Connect with mothers, not machines

The article "Baby girl born just outside hospital" in the May 3 Augusta Chronicle illustrates one of the reasons that the maternal mortality rate is rising in the United States: Doctors and hospital staff are spending more time connecting with machines than with their patients.

The article states that hospital staff hooked the mom up to equipment and checked her dilation. The numbers apparently told them that the mom was not going to give birth anytime soon. However, if hospital staff had paid attention to their patient rather than the numbers, they would have known birth was imminent.

The fact that the birthing mother "couldn't say much" indicates that she was fully involved in her contractions and fully consumed by childbirth. When the mother reaches this mental state, birth is imminent! The hospital staff neglected their patient when they failed to notice this.

In countries where midwives guide their patient through childbirth without using machines, they have much lower Cesarean section rates, and lower maternal and neonatal mortality rates. One reason is that they connect with their patients and not machines.

I urge women to find providers who recognize that childbirth is not a science. Rather, it is a natural function that varies between individuals and between pregnancies. Rare is the woman whose cervix dilates on a predicted curve. It is natural for labor to stall, particularly when the mom is settling into new surroundings at the hospital. Too few providers recognize this most basic fact of childbirth which often leads to an unnecessary Cesarean because of "failure to progress."

Groups such as the Augusta Birth Network or the International Cesarean Awareness Network in Augusta are here to help women learn how to improve their birth outcomes. Until we demand better care, and take the control out of the hands of machines and the staff who operate them, more mothers and babies will continue to die unnecessarily.

Andrea McPherson, Evans

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