cause uterine rapture resulting into maternal and fetal deaths. A natural birth is the best form of delivery as it poses very few risks, if any.
Wagner, Marsden. Born in the USA: How A Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed To Put Women and Children First, CA: University of California, 2006. Print.