Well Rounded Birth Prep

Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy "private" birth days?

(I apologize for the telephone wire crossing the baby's face. I couldn't get a better camera angle, and I don't have PhotoShop.)

This is the advertising campaign for the newly expanded maternity wing of a local hospital with a dangerously high C-section rate, 54.8% as of the most recent WV DHHR stats. (World Health Organization and best research have concluded that for mothers' and babies' safety, the cesarean rate should not exceed 10% for community hospitals and should not exceed 15% for high-risk hospitals.) These billboards are plastered all over the tri-county area now. Even if the new L&D suites are as nice as The Plaza, offering "private" birth days seem like the last spin a hospital could come up with. I mean, isn't that really grasping at straws?

You can say that the beds are comfy or attractive. You can say that the floors are hardwood or designer tile. You can say that the bathrooms have granite countertops (they probably *don't* have granite countertops, but if they did, you could offer that as a benefit). You could tout the hospital's safety record (well, not THIS hospital, but some hospitals could tout that). You could brag on the quality of care provided by the doctors and nurses there, on their expertise and gentle touch. You could extol the convenience of its proximity to a major city or interstate and the ease of finding it, including valet parking. You could boast the ability to accept most forms of insurance, as well as Medicaid. You could extol the virtues of the hospital's expensive technological and surgical equipment, such as The Machine That Goes Ping. You could even bill it as the safest possible place to give birth for the few women who truly are high risk or need interventions or surgery for the safety of mother, baby, or both.

But a "private" birth day? I'm sorry, but no hospital can offer that, even if laboring women no longer have to share a room with other laboring women. Women who birth in hospitals today are guaranteed that they will not know the nurse(s) who will be present for their labor and delivery, and a good number of women have never even met the on-call doctor who attends the birth. Some women will additionally be pressured to allow a number of residents to observe or assist with the birth. You call that "private"?

This is true even of many birth centers. I know women who have given birth at birth centers who never met the midwife who attended the birth, prior to that day. Despite this fact, a local birth center posted on their message billboard outside the facility, "Our rooms have always been private," in response to their competition's smiling-baby billboards pictured above.

For all the "benefits" of a hospital (or even birth center) birth, "privacy" is certainly a stretch! Back to the drawing board, Marketing Department for Thomas Memorial Hospital!


  1. well said..I saw this billboard and was disgusted thinking the same. Maybe it should read "scheduled birthdays!!"

  2. Well said Sarah. I gave birth to my first child at this hospital. Private is the last word I would use to describe this.
    And you are right about the birth center too. Though it is a thousand times better than Thomas hospital. I gave birth to my second son at the birth center having never met the midwife or the nurse. At least they were the only people who were there besides the doula, my husband and mom. At the hospital there are strangers ( hospital personel) constantly in and out of the room. Amy M.

  3. A healthy relative had her induction/c-section at this hospital. I was also appalled by their breastfeeding attitude. After I explained proper latch on technique to this lady, and she successfully nursed, the staff instructed her to "top the baby off with formula" after nursing!

    My grandma also died in this hospital six days after going in for testing for a non-life threatening conditioning. She went into a deep sleep after being given some medication and never woke up.

  4. Interesting sign and I love your insights into it. Indeed it is hard to have a "private" birth in a hospital setting.


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