Maternal health care isn't healthy | DC Hegdale | TEDxUniversityofTulsa

Maternal health care isn't healthy | DC Hegdale | TEDxUniversityofTulsa



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Childbirth is not an illness. So why is it sometimes treated like one? DC Hegdale makes the compelling case that our maternal health care system could be greatly improved if we took options like midwifery and doula training seriously as the valid, healthy means of assisting in pregnancy and childbirth they are meant to be. Over 20 years of studying childbirth led Ms. Hegdale to training as a Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Midwifery Assistant. Publishing a childbirth class workbook, and working as a Doula and Midwife led her to irresistible research questions, which required further education. After earning an Associate’s degree in Sociology and History as an Honors Graduate at Tulsa Community College, her research cravings are now being satisfied at the University of Tulsa. Topping that list is an investigation of pregnancy and birth across histories and cultures with the intent of contributing to improvement of US infant and maternal mortality rates. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

a few months after my first baby was born I became obsessed with a subject of childbirth put myself through doula and child childbirth educator training midwifery apprenticeships countless hours of self educating research and over 20 years since then as my kids were growing up they would say it's become embarrassingly easy for me to talk about reproduction childbirth is not an illness unhealthy things happen during pregnancy and birth but reading childbirth as an illness has made maternal health care unhealthy there are two perspectives to maternal care there's midwifery and there's obstetrics with it hadn't been referee there's a concept that some like to call the mama baby unit where the mom and the baby are an inseparable unit when you treat one you impact the other in obstetrics mom and baby are considered two separate medical individuals labor is considered a timetable with predictable results and when labor starts to become more unpredictable medical intervention is applied in midwifery patients is not just a virtue it's a medical necessity midwifery understands that rushing labor actually can lead to causing a complication but in obstetrics complications are not as much of a concern because they have a whole facility full of health care professionals medical treatments their whole job is to save lives but in midwifery a key focus is in preventing problems before they become complications if you keep mama baby healthy you keep mom and baby healthy no matter how unpredictable labor becomes in the 1960s college graduate ina may Gaskin traveled with her husband on his lecture tour westward from California months later on a growing bus Caravan they landed in a property in summer town Tennessee they named the farm along the way babies were born in turn that birthed the farm midwifery center unlike hospitals the center has been very open with their statistics between 1970 and 2010 over 2,800 births ninety-five percent of those women gave birth safely without a hospital with a two percent c-section rate and vaginal birth after c-section called B Bex successfully completed at 96% not a single mom died stellar statistics this kind of model of maternal care is used extensively in various places throughout Europe since the majority of births are healthy midwives can easily manage healthy birth they're experts at it complicated cases are managed by obstetricians often in a hospital but in the United States the relationship between midwifery and obstetrics has not been a healthy relationship there has been conflict almost from the beginning midwifery practice and education has been going on for many many hundreds of years obstetrics in the United States is a relatively comparatively new field starting about 200 years ago schools had to be started by upper-class benefactors students were primarily white males in degree programs lasting only two years consisting only of books and practicing on mannequins and cadavers meanwhile midwives spent years in hands-on apprenticeship often with an aunt or a grandmother doctors ploughed on as they became established they began to convince politicians to regulate or restrict midwifery or home birth a practice that still exists today by the turn of the 20th century doctors and their nurses took advantage of the anti-immigrant sentiment of the time using a print ad campaign in magazines and newspapers displaying midwives as unsanitary and and uneducated they have their own complications in the 1980's the US society had become a very invested in lawsuits medical malpractice insurance companies became an industry obstetricians were forced to participate in these insurance policies as a legal protection against lawsuits when outcomes didn't go well but the results did not turn out well sources such as the CDC w-h-o and World Bank ranked the United States as worst in maternal mortality ratios among developed countries and some underdeveloped countries this model accelerating starting in the 2000s mimics a pattern of a decrease in v-max and an increase in c-section also mimics the increase of the medication use of pitocin cytotec and cervidil this is not the results that obstetrics intended there is so much we can and should do there are plenty of options thanks to the advent of the internet a midwife is a search engine away you can find a midwife in just about every major city in the United States there might even be some here midwives are not the only option midwives do home birth they do birth centers there's two here in Tulsa that I know of there are midwives that work in hospitals but there's also birth doulas postpartum dualists sibling doulas grief dual is if a mom experiences a pregnancy loss there's also prenatal yoga classes there's samples and questionnaires to help you come up with a birth plan the options are available we just have to investigate them we need to spend some time just like we do when we buy a new house a new car upgrade on our new cell phone our health care is that important our current health care especially as women will drive the rest of our life and it will drive the life of the future generation to come it is dangerous for us to keep maternal health care silenced as a footnote in u.s. conversation we are not too civilized to talk about the most common health event in human life thank you

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