Here’s hoping you all had at least one day of celebrating freedom of your own sort – would love to hear what you did with your fourth!
This week overfloweth with news – hard to dwindle down to favorites! Here are at least a few…
Midwife Mania? More U.S. Babies than Ever Are Delivered by Midwives – Bonnie Rochman at Time
“…In other developed nations, midwives are routinely tasked with bringing new life into the world. Not so in the U.S., where delivery is largely presided over by obstetricians. But a new study finds that midwives are getting busier, delivering 8.1% of the country’s babies in 2009 — a record high.
Slice the data differently and the proportion rises even further. Consider vaginal births only — midwives don’t do cesarean sections — and the figure rises to 12.1%, or about one of every eight deliveries, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“If this trend continues, it will bring us more in line with the rest of the world in giving midwives a central role in prenatal care and birth,” says study author Eugene Declercq, professor of community-health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. “Given that other countries have lower costs and better outcomes, it would be a positive thing for this country.”…”
The Gulf Between Doctors and Nurse Practitioners – Pauline Chen at The New York Times
“…For several years now, health care experts have been issuing warnings about an impending severe shortfall of primary care physicians. Policy makers have suggested that nurse practitioners, nurses who have completed graduate-level studies and up to 700 additional hours ofsupervised clinical work, could fill the gap.
Already, many of these advanced-practice nurses work as their patients’ principal provider. They make diagnoses, prescribe medications and order and perform diagnostic tests. And since they are reimbursed less than physicians, policy makers are quick to point out, increasing the number of nurse practitioners could lower health care costs.
If only it were that easy.
Three years ago, a national panel of experts recommended that nurses be able to practice “to the full extent of their education and training,” leading medical teams and practices, admitting patients to hospitals and being paid at the same rate as physicians for the same work. But physician organizations opposed many of the specific suggestions, citing a lack of data or well-designed studies to support the recommendations.…”
The Miseducation of Serena Williams (and the Rest of America) – Salamishah Tillet at The Nation
“…Rape culture is the complex set of attitudes, practices, and systems of power that naturalize and normalize rape and sexual violence in the United States. Because of the dominance of rape culture – in the courtroom and Congress, in the military and our middle schools – many Americans do not even have a working definition of rape and have Pavlovian response to rape victims.
After years of growing up in a rape culture, our knee-jerk responses are (1) to blame rape victims for their attack; and (2) to sympathize with the accused rapists.
According to Robert Eckstein, an expert in the prevention of violence against women at the University of New Hampshire, one reason for this reaction is: “We don’t want to believe that people who are our classmates, our teammates, and the people we socialize with are capable of this type of behavior.” Eckstein says, “People sympathize with them and are willing to give them a benefit of the doubt.”
Contrary to public perception, most assailants plan their sexual assaults by targeting and alienating vulnerable victims. One way of undoing our conditioned responses is by strategically shifting the blame away from the rape victim and emphasizing that role that we all can play, as bystanders, community members, and third party witnesses, in preventing sexual violence…”
The Gentle Cesarean: A New Option for Moms-to-Be – Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“…Now, doctors and nurses at the Center for Labor and Birth at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed new procedures to make the C-section more family-centered. Dr. William Camann, Director of Obstetric Anesthesiology, explained that the goal of the family-centered cesarean, or “gentle-C,” is to make the delivery as natural as possible.
For example, Dr. Camann realized that by using both clear and solid sterile drapes, obstetricians could switch the solid drape for the clear one just before delivery and allow mom to see her baby being born.
“We also allow mom a free arm and place the EKG leads on her back so that she is able to hold, interact, and provide skin-to-skin contact with her baby in the moments following the birth,” said Camann, who teamed up with BWH registered nurse Kathy Trainor, to make this option available to patients and their families….”
I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl – Laurie Penny at New Statesman
“Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else’s. As a kid growing up with books and films and stories instead of friends, that was always the narrative injustice that upset me more than anything else. I felt it sometimes like a sharp pain under the ribcage, the kind of chest pain that lasts for minutes and hours and might be nothing at all or might mean you’re slowly dying of something mundane and awful. It’s a feeling that hit when I understood how few girls got to go on adventures. I started reading science fiction and fantasy long before Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, before mainstream female leads very occasionally got more at the end of the story than together with the protagonist. Sure, there were tomboys and bad girls, but they were freaks and were usually killed off or married off quickly. Lady hobbits didn’t bring the ring to Mordor. They stayed at home in the shire.
