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A Mother's Letter to Illinois Gov Edgar

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

Dear Governor Edgar,

15 months ago I gave birth to my son at home, attended by a midwife. I transferred care to my midwife from a local OB because I was not receiving an acceptable level of care. I was kept waiting for literally hours in my OB's waiting room, after which I would be seen for perhaps 5 minutes of rushed questions and a quick check of the baby's heart rate, my blood pressure, my urine. I felt like I was being processed in a baby-maker factory. The book my OB gave me to read was filled with every possible complication of pregnancy and delivery, with very little else. It read like an OB textbook on medical emergencies. When my OB asked me if I had any questions, her hand was always on the doorknob. I was always aware that she was a very busy woman and had little or no time to spend with me.

When I switched care to my midwife, she spent a minimum of 30 minutes with me at every visit. I never waited in her waiting room. We talked about nutrition, about exercise, about stress levels. We talked about my worries and joys about pregnancy, labor and delivery. We talked about the kind of birth experience my husband and I hoped to have. I never had a conversation like this with my OB. My midwife gave me things to read about nutrition, about what to expect in each trimester, about stretching, exercising and relaxing. My midwife treated me like a healthy, intelligent woman who was expecting a baby---not like a medical emergency about to happen. She always asked my permission before she touched me. She always discussed the various tests with me before she sent me to a lab to have them done. She discussed the pros and cons of everything with me. She was respectful, thoughtful, knowledgeable, professional.

I would never choose to give birth with an OB unless I had a complication that would warrant an OB. Obstetrics is not about treating normal pregnancies and deliveries, it's about treating problems and complications. Most women have pregnancies that are normal, uneventful and require no medical intervention. Midwives are trained to recognize symptoms that fall outside the range of a normal pregnancy and know when it is time to refer a woman to an OB. The world needs both OBs and midwives.

The battle to keep midwifery legal is not about whether midwifery is a safe option for pregnant women. It's about economics. It's about hospitals and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology wanting to protect the monopoly they have in a very lucrative business. The midwifery care I received for my son's birth cost $2600, which included all prenatal visits, delivery and 2 post partum visits. The estimate that my local hospital gave me for a normal vaginal delivery and a 24-hour stay was $6000. That did not include an epidural, or narcotics, fetal monitoring or anything else. It also did not include my OB's fee, which was also $2600. I saved my insurance company thousands of dollars by giving birth at home with a midwife. Birthing is a big business for OBs and hospitals and they would like to keep it that way. Make no mistake: that's what this legal battle is about.

If you look at the cases against midwives they are, by and large, instigated by state authorities and by OBs under the guise of "protecting women". But international maternal and infant mortality rates prove that this is ridiculous. Worldwide, in those countries where midwives handle the majority of normal pregnancies and births, maternal and infant mortality rates are lower than they are in the United States.

I live in California where the importance of the availability of midwifery care is recognized. Don't be left behind on this issue, don't paint a portrait of Illinois as a state where misinformation writes the laws and the special interests of the medical lobby rules. This issue is important to families everywhere.

The case against midwives in Illinois is nothing more than a witch hunt. I urge you to stop the prosecution of midwives, to maintain the rights of families to choose where and with whom they give birth and to acknowledge the importance of midwifery care.

This Web page is referenced from other pages containing related information about Parents Share Information About Homebirth, Homebirth Safety/Advocacy, and Legal Aspects of Midwifery


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