27 Jun · Karen Melton · No Comments

Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S. on Maternal Mortality & Cesarean Section in the U.S.A.

Dr Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S. of the World Health Organization presented shocking information about Cesarean Section birthing and its affect on maternal mortality rates, at the 2009 Assoc. for Pre and Perinatal Psychology & Health conference.  He says that the totally unnecessary levels of cesarean section births being carried out in the U.S.A. are contributing to our high maternal mortality figures. He was himself an obstetrician and pediatrician who, from the inside of his profession, realized all that was wrong with it, and left to promote healthy birthing practices in the U.S.A. Speaking at a conference for ObGyn’s he asked everyone who had seen a normal birth to put their hand up – not one hand went up. This might explain why we are going so far astray with medical birthing, when our doctors don’t know what a natural, healthy birth looks like. Dr. Wagner says,

We can calculate the effect of excessive cesarean section (CS) on U.S. maternal mortality (MM):

4 million births a year in the U.S.
At present 30% CS = 1,200,000 CS a year and 2,800,000 vaginal births a year. Present MM (reported, not actual) = about 15 per 100,000 births (actually latest reported figure is 15.1 per 100,000 births. Since scientific analysis shows MM for CS is at least two times that for vaginal birth, then estimated U.S. MM for vaginal birth = 10 per 100,000 and for CS = 20 per 100,000.

Present CS rate is 30% (This is probably an overall figure since it is higher in some areas and lower in others – Karen) = 1,200,000 CS a year and 2,800,000 vaginal births a year. MM 10 per 100,000 vaginal births = 280 reported deaths for 2,800,000 vaginal births.

MM 20 per 100,000 CS = 240 reported deaths for 1,200,000 CS.
Vaginal birth reported death + CS reported deaths = 520 total reported deaths.

240 out of 520 deaths, 46% of all maternal deaths are associated with Cesarean section.

But if the CS rate had been 15% = 600,000 CS per year and 3,400,000 vaginal births per year. 1,200,000 CS @ 30% minus 600,000 CS @ 15% = 600,000 unnecessary CS every year.
MM 10 per 100,000 vaginal births = 340 reported deaths for 3,400,000 vaginal births.
MM 20 per 100,000 CS = 120 reported deaths for 600,000 CS.
Vaginal birth reported deaths + CS reported deaths = 460 total reported deaths.
520 total reported deaths if CS 30% minus 460 total reported deaths if CS 15% = 60 deaths from excessive, unnecessary CS.

Thus a CS rate of 30% means a minimum of 600,000 UNNECESSARY CS a year (over 1640 every day) leading to a minimum of 60 excessive, unnecessary maternal deaths a year (over one every week).

Dr Wagner went on to say that there is no data to support that cesarean section is just as safe as vaginal birth. Often cutting open the uterus lacerates the baby’s skin in 1-6% of cases.
Respiratory distress is a great risk with CS. Coming through the birth canal squeezes all the fluids out of our lungs and then when we are born we take our first breath into empty lungs. With CS there is no squeezing, and no breath, so there is a struggle at birth to replace fluids with air, causing respiratory distress, which is one of the big killer’s.

He also reports that with ultrasound there is a margin of error of several weeks, so a 36/37 week prenate can end up being a CS preemie with a greater risk of death and neurological problems. Preemie deaths are going up because of CS. We need to look at CS and respiratory distress – research the links between this and A.D.D., Autism, Asthma, etc. In CS births the normal surges of hormones that create ecstacy and empathy between mom and baby are absent (thus adding to attachment issues – Karen). He also sees it as very important that a mom should have her partner, family, friends with her during labor and birth if she wants to. Instead she is treated like a patient and one of the tragedies of this is that she loses her ecstatic, empowering birth. Hospitals don’t like babies being with mom’s after birth because it plays havoc with their routines, but this doesn’t work well for breastfeeding (or attachment! – Karen).

Dr Wagner said that one of the biggest mistakes the medical profession every made was the creation of the central newborn nursery, it increases disease and interrupts attachment between baby and her family, and especially between mom and baby. What will the affects of all these be on future society? These current practices are having deep psychological affects on both mom’s and babies and are wasting BILLIONS of dollars.

Here is a link to a very good article that Marsden wrote on technology in birth: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/technologyinbirth.asp

© Karen Melton 2015

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