Stories matter. Stories are how we make sense of the world, which doesn’t mean that those stories can’t be stupid and simplistic and full of lies. Stories can exaggerate and offend and they always, always matter. In Doug Rushkoff’s recent book Present Shock, he discusses the phenomenon of “narrative collapse”: the idea that in the years between 11 September 2001 and the financial crash of 2008, all of the old stories about God and Duty and Money and Family and America and The Destiny of the West finally disintegrated, leaving us with fewer sustaining fairytales to die for and even fewer to live for….”
Before I Forget: What Nobody Remembers About New Motherhood – Jody Peltason at The Atlantic
“…For me, and for many other women, being a new mother is hard. It can be hard in a million different ways: painful physical recovery from a difficult birth, breast-feeding problems, colic, tensions with your partner, sleep problems. It’s also just hard on its own, on top of and in between all these other challenges. As a friend of mine said, “I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know what ‘hard’ would feel like.” We thought it would be sitcom-style hard—not necessarily with a feel-good resolution at the end of every episode, but at least punctuated by those frequent moments of uplift indicating that, in spite of everything, life really is beautiful, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure it’s like that for some people, but for many of us, it’s not. For many of us, it’s not good hard, as in a “good hard workout”; it’s bad hard, as in, it sometimes feels like something bad is happening to you.
But does anyone really remember this? Idon’t. I only know it’s true because I remember saying it out loud, and because I wrote the previous paragraph almost three years ago, with Rosie sleeping at my side, in a typo-filled document titled “Before I Forget.” Since then, my body and mind have edited my memories of the newborn period into the parenting equivalent of a kung fu movie training montage. Fatigue, hormones, nostalgia, and hindsight have reshaped those long months into a series of wordless film clips, set to the inspiring music of the love I now feel for my daughter, spliced together to tell the story of how it all worked out in the end….”
Has Kate’s birth plan inspired a new kind of birth talk? – Milli Hill at BestDaily
“…Wouldn’t it be better if we could all talk about birth and motherhood in a positive way that acknowledges we’re doing our best to get to grips with bringing another human being into the world? Wouldn’t it be better if, no matter what kind of birth we had, we could say aloud “I need to talk to understand what just happened to me’, without being dismissed with, ‘That’s how birth is, so get over it.’ And wouldn’t it be so much better if women who’d experienced birth could share positively what might make the experience easier – so expectant mothers could have enough insight and confidence to stay on track for their own best birth experience? Don’t all mothers-in-waiting deserve so much more than scare stories to terrify them?…”
American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World – Elizabeth Rosenthal at The New York Times
“…From 2004 to 2010, the prices that insurers paid for childbirth — one of the most universal medical encounters — rose 49 percent for vaginal births and 41 percent for Caesarean sections in the United States, with average out-of-pocket costs rising fourfold, according to a recent report by Truven that was commissioned by three health care groups. The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866, the report found.
Women with insurance pay out of pocket an average of $3,400, according to a survey by Childbirth Connection, one of the groups behind the maternity costs report. Two decades ago, women typically paid nothing other than a small fee if they opted for a private hospital room or television…
Only in the United States is pregnancy generally billed item by item, a practice that has spiraled in the past decade, doctors say. No item is too small. Charges that 20 years ago were lumped together and covered under the general hospital fee are now broken out, leading to more bills and inflated costs. There are separate fees for the delivery room, the birthing tub and each night in a semiprivate hospital room, typically thousands of dollars. Even removing the placenta can be coded as a separate charge.
Each new test is a new source of revenue, from the hundreds of dollars billed for the simple blood typing required before each delivery to the $20 or so for the splash of gentian violet used as a disinfectant on the umbilical cord (Walgreens’ price per bottle: $2.59). Obstetricians, who used to do routine tests like ultrasounds in their office as part of their flat fee, now charge for the service or farm out such testing to radiologists, whose rates are far higher.
