Saturday, August 22, 2009

Film: Reducing Infant Mortality

This free film, Reducing Infant Mortality addresses the impact that the medical model of care is having in the United States. We have top-notch interventions that save lives, but they are being overused, abused, and routinized with devastating effects. This film, as is well stated on the website, "...advocat[es] for a health care system in which it will be standard procedure for mothers and babies to thrive and not merely survive through birth and early life." The midwifery model of care (which the film states can be practiced by midwives and primary care physicians or nurse practitioners) is the lowest intervention route, thereby safer and more cost effective (not to mention more gentle and humanistic) for normal pregnancies. Saving the miraculous interventions for providing life-saving help when it is needed is common sense; yet in our country social constructs have created fear and stigma around viewing pregnancy and birth as normal life events. In our country, these life events are viewed as illnesses to be treated regardless of absence of any risk factors.

The film also addresses the higher infant mortality rates among black infants, with a focus on increasing accessibility to personalized prenatal care (such as the midwifery model of care) as one solution. Another solution, across the board, is promoting breastfeeding, which in intervention-laden births is often disrupted or unsuccessful.

The film makers hope that you will share this film...pass it on.

Reducing Infant Mortality from Debby Takikawa on Vimeo.

On a related note, I came across this article (through Facebook, of course). This is a story of a baby who was said, by the doctors, right after birth, that she would not survive. As her mother cuddled her to provide a loving space for this baby to die, the baby revived and survived. It is a beautiful story that demonstrates the importance of skin-to-skin contact (and kangaroo care) between a mother and her newborn.

I am not against hospital births or doctors; both have helped and saved several of my friends babies. My hope is that there is a paradigm shift in the approach to hospital birth care. A shift that reserves this care for those who truly need it, and with that a shift to preserving as much of the natural processes as possible throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.

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