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Birth Rights

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Thanks for reviewing Pushed by Jennifer Block [June 29]. I hope it isn't just more preaching to the converted.

Since giving birth at home in October 2006, I am almost daily amazed by how many women--otherwise savvy, even feminist women--unquestioningly turn over their pregnancies and births to the "Obstetric-Industrial Complex," assuming their best interests will be kept at heart. Time and liability are the true interests, so that natural birth, even in the so-called "alternative birthing centers," has become something that women, their partners, and even attending midwives and doulas must somehow "fight" for.

Even if a woman prepares well, steels her will, and finds caregivers who will let her trust her body and enjoy a natural birth, hospitals are not necessarily the safest place for them. Just yesterday I overheard a new father say that his wife and baby were unable to establish breast-feeding because his wife contracted a staph infection from the cesarean section and was put on antibiotics. That, to me, is criminal negligence.

I did a lot of research. I cannot recommend the midwifery model of prenatal and delivery care, labor and postpartum doula care, and home birth for normal pregnancies enough. I was attended by a fantastic certified nurse midwife, doula, and my husband. At age 35, I was in active labor for only four hours, our daughter came into a calm, darkened, joyful home, and we received two home follow-up visits. We constantly receive comments on how happy she is, and I think her birth had some bearing. I would not have changed a thing about our birth experience, and I have yet to hear a woman say that about her hospital birth. A great resource for healthy birth choices in Chicago is www.birthlink.com.

Lisa Phillips

Logan Square

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