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    Questions? Ask Henci!


    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to Goersitemail@aol.com.

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    Archived User
    Hi Henci,

    I stumbled on this report of the WHO:

    http://www.who.int/making_pregnancy_safer/publications/neonatal.pdf

    I am reading this with great interest and I am wondering what your thoughts about it are. You write somewhere that the US perinatal mortality rate is rather high for a developped country. This report shows otherwise. Would you explain what you meant?

    Thanks,
    maria.
    Henci Goer

    Are you sure I wrote that? Mostly, I haven't been able to find a good source of international comparative perinatal or neonatal mortality rates, and I don't usually make statements that I cannot source. I agree that perusing these tables, U.S. rates in the year 2000 were in the ballpark with other developed countries.

    -- Henci

    Archived User
    This is what you said http://www.lamaze.org/NormalBirthForum/tabid/363/forumid/11/postid/1545/view/topic/Default.aspx

    I'm not sure of the context here, but if Amy Tuteur is saying that our perinatal mortality rate is low, that is just not true. They are, in fact, shamefully high for a developed country. They fall woefully short of Healthy People 2010 goals, have been stagnant for years, and are on the rise. In some areas, notably Washington, DC, where there are large populations of low-income black women, our rates rival those of developing countries. Nothing that Tuteur says can be trusted to be sound information. She is well known for selective reporting, taking things out of context, and, um, to put it politely, mistating the facts.

    -- Henci

    I would love to have more info about this and how it relates to the safety of hospital birth or lack thereof.

    Thanks!

    Archived User
    Ah, I see you answered this in the two questions thread :-)
    Thanks.
    maria.
    Henci Goer

    Thanks. I don't know as it has any relationship to hospital birth. But, in my search to see what I could come up with, I found the CDC report on perinatal mortality in 2003 that Tuteur alluded to. I'll repeat this on the other thread, but there is nothing about care providers.

    -- Henci

    Archived User

    I have come lately to this discussion, and only just found it as I browsed about, but I'm reminded of an article in the Boston Globe, published November 17 of 2008, by Judy Norsigian and Eugene Declercq, entitled "Troubling Data in Infant Deaths".  I quote at length because it is so cogent:  "A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents a slight decline in the national infant mortality rate...in 2006, but the rate has essentially remained flat since 2000, leaving the US 29th among industrialized countries."    It goes on to reduce the parameters of comparison in five separate categories, shrinking the standards of reporting statistics in the interest of  "fairness" each time, and winds up exposing our glaring deficiencies more clearly.  For example, the authors compare the US only with other wealthy countries that have at least 100,000 births, or  look only at white non-hispanic mothers born in the US who began prenatal care in the first trimester.  The authors proceed:  "There are 16 such countries.  Among them, the United States ranks last in infant mortality, third to last in perinatal mortality (deaths in the first seven days and fetal deaths),  and last in maternal mortality.  Digging further into the data reveals two more troubling findings.  While the US infant mortality improved marginally --3 per cent since 2000, the 15 comparison countries, which already had much better rates, improved by 21 percent in the same period.  Put in concrete terms- if the US mortality rate merely equaled the current average rate of the other 15 industrialized countries, there would be more than 11,000 fewer infant deaths every year in the United States."   The article concludes that the dismal ranking of our country is "testimony to the US belief that more medical intervention regardless of cost, is better - even when the evidence  doesn't support such a claim...This is not just about who gets care, but about how they are cared for."  The article is illuminating and current in its response to President Obama's proposed health-care reforms, and really resonates with those of us who support best-evidence maternity care.  It's been said that maternal and infant mortality rates are the best indicators of sound  health care policy.  I  hope President Obama reads the Boston Globe.

    Jackie Levine   

    Henci Goer

    Thank you for this contribution. Gene's analysis is also an "extra" on the Orgasmic Birth DVD. 

    -- Henci 


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