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HEALTH REPORT - Women Are Giving Birth at Home - On Purpose!

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A woman gives birth at home with a midwife.
A woman gives birth at home with a midwife.

Empowering. Life-changing. These are two words women often use to describe natural childbirth. Painful would be a third. But that's a different story.

This story is about midwives in Los Angeles, California. They are trying to bring more women of color into the natural childbirth profession and convince more women to give birth at home.

But the numbers are small.

Only one percent of babies in the United States are born at home. However, interest in home deliveries is on the rise. In Los Angeles, California, for example, some women are choosing to use midwives instead of the usual hospital birth with a doctor.

But first -- what is a midwife? Midwives are specially educated in childbirth. They begin as apprentices or students and then must pass state-issued tests, or Medical Boards.

In 2012, Jasmine Lavender delivered her second child in a bathtub.

Natural birth advocate Jasmine Lavender.
Natural birth advocate Jasmine Lavender.

"It was an amazing experience. Very empowering. You know, I encouraged to support other moms to have a vaginal births. It was life-changing, to be honest."

She chose home birth with a midwife because she did not want to repeat the hospital experience she had with her first child.

Ms. Lavender says at that time, the hospital performed an unneeded and hurried medical operation -- a Caesarean section. During the birth she says she felt that her time was running out. And not time on her body's clock but rather on her doctor's clock.

But some women, because of medical reasons, need to have a Caesarean section and some simply choose it. It is a personal choice!

Ms. Lavender's second baby arrived naturally with help from the Community Birth Center in south Los Angeles.

Licensed midwife Racha Lawler established the Center. It provides services to people who might not otherwise receive them. Ms. Lawler says the Center offers some general health services, such as testing for sexually transmitted diseases -- or STDs.

"You know, as a midwife you can draw people's blood and test people's blood and test people for STDs. You can, you know, teach women about how their bodies work in regards to their ovulation and fertility. So why not make sure everyone in the community knows that?"

When the Center first opened, there were about 300 licensed midwives in California. Most of them were white. But Racha Lawler hopes to increase by 100 percent the number of midwives of color. She hopes to do this through reaching out to the community and offering free help for students like Tanya Smith-Johnson.

Ms. Smith-Johnson says women of color have a special need of pregnancy and delivery care. According to her, the "stats" which is short for "statistics," show that women of color need special help when it comes to caring for mothers and babies.

"The stats (the numbers) show women of color, we're the ones who need maternity care. Our babies die at rates 3 or 4 times that of white women. And one of the solutions to that is having more women of color tend to women like themselves."

Are home births and natural childbirths more common where you live? This is a great chance for our women listeners to share their thoughts on childbirth in our comment section! But of course, everyone is welcome!

From VOA Learning English, I'm Anna Matteo.

