Pregnancy is not an illness, as the medical model in this country and many other countries would want you to believe. There are rare conditions that can be caused by pregnancy, or certain conditions that may warrant monitoring… but carrying a baby in your body is not a disease.
There are a few reasons why the medical model treats pregnancy and childbirth as a diagnosis, illness, and disease. One is the way obstetricians are trained in this country. Very few medical doctors delivering babies are familiar with low-cost, low-tech pregnancies and birth. All obstetrical doctors are trained to perform surgeries and few attend normal, natural vaginal births. Practices of using hand held fetal dopplers, or other low-tech monitoring equipment is all but lost on the newer trained physicians. Doctors, simply put, are trained to look for a disaster around every corner. Another reason is the high cost of practicing obstetrics. Ultrasounds, malpractice insurance, amniocentesis, lab work, gestational diabetes screening, and all the machines that go beep come at a high price.
According to a graph put together by Childbirth Connection, the difference between a vaginal birth at a freestanding birth center and a cesarean birth with complications is an astounding $14,500 — give or take a few dollars. Variables such as vaginal birth in a hospital fall somewhere in the middle of the charges. These results were published for the years 2003-2005 and do not include additional charges for anesthesia and newborn care performed in a hospital, or maternity provider charges during pregnancy. You can view the graph at the following link:
SIX out of the TEN most common hospital procedures were hospital related in 2007.
Cesarean Sections were the most common operating room procedure in the country in 2007
Pregnancy and childbirth are big business for hospitals and doctors. With zero incentive on the part of the medical model to reduce the alarming increase in technology, intervention, and surgical birth, things will not change unless consumers (you) insist on change. Obstetricians are not held accountable for performing unnecessary inductions and cesareans or over-utilizing expensive technology; in fact, they can and will use the medical model of pregnancy and birth are a diagnosis and illness waiting to be treated.
As a consumer, let your voice be heard. Know which options are available to you. Consider a home birth midwife or a freestanding birth center. Understand informed consent. Ask questions. Research. Educate yourself. It’s your body, your birth, your baby.