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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,279
    Did anyone watch the documentary "Babies?" It came out around two years ago, and it followed four families through the birth and first year of their baby's life. One family was from a nomadic tribe in Namibia, the Himba, and another was a very crunchy family from San Francisco.

    The documentary's website features extensive interviews with each of the parents from the film. The Namibian mother's story was very interesting: when asked why she agreed to participate in the film, which represented an enormous intrusion in her way of life [the subjects weren't paid], she said it was because the documentary team agreed to build a medical clinic in her village, so the women could have a trained birth attendant-- maybe even a doctor-- and no longer have to give birth in their huts and lose babies.

    The San Francisco mother wrote that she was so pleased to have a natural, drug-free homebirth attended only by an intervention-free lay midwife. Unfortunately her baby had some degree of oxygen deprivation and had to be rushed by ambulance to a local children's hospital, where she spent a few days in the NICU.

    Could there be a starker contrast?

    Homebirth in the US is almost exclusively the purvey of relatively well-educated, relatively affluent white women. They often cite birth practices in dirt-poor countries as a shining example of how things should be (after all the c-section rate is less than 5%!) and claim some kind of sisterhood with the world's poorest and most disenfranchised women. I personally feel this trivializes the struggle and pain of the mothers in these countries. Having helped deliver babies in a few African countries, in Haiti and in Nepal I cannot emphasize enough that these are hardly birth practices the mother is choosing. If she had the option of a clean, sterile hospital, a trained attendant, pain-eradicating medications, neonatal resuscitation, antibiotics, blood transfusion, surgical birth, etc they would absolutely take it.
    Blade, MD

    XY: Antoine Raphael (3.1.2012)
    XX: Cassia Viviane Noor (11.30.2013)

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