网友的学习评论(24条):
作者:fly
women aring going home to birth in USA now. but the hospital has no bed for pregnanct women in china. how chinese unfortunately are !
作者:Donnna
My husband and I were born at home,but my daughter ,her son and daughter were born in hospitol.We are Chinese.
作者:雄雄
Midwives are trying to bring more women of color into the natural childbirth profession and convince more women to give birth at home in Los Angeles, California. Some women are choosing to use midwives instead of the usual hospital birth with a doctor ,interest in home deliveries is on the rise in the United States. What is a midwife? Midwives are specially educated in childbirth.
作者:雄雄
Repeated over and over again to read this article, inspire me a lot of memories, remember those unforgettable my past years, my heart can't be calm in a long time.
作者:雄雄
During China's cultural revolution, I accepted re-education of poor farmers in the countryside, I was a young girl, went to the county to be an assistant of midwife. The midwife was a very kind old lady , she worked in a small clinic and was very popular in our county, and I lived at her home. At that time, home births and natural childbirths were more common in our hometown Sichuan, China .
作者:雄雄
Whether it was day or night mothers were giving birth, the old midwife with me arrived pregnant woman's home at the speed of as soon as possible ,deliveried care and newborns arrived naturally with help from old midwife. After 6 months , I learned a lot of knowledges of women's pregnancy and vaginal births and fertility , also babies arrived with help from me.
作者:雄雄
Back to the countryside, I took part in labor every day to do farm work, when pregnant women gave births, I would hurry to deliver care for them and with help from me , babies came to the world. I was carefully, very hard caring for mothers and newborns, never had a mistake , mothers and babies were all well, the farmers were very grateful to me , I had been praised and welcomed widely.
作者:雄雄
Remember a night, overworked of a day I slept like a log, suddenly awakened by the person that there was a pregnant giving birth, I put the medicine cabinet on the shoulder with a flashlight quickly, sleepiness hadn't disappeared completely, I had been walking on the narrow path field in a hurry, a dark around me , only a faint light of flashlight, accidentally,
作者:雄雄
I rolled into the paddy field, wet clothing, covered in mud, skin abrasions, the medicine cabinet fell far away...... Oh, it was conceivable that how much I was ridiculous and funny! 我滚进了稻田里,衣裤打湿了,皮肤擦伤了,医药箱摔得老远........ 噢,可想而知,我当时的样子有多么可笑和滑稽!
作者:雄雄
When I gave childbirth in July 1987, my biggest wish was to have a natural childbirth at home, I would also like to deliver care for myself . I said to my husband, "I don't want to go to the hospital , I am willing to give birth at home, I don't let them to cut broken my perineum, I don't let them to me cesarean section! " My husband was very difficult, he didn't agree with me . The reality didn't allow me giving birth at home.
作者:雄雄
Actual situation is indeed . If you don't go to hospital have a births, birth children have no birth certificate, children can't registered residents without birth certificate , no registered permanent residents can't go to school...... Consequences are serious. I couldn't ruin my only child's future, with complex mood, I went to Maternal And Child Health Care Hospital of Guangxi to give birth .
作者:雄雄
There were 10 maternal in our large room, day and night the door always opened, maternal‘s relatives, escorts , friends, acquaintance , also the doctors and nurses and cleaners, et cetera, et cetera, in and out constantly, filled with the noise . I never thought of taking out stitches of the puerpera's perineum wound by doctor in our big room , were under the eyes of the public, there was no privacy at all, of course I was no exception .
作者:雄雄
More disheartening, my little son was born on the third day had red eye virus disease, little baby infected me with his virus, our eyes redness and swelling, pain, tears, seal the eyes of gum made both of us hard to open the eyes . I felt strange, there were maternal and newborn so many in the hospital, they didn't have red eye virus disease at all, only my son and I had been infected with the virus!
作者:雄雄
I suspected that someone deliberately poison us. But I had no evidence, so couldn't say anything . I asked myself : Where was the red eye virus come from ? Why ?
作者:雄雄
During the pain in the process of childbirth, I felt like a beast, by strong pressured and slaughtered. A few female in white coats took turns to stab my vagina with their fingers repeatedly , they said examining my extension situation of the cervix. My, too many times repeated !I endured them countless times, could not help but said, " the cervix opening takes time, you examining interval time are too short, you examining so many times, examining action are too rude!"
作者:雄雄
They were angry with me, scold me, irony and laugh at me......I endured the contractions pain for a long time, wearing maternity skirt was completely soaked in sweat, I was exhausted, suppresses the anger, endured their insults .
作者:雄雄
Later, Someone pierced with a medical needle my fetal membranes ,rupture of membranes, amniotic fluid pouring speed, I thought, " it's too bad, Fetal amniotic fluid is the equivalent of lubricant, can reduce the resistance when the baby through the mother's birth canal; Amniotic fluid emptied out, the dry birth canal of mother have a great resistance, the white coats increase the difficulty of me giving birth to the child! Why ? "
作者:雄雄
And then later, I didn't agree firmly with them, however, they used scissors forcibly to cut broken my perineum, after new-born left my body, my perineum was a needle and needle and needle... to stitch up . Why did they invade my human rights ? Why ? For years it has been my deep pain in the heart, I feel sad, also very angry!
作者:雄雄
Fruit is ripe, will fall down naturally from the tree; Pregnant women is not a disease, it is time the baby will be eager to leave the mother's body naturally like a ripe fruit. A lot of unnecessary medical intervention of childbirth, cause harms to women, is increased maternal the pain of childbirth artificially .
作者:雄雄
Moreover, doctors didn't respect the maternal body's own ability and the biological clock, with misleading and lies lead to maternal cesarean section, it has been very high c-sections rate, those lucky enough not to be a cesarean section, whether you agree or disagree, maternal have to be cut broken perineum by doctor with scissors in China . This is illegal, immoral! Chinese women have no dignity, law does not protect us, we have no the right to choose the way of childbirth. Why?
作者:雄雄
I encourage to support moms to have a vaginal births, natural childbirth. Don't believe blindly in treatment intervention of maternal‘s childbirth , try to respect for maternal‘s natural childbirth in the process, respect for maternal's body of ability and their biological clock, as far as possible let nature take its course . In my point of view, have a natural childbirth at home, newborns arrive naturally with help from midwives , is the most sensible a choice for women.
作者:雄雄
Mothers, Fathers, To Unite,For the sake of your daughters, And to all the girls all over the world, Can't let them suffer from misfortunes and miseries ! Women must be rescued ! Resolutely opposed to trample upon women all unreasonable system! All the unreasonable system must perish!
作者:雄雄
最后一段评论应该加上 Men , Women, 因此,重新发表一次。 Mothers, Fathers, Men , Women, To Unite,For the sake of your daughters and to All the girls all over the world, Can't let them suffer from misfortunes and miseries ! Women must be rescued ! Resolutely opposed to trample upon women all unreasonable system! All the unreasonable system must perish!
作者:jayames
Learn from the upstairs
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