Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | March 20, 2009

The “Business” of Being Born?

This article had been circulating in emails, so I don’t know the original author, but I found it fascinating.  Some of these statements had just seemed logical to me before, but seeing it in print, along with some documentation made them really hit home.  (And no, I hope I don’t fall into the trap that I must have statistical “proof” for everything instead of just using common sense.)  Anyway, this topic is near and dear to my heart at this wonderful season in my life.  I thought it could be thought provoking to others, as well.


Each year, the U.S. spends over $50 billion dollars on childbirth. This is more than any other nation in the world. (This number does not include babies in the NICU or readmissions during the first month.)

Birthing is the largest source of income for American hospitals.

The U.S. ranks 37th in the world for the quality of its health care.

Over HALF of all hospital admissions in America are for maternity.

Hospitals are NOT the safest place to have a baby. 25 infectious strains exist that are resistant to ALL known antibiotics. These are found primarily in hospitals.

75 years of routine hospital birth have produced NO studies to show it is safer than having a baby at home with a skilled birth attendant.

Both homebirth and birth centers have been scientifically proven to be as safe or safer than hospitals with a skilled labor attendant (i.e. midwives, not doctors).

The more technology used in childbirth, the more dangerous it becomes.

The larger the hospital, the greater the risks to both mother and baby.

Of the 4.3 million babies born annually in the U.S., a mere 5% represent natural childbirth.

America has the 32nd highest infant mortality rate in the entire world.

The U.S.A. has the 14th highest maternal mortality ratio among developed nations.

Over 90% of all infants in the U.S. are born with drugs (e.g. narcotics from epidurals, pitocin, acetaminophen, etc) in their systems. NONE of these drugs have been tested for safe use in infants.

A 24-hour hospital stay, uncomplicated delivery in the U.S.A. costs anywhere from $8,000-10,000. This cost DOUBLES for a c-section.

ALL families in the U.S. are charged newborn nursery charges, even if the baby NEVER leaves the mother’s room. This “routine” charge amounts to about $1.3 billion dollars annually, for services that are NOT rendered. (I’m not quite sure why this doesn’t constitute insurance fraud – billing for services not rendered.)

Every year, 1 million, or about 20%, full-term, healthy infants are sent to the NICU for “observation” for an average stay of 3 days, totaling a whopping $6,000.

For newborns suspected to have serious medical conditions, the same NICU stay totals $20,000.

1 in 3 American women has an episiotomy. Episiotomies are medically indicated for less than 10% of all women. Over 1 million unnecessary episiotomies are performed annually in the U.S.

1 in 5 births in the U.S.A. are induced. 44% of women surveyed in 2002 reported their doctor wanted to induce. Only 16% reported medically-indicated reasons.

American women who elect epidurals are FOUR times as likely to have cesarean sections.

31.1% of American babies (more than 1 in 3) in 2006 were delivered by cesarean section. The World Health Organization recommends a c-section rate of less than 10-15% as acceptable.

U.S. hospital policies for routine tests, practices, policies and procedures are based on financial considerations, which include malpractice insurance costs. They are not based on evidence, research, or appropriateness of care.

I truly hope you found these statistics disturbing. If they don’t speak to the medicalization of childbirth in this country, I don’t know what does.
slapping bb
The true horror comes in the fact that these views are being exported across the world. As the U.S. is such a powerhouse of marketing, more impressionable regions are adapting to these customs, despite the overwhelming evidence that the U.S. approach to childbirth IS SERIOUSLY FLAWED!

American obstetricians are taught to view birth as “a disaster waiting to happen.” The average delivery in the U.S. is neither natural nor healthy. We have embraced a cascading system of successively more intense, unneeded interventions termed “active management” or the “standard of care”.

So what do we do? How can we change the system?

We as a country need to reach beyond our own boundaries to embrace an effective model of maternity care. We, as women, mothers, and families, must educate ourselves as to the true process of labor and childbirth.

We must regain our faith in our bodies’ perfect ability to have a baby. We must look at what the research is already telling us – that nature has it right!

In short, we must take back our birthing!

And if you’re still not convinced, check these out:

Deneux-Tharaux D, Berg C, Bouvier-Colle MH, Gissler M, Harper M,
Nannini A, Alexander S, Wildman K, Breart G, Buekens P. Underreporting of
Pregnancy-Related Mortality in the United States and Europe. Obstet
Gynecol 2005;106:684-92.

Hartmann K, Viswanathan M, Palmieri R, Gartlehner G, Thorp J, Lohr KN
(2005). “Outcomes of routine episiotomy: a systematic review”. JAMA 293
(17): 2141–8. doi:10.1001/jama.293.17.2141. PMID 15870418.

(2006) “ACOG Practice Bulletin. Episiotomy. Clinical Management
Guidelines for Obstetrician-Gynecologists. Number 71, April 2006″. Obstet
Gynecol 107 (4): 957–62. PMID 16582142.

Macfarlane A, McCandlish R, Campbell R.
Choosing between home and hospital delivery. There is no evidence that
hospital is the safest place to give birth.
British Medical Journal. 2000 Mar 18;320(7237):798.

Home versus hospital birth.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000;(2)

The cost-effectiveness of home birth.
Journal of Nurse-Midwifery. 44(1):30-5, 1999 Jan-Feb.

Peck P. Preinduction cervical ripening significantly increases risk of
cesarean. Medscape Medical News, 2003

Goer H. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. New York:
Perigee Books, 1999, p 228-9.

Fullerton JT and Severino R. In-hospital care for low-risk childbirth:
comparison with results from the NationalBirth Center Study. J Nurse
Midwifery 1992;37(5):331-340.

A little sobering, huh?



  1. Birthing at HOME…the best place!!!

  2. Thank you SO, SO much for posting this! I almost cried when I read it. My husband and I have been praying and researching a home birth for our 4th child due in September. This just really helped to confirm a lot of what I had already been feeling! Thank you so much!

  3. Wonderful Article , I found that hospital births are horrible , and was by all right assaulted at both. It is because of rash descions at my last birth that I have only TWO children and will never have more.

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