If you are a mom, hope to be a mom, or love a mom, the information in “The Scary Truth about Childbirth” in the January/February 2017 issue of Mother Jones magazine is important. Those who know problems can happen can take steps to avoid the worst.
Childbirth can be fatal. At 37, my healthy mother died in labor – in a hospital – in the United States. I was 9, my sister 7; we had our new brother – but no mom. My mom’s doctor told my dad that she had hemorrhaged to death – “a very rare occurrence.”
Even today, maternal mortality in the U.S. is disgustingly high. A 2016 article in Time notes, “A 2015 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out that the U.S. has a higher maternal mortality rate than Iran, Libya and Turkey. The WHO determined that half of the U.S. deaths were preventable [my emphasis. No one in that hospital, for instance, was paying attention to my mom as she bled to death] . . .
The United Nations set a goal to reduce the global maternal mortality rate by 75% between 1990 and 2015, and while most nations succeeded in lowering that number, the U.S. has experienced an uptick in recent years. A report published in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that from 2000 to 2014, the maternal mortality rate for 48 states and Washington, D.C. increased 27% from close to 19 deaths per 100,000 live births to close to 24 deaths per 100,000 live births. In Texas, the rate doubled between 2010 to 2012.” [A likely reason for that upswing in deaths is that Texas has closed almost all its Planned Parenthood clinics – which give birth control, family planning information, treat medical issues, and do legal abortions; leaving few or no low-cost medical alternatives for the poor in Texas].
Even if the mom and child make it through the birth, “The Scary Truth About Childbirth” highlights problems and injuries that happen during labor but are often not recognized.
Almost no one talks about the possibilities of incontinence or prolapse or severe pain or . . . (and this includes most doctors – who don’t check for possible injuries). A woman may not know until 20, 30, 40, 50 years later that she has a problem.
For one woman I know who had two children, her pelvis bones were broken each time because of the intense pressure during childbirth. What was wrong with her doctor to let her go through two labors like that? Obviously the doctor didn’t know what to do, and my friend has had many issues as a result. Perhaps if she had known (or her doctor was more aware and competent), my friend could have long ago taken steps to improve her situation – or at least not had to repeat the ordeal during the birth of her second child.
I also know three women who have had the surgery for incontinence. This is a condition that most women won’t talk about, and maybe the fact that I know of these three (none in my opinion “successful” operations) reflects that people are more likely to complain when something goes wrong than to tell that they have had a successful procedure for an embarrassing condition. It must work for some, but of those examples I know, one woman has had the operation three times (at a current cost of $28,000 each time, so you better be rich enough to have good medical insurance)! The second says she will never be able to have intercourse again because of the misplacement of the mesh insert, and the third, a Maui woman who was touted as having a “successful” operation and had been an avid hiker says that she will never again be able to hike Haleakala, our Maui volcano, a long and a bit challenging adventure.
Please read and share “The Scary Truth About Childbirth” by Kiera Butler, a well-researched and disturbing Mother Jones article – with your friends, your doctor, with every woman you know. If you are mom, find a doctor who takes these problems seriously. If your gynecologist doesn’t check for these rather common issues, your future quality of life may very well be impacted. Also do Pilates and yoga that will strengthen your pelvic floor.
Be aware. What you don’t know can hurt you.
Please read: “The Scary Truth About Childbirth”
In a related posting several years ago, I shared the Atlantic Monthly article, “How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?”
That article focuses on the faulty information that fertility rates drop dramatically after a woman is 35. That idea, says the author, is based partially on a study of French women from the years 1670 through 1830 — before electric lights, antibiotics, or fertility treatments.
Both articles have information we should know. Be healthy; be informed; take good care of yourself.
And my friend Chris sent me the link to “After Texas Stopped Funding . . .” – an LA Times article: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-planned-parenthood-texas-births-20160203-story.html
If you can’t afford birth control, you probably can’t afford a child. If you don’t want to use birth control, don’t use it. If you are against abortion, don’t have one. Let others decide what’s best for themselves. Pregnancy has serious consequences.
Wishing you and all you love health and happiness. Aloha, Renée