Again, my friend. In response to the NY Times article, “Mommy Wars: The Prequel: Ina May Gaskin and the Battle for at-Home Births“:
This headline? Really?
The comments show that EVERYONE is buying the “war” metaphor … BAHM [birth at home] vs. BIHM [birth in hospita] is the new divide? does no one realize we could demand better, less invasive care and better births IN a medicalized setting? I wish I could go somewhere that had a birthing center (no drugs available, staff trained in natural birth, etc) attached to the hospital. Why don’t we see more of those?
To this I add: “U.S. maternity death rate surprisingly high”
In order to truly address these long-term and seriously detrimental race-based maternal health disparities, we need to make room for innovation. Our current model is broken. It’s failing us. That model is one that is dominated by hospital birth (98 percent of all births in the United States happen in hospitals) and are attended by obstetricians likely using interventions. The place where that innovation is most desperately needed is Medicaid-funded maternity care. According to Amnesty International, “Medicaid pays for over 40 percent of births in the United States, and costs related to pregnancy and birth account for over one quarter of all hospital charges billed to Medicaid.”
There is evidence to back the claim that midwifery care could be the innovation we need to improve maternity care, especially for women of color. Jennie Joseph, a midwife in Orlando Florida who runs a birth center and maternal health clinic, says she’s almost eliminated the maternal health disparities typically seen in her low-income Black and Latina patients. Recent findings by the American College of Nurse-Midwives also showed improved outcomes with midwifery care.
[NB: more people than just cis women need pre-natal, labor and delivery, and post-partum care.]