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Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
A scary new study suggests the high number of cesarean sections may have more to do with doctors’ greed than the patient’s need. According to a story by NPR, “about 1 in 3 babies born are now delivered via C-section, compared to 1 in 5 in 1996. During the same time period, the annual medical costs of childbirth in the U.S. have grown by $3 billion annually.” That’s worth repeating: an increase of $3 billion—that’s with a “B”!
In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists found that in many cases, doctors are paid hundreds more for performing a C-section over a vaginal delivery, and hospitals can be paid up to thousands more.
Health care economists Erin Johnson and M. Marit Rehavi hypothesized that OBs might be less likely to perform C-sections for financial incentives if the patients had significant knowledge about childbirth and its risk factors. So they looked at how many doctors had C-sections while giving birth to their own kids as opposed to non-doctors—who would likely know much less about whether a C-section was the right birth method for them.
The findings were that in cases where financial incentives were involved, pregnant doctors are about 10 percent less likely to get C-sections than their non medically-trained counter parts, which points to the fact that when armed with knowledge about whether a cesarean section is really necessary, women are likely to push back if they think it is more of a doctor’s elective surgery.
In situations when vaginal delivery is first tried, and for whatever reason doesn’t go as planned, women without a medical degree are more likely to have cesareans—which makes sense because during that time all you hear is “there is a problem,” and the rest of your mind shuts down. You of course trust your doctor and presume he or she knows a hell of a lot more than you do in this situation, so in most cases you are going to do exactly what they say.
Interestingly, in instances where doctors were paid flat rates whether they did a vaginal birth or surgical birth (so there were no benefits to the doc for performing a c-section), pregnant physicians actually had more C-sections than non-doctors, which could mean that when there aren’t financial incentives doctors are less likely to give women c-sections (often a longer and more difficult procedure) even when they need them.
Neither the study nor I are saying that all doctors are evil or that they would all do an unnecessary surgery just for the extra bucks. But the reality is that it does happen, whether subconsciously or not. So the best thing you can do for your and your baby’s health is to read up as much as you possibly can about births and emergency procedures, or even hire an impartial doula or midwife if you can afford it (many insurance companies don’t pay for them), so if and when you are put in that situation you can make the most informed decision possible.
TELL US: Do you believe doctors would be more likely to perform a cesarean section because of the bigger paycheck? Do you suspect your doctor steered you into having one?
Image of doctor courtesy of Shutterstock.
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birth, C-section, Cesarean Section, childbirth, Doula, Labor, Midwife, pregnancy, pregnant, Vaginal Delivery | Categories:
Healthy Pregnancy, Must Read
Monday, July 22nd, 2013
The Great Kate Wait is almost over! That’s right—Kate Middleton is in labor. After photographers and Royal Watchers have been on high alert since Kate Middleton’s rumored due date of July 13, and talk of needing to induce her started swirling, The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to the private Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital around 6 am today in west London. Already in early labor, she and hubby Prince William were escorted through the back door to their exclusive room. Kate’s labor is said to be progressing normally (whatever that means since every pregnancy is so different!).
I’m sure no matter how many labor classes she and Will have taken, Kate is still nervous, anxious, exhausted, and completely excited. I know I was. My water broke at 4 am, and I arrived at the hospital around the same time as Kate. My doula told me not to rush to get to the hospital, but to take my time and take care of myself.
As crazy as it sounds, I freshened up and got dressed as my husband made us eggs and bacon for breakfast. How I could eat when I was so freaked out, I’ll never know! But my doula advised that labor could take many, many hours and once admitted to the hospital they don’t let you eat anything but white liquids. So I hope Kate had a full English Breakfast. Otherwise, she’s probably starving right about now!
Delivery rooms are so sterile, so I also hope that the royal team has made it comfy for Kate, packing her favorite pillow, like I did. It made a world of difference for me. According to E!, Kate is said to have planned a labor soundtrack of Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris and Of Monsters and Men tunes. I highly recommend letting your hubby play iPod DJ, ladies. It gives them something to do to make them feel useful, and the music really took my mind off of the pain. My soundtrack included Kanye West’s “Stonger” and Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started”. I wanted music that would pump me up (Think: energizing gym mix). But some women prefer a relaxed soundtrack to keep them calm. My husband prepared both just in case, but the party mix won out.
While I probably would have crumbled under such public scrutiny of my pregnancy, Kate has gone through her entire pregnancy with such grace. She made it look so easy! The good news for Kate is that the hard part (all that pushing!) is almost over for her, and she’ll soon be introduced to her precious baby, then the fun really begins. Congrats Kate and Will—you are going to love parenthood!
While you wait for the royal baby to arrive, take a look back at Kate’s pregnancy!
TELL US: Are you as excited about Kate’s birth as you are your own?
Image of the Lindo Wing, where Kate Middleton is in Labor, courtesy of BasPhoto / Shutterstock.com
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birth, celebrities, childbirth, delivery room, Doula, Duchess of Cambridge, Duke of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, Kate Middleton Labor, Labor, pregnancy, pregnant, Pregnant Kate Middleton, Prince William | Categories:
Who Is Pregnant
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
No wonder Kate Middleton plans to have her mom in the delivery room with her and Prince William—not only will Carole Middleton be a great support system, but she’s also a trained midwife! Kate won’t be following the royal tradition of having a baby nurse, either. Instead, the Duchess of Cambridge plans to stay in Berkshire, England, with her parents for at least six weeks after her birth, where she’ll have her mom teach her the feeding, bathing, and diaper-changing ropes.
While midwives are routinely used in the UK (and can account for up to 80 percent of the births in most parts of Europe), in the United States obstetricians are still the go-to for delivering babies. But midwives are on the rise in the US, reaching an all-time high, now delivering 12.1 percent of all vaginal births (doctors are always called in to do Cesarean sections). New Mexico has the highest rate in the US with midwives delivering 24 percent of women’s births in the state.
So what is a midwife, anyway? Someone who approaches birth more from a woman’s perspective than most physicians do, giving both emotional and physical support. Starting in the prenatal stages, they often take more of a holistic approach and put an emphasis on diet and exercise to prepare your body for having a baby.
During labor, they tend to spend more time in the delivery room than most OBs (who are usually nowhere to be found till you’re ready to push), and encourage women to try to give birth naturally, using alternative methods of dealing with the pain, including having women walk around, using an exercise ball as a birthing ball, trying different pushing positions to see what’s most comfortable, and applying warm compresses to the vaginal area to naturally stretch the skin to help prevent tears.
Where I live in New York City, I feel midwives are really making a comeback. I’ve known women who have opted to have a midwife for home and hospital births (I always thought you had to have a home birth with midwives—I was wrong!). I took the middle ground and had my OB deliver my baby, but had a doula present for the emotional support. After learning more about midwives, I’m not sure why more women don’t use them. Studies show that moms who use midwives have increased access to prenatal care, lower rates of cesarean births and obstetric interventions (like inducing labor), and babies with higher birth weights.
A word of warning, though: Midwives should really only be used in low-risk pregnancies with no complications, and midwives can have varying credentials from Certified Nurse-Midwives all the way down to the lay midwife who has no license to practice, with lots of other levels of licenses in between. So make sure to do your homework before hiring one so you know exactly what skill level and training your midwife has received.
TELL US: Have you or would you use a midwife? Why or why not?
Image of Carole Middleton and Kate Middleton courtesy of Shutterstock.
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celebrities, delivery, Doula, Kate Middleton, Labor, Midwife, Midwifery, Midwives, pregnancy, pregnant, Pregnant Kate Middleton | Categories:
Healthy Pregnancy, Who Is Pregnant