Is obesity and increased age the main factor in the increased maternal death rate, or something else?

A recent article out of the UK cited obesity and increased age as the two main culprits for the doubling of maternal death rates during labor. While, those factors most assuredly would compound the issue, looking down further to the comments area beneath the article sheds a different light on the topic. This article infuriated women who think the issue has less to do with these factors and more to do with a decreasing level of care.

In a comment, Philomena Rhodes of Liverpool, England wrote,I’m so glad I had my kids in the 60s when midwives knew their stuff and I could have them at home. I feel sorry for women today in these production line hospitals with some staff who can barely speak the language. There have always been an element in the so called ‘care’ sector who don’t know the meaning of the word, but we didn’t see so much of it then.”

This production-line view of the modern birthing system is shared by an ever growing number of women, apparently for good reason.

In truth, after the photos and the ads in the UK article, hidden at the very end of the article, we get the actual quote from Professor Cathy Warwick, who is the general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives. Professor Warwick said, “Two factors are combining: maternity services are under pressure from a steadily rising birth rate while dealing with far more women with complex pregnancies.”

Then, at the very end, it explained that the Royal College of Midwives estimated that in the UK, an estimated 5000 more midwives were needed to handle the increased rate of births.

In a different study in Canada, we learned that in a normal pregnancy, midwife assisted home births were the safest way to deliver a baby. Midwife assisted homebirths resulted in less maternal and fetal deaths and an overall more positive outcome for the newborns.

Obviously, there are lots of factors to consider regarding increased maternal death rates. I think though, that articles like the one out of the UK are indicative of a bigger problem.  Why can’t all of us in progressive nations just admit, that pregnancy is not a disease to be treated, but a natural, healthy life event? Then, and only then, if a disease or health issue does arise, we can  be thankful for the interventions modern medicine has to offer us.

Do you believe the Canadian study that says the safest place to birth is, under normal circumstances, at home with a midwife assisting?


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