Monday, August 3, 2009

Where's The Birth Plan?

Posted by Kim
Written by Jennifer Block, found on the RH Reality Check website
Published under: Leading Voices | Maternal Health

Obama "won't rest" until he's cut health care costs and improved quality?

Over here, Mr. President, says Jennie Joseph, a certified professional midwife who runs a birth center in Winter Garden, Florida. Midwives like Joseph provide what you could call "less-is-more care."

Compared to healthy women who get standard obstetric care and deliver on high-tech labor and delivery wards, women with low-risk pregnancies who get care with a midwife and deliver in birth centers or even in their own homes, benefit from a five-fold decrease in the chance of a cesarean delivery, more success with breastfeeding, and less likelihood that their baby will be born too early or end up in intensive care. And all of this for a fraction of the cost of the status quo.

A new economic analysis forecasts savings of $9.1 billion per year if 10 percent of women planned to deliver out of hospital with midwives. (Right now, just one percent do). If America is serious about reform, midwifery advocates are saying, "Hey, how about us?"

Childbirth, in fact, costs the United States more in hospital charges than any other health condition -- $86 billion in 2006, almost half paid for by taxpayers. This high price tag -- twice as high as what most European countries spend -- buys us one of the most medicalized maternity care systems in the industrialized world. Yet we have among the worst outcomes: high rates of preterm birth, infant mortality, and maternal mortality, with huge disparities by race.

To read the rest of this article visit Jennifer Block's Blog

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