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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Canada’s reputation for low infant mortality takes stunning decline"

WEll, now... can any of my wonderful readers point out some of the REAL reasons that our infant mortality rate has risen?  Shall we list them?

1- mass use of chemical induction methods to start child birth instead of waiting until baby is READY to be born
2- mass use of epidurals on labouring women which then leads to further medical interventions, which in turn leads to more medical interventions, and most often associated with "emergency" caesarean sections due to fetal distress.
3- constant electronic monitoring of the labouring mother and baby- interfering with the mothers ability to move around and follow her bodies instincts to bring baby to birth, and giving out false information on the condition of the baby, leading to diagnosis of "fetal distress" sending the mother directly to the OR for a Caesarean Section.
4- the inability of the medical machine to leave well enough alone and let mothers labour as they wish without being hammered on by medical staff "trying to help" by constantly meddling and coercing mothers to allow medical interventions that they do not want or need.
5- Hospitals  and doctors that have sky high 9-5 caesarean section rates- pushing the national average to almost 1 in 4 surgical births
6- hospital and doctors that  pretend to be VBAC friendly, yet create hurdles so high that it is virtually impossible for a labouring mother to have a Vaginal birth after previous Caesarean section.
7- hospitals, doctors and midwives that  out right REFUSE to care for a woman who wishes to have a VBAC birth after 2 or more previous C/S's- regardless of the fact that the studies show it is just as safe as a VBAC after only 1 previous C/S, and that the statistics for uterine rupture are less than .75%!!!!
8- mass scale use of Ultra Sound technologies, that give unpredictable results and have a very high margin for error, leading to premature inductions and surgical births.
9- even the most seemingly innocent interventions and policies- like limiting a labouring mothers food intake, or making her change into a hospital gown, or having student/residents/interns in the room during  discussions with medical personnel can disrupt the natural cycle of a birthing woman and lead to unnatural interventions.

Each and every one of the above listed problems with our current childbirth methods is KNOWN to increase the risk of  infant deaths. Multiple studies show that Caesarean Sections increase the incidents of infant respiratory distress and infant mortality exponentially as compared to natural vaginal birth.  And each of the medical interventions that are so carelessly used in L&D wards lead to a much high risk of having to have a C/S.

Yes, the reasons given below in the article are valid reasons, but they are not the most important nor the most common. The cause of most preterm births is still a mystery to the medical community and further studies definitely should be done to determine the cause....But instead of putting all their focus on this one "unknown", they need to focus the majority of their attention on the problems that they DO understand, the reasons that already have been studied, that the Facts that are already known.  Hospitals and Doctors need to analyse the way they approach birth and start taking responsibility for THEIR actions and how they effect the Canadian Infant Mortality Rate. A "National Birthing Plan" is great- but it needs to address the REAL statistics and the REAL reason that the infant mortality rate is climbing.  Yes, focusing on preterm and low birth weight births is important and will save the lives of thousands of babies in our country each year, but without dealing with the most common birthing occurrences that relate to and cause infant deaths they will only be putting a small bandage on an arterial bleed.

As usual, WE the birthing parents need to bring these matters to the attention of the powers that be!!  Write letters, email MPPs and MPs, phone your local city councilperson...It all starts with ONE.

(as usual, the highlighted areas are my addition)

Canada’s reputation for low infant mortality takes stunning decline

Once at No. 6 in world ranking, ‘shockingly high’ death rate now puts Canada at No. 24, prompting urgent request to Health Minister
Lisa Priest-From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Once able to boast about its high world ranking for low infant mortality, Canada has now dropped from sixth to 24th place – just above Hungary and Poland.
The death rate of infants less than one year of age – 5.1 per 1,000 live births – has been called “shockingly high” and translates into 1,881 mortalities in 2007, according to the most recent data collected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
About three-quarters of those deaths occurred in the first 27 days of life.

It should always be a little bit embarrassing if you are not number one. — Douglas McMillan, a neonatologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
The drop in ranking below countries such as Sweden, Japan, Finland, France, Ireland and Greece has prompted a prominent doctors group to request an urgent meeting with the federal Health Minister to push for a national birthing strategy.
“We’re losing our reputation,” said André Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. “We have fallen way behind.”
The main causes cited by researchers are poverty, isolation, premature births and to some degree, the way the data are collected. For example, in Canada, infant mortality includes the death of any breathing infant, even very early births and terminations due to congenital abnormalities after 20 weeks gestation, but other countries have different measures.
Still, experts say Canada could learn from other countries – Japan and Sweden among them – that have low infant death rates. Japan is successful in resuscitating premature babies, while Sweden has regulations dictating that with IVF treatments, only one embryo can be transferred into the womb at a time. (Other countries implant multiple embryos, leading to more multiple births and higher risk.) Canada’s aboriginal community has traditionally seen high infant death rates due to poverty and remote locales, but those numbers alone do not explain the country’s low ranking, says Michael Kramer, scientific director of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
“The concern is that we’re not really making any impact on reducing the incidence of these spontaneously born very pre-term infants,” Mr. Kramer said. “We don’t really know enough about what causes them, that’s the challenge – that’s where we need to make improvements.”
Premature babies are at increased risk for infant mortality. About 54,000 out of 350,000 babies were born prematurely or small for their gestational age in 2006-07, according to the latest Canadian Institute for Health Information figures.
Part of a solution, according to Dr. Lalonde, is a national birthing plan, which he estimates would cost $43.5-million over five years. It recommends federal leadership in seven key areas, including a mechanism to accurately gather data, a focus on maternity patient safety, implementing national standardized practice guidelines, and a coalition that would create a model of sustainable maternity and newborn care.
Tim Vail, spokesman for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, said representatives from the minister’s office will meet with the doctors group, and are currently working on a date.
Prakesh Shah, a neonatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, belongs to an advisory group for Ontario’s strategy on late pre-term births. Socioeconomic factors – such as impoverishment – are a big part of preterm births, he says, as are delaying pregnancy and the increasing number of in-vitro fertilization pregnancies.
Dr. Shah recently sent a team to Estonia – which was tied in 2005 with Canada for its infant mortality – and found that other countries treat premature babies and their mothers much differently than in Canada.
“In Estonia, mothers stay in hospital until baby is discharged home and provide most of the care for their babies. Nurses act as consultant to mothers,” said Dr. Shah. “Here, we have medicalized the care in such a way that parents are less involved during hospitalization and suddenly, one day when baby comes home, they are expected to provide complete care. It’s an entirely different concept.”
Even the Conference Board of Canada has described this country’s rate of infant mortality as “shockingly high,” causing many to wonder: How can such a rich country do so poorly with its most vulnerable citizens?
“It should always be a little bit embarrassing if you are not number one,” said Douglas McMillan, a neonatologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. “You are dealing with the most precious thing the family will have in their whole life; we need to be cognizant of that.”

 HERE to read the original article