Add up the bills, and the total is startling. “We’ve created incentives that encourage more expensive care, rather than care that is good for the mother,” said Maureen Corry, the executive director of Childbirth Connection.
In almost all other developed countries, hospitals and doctors receive a flat fee for the care of an expectant mother, and while there are guidelines, women have a broad array of choices. “There are no bills, and a hospital doesn’t get paid for doing specific things,” said Charlotte Overgaard, an assistant professor of public health at Aalborg University in Denmark. “If a woman wants acupuncture, an epidural or birth in water, that’s what she’ll get.”…”
Camping for Feminism – Ginia Bellafante at The New York Times
“Although something called Feminist Camp, with this particular curriculum, would seem designed to cause Bill O’Reilly to take a fishing spear to his appendix, the enterprise hardly needs justification at a time when the Internet fuels fantasies of barbecuing women and eating them, when 11-hour filibusters are required to attempt to protect abortion access, when something as benign as the Women’s Equality Act cannot get passed in the liberal state of New York, despite broad popular support.
Most of the girls in the group were from in or around New York City (and not all were privileged: Soapbox offers scholarships toward the $1,000 tuition for those who can’t afford the camp). The experiences of misogyny and anti-choice rhetoric in some cases was intimate. One girl had to call 911 to report a stepfather who was abusing her mother. Another girl, who attended the Elisabeth Irwin High School here, had previously gone to an Anglican school in Australia, she said, where she had been subjected to a mural of fetuses on the wall.
What became clear in talking to the girls is that they seemed to feel alienated in their beliefs; a certain view has taken hold among teenagers that privileges gay rights over women’s rights. To advocate for gay marriage is a fashionable thing to do; people are more afraid to be homophobic than they are to be sexist. “I have friends who are very religious and they’re pro-gay,” Isbella Starvaggi, one of the campers, told me, “but not pro-choice.” The girls talked about the stigma they face if they remain sexually inactive and the inevitable shame they’d encounter if they became pregnant. And yet few of their friends are willing to understand these kinds of paradoxes in the context of gender disparity.
“When you bring up feminism, people are like, ‘We don’t need that anymore,’ ” Ms. Cook said of her classmates. Reality would obviously argue otherwise…”
Jim DeMint: Women want to be forced to have ultrasounds – Eric W. Dolan at The Raw Story
Video of the interview available at the link above.
“…“The more the ultrasounds have become part of the law, where a woman gets the opportunity to see that there’s a real child, it’s beginning to change minds, and I think that’s a good thing,” DeMint said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “It’s time that the 3,000 babies we lose every day have some people speaking up for them.”
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow pointed out that women weren’t given the opportunity to have an ultrasound, they were forced to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound by the state. She added that in many cases women were subjected to trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
“So it’s an invasive vaginal forced procedure that a woman cannot say no to by order of the state government,” Maddow continued. “And that is all right with you. I understand that. You feel that you’ve got an interest strong enough to override a woman’s desire to not have that happen to her that you can insist that it does as a legislator. But most American women I think are going to balk at that.”…”
5 Cool Things No One Ever Told You About Nighttime Breastfeeding – Breastfeed Chicago
“…2) Did anyone ever tell you that… in lactating women, prolactin production (prolactin is the milk-making hormone) follows a circadian rhythm? Studies have shown that breastfeeding women’s prolactin levels are significantly higher at night, particularly in the wee hours of the morning. Babies often want to nurse at night because quite simply, there’s more milk at night! (Source) Aren’t our babies smart??
3) Did anyone ever tell you that… babies are born with no established circadian rhythms? They can’t tell day from night, and they take several months to develop their own cycles. They also do not make their own melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) for much of their early life. But, guess what has plenty of melatonin in it? Your nighttime breastmilk! (Source) So, scientists actually think that melatonin-rich nighttime breastmilk helps babies develop their own circadian cycles and helps them eventually learn to sleep longer stretches at night…”
Pics from my latest Facebook and Twitter feeds – it’s been a busy week!