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Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First

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In this rare, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in hospitals across the country, a longtime medical insider and international authority on childbirth assesses the flawed American maternity care system, powerfully demonstrating how it fails to deliver safe, effective care for both mothers and babies. Written for mothers and fathers, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, sci In this rare, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in hospitals across the country, a longtime medical insider and international authority on childbirth assesses the flawed American maternity care system, powerfully demonstrating how it fails to deliver safe, effective care for both mothers and babies. Written for mothers and fathers, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, scientists, insurance professionals, and anyone contemplating having a child, this passionate exposé documents how, in the most expensive maternity care system in the world, women have lost control over childbirth and what the disturbing results of this phenomenon have been. Born in the USA examines issues including midwifery and the safety of out-of-hospital birth, how the process of becoming a doctor can adversely affect both practitioners and their patients, and why there has been a rise in the use of risky but doctor-friendly interventions, including the use of Cytotec, a drug that has not been approved by the FDA for pregnant women. Most importantly, this gripping investigation, supported by many troubling personal stories, explores how women can reclaim the childbirth experience for the betterment of themselves and their children. Born in the USA tells: * Why women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe * What motivates obstetricians to use dangerous and unnecessary drugs and procedures * How the present malpractice crisis has been aggravated by the fear of accountability * Why procedures such as cesarean section and birth inductions are so readily used


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In this rare, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in hospitals across the country, a longtime medical insider and international authority on childbirth assesses the flawed American maternity care system, powerfully demonstrating how it fails to deliver safe, effective care for both mothers and babies. Written for mothers and fathers, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, sci In this rare, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in hospitals across the country, a longtime medical insider and international authority on childbirth assesses the flawed American maternity care system, powerfully demonstrating how it fails to deliver safe, effective care for both mothers and babies. Written for mothers and fathers, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, scientists, insurance professionals, and anyone contemplating having a child, this passionate exposé documents how, in the most expensive maternity care system in the world, women have lost control over childbirth and what the disturbing results of this phenomenon have been. Born in the USA examines issues including midwifery and the safety of out-of-hospital birth, how the process of becoming a doctor can adversely affect both practitioners and their patients, and why there has been a rise in the use of risky but doctor-friendly interventions, including the use of Cytotec, a drug that has not been approved by the FDA for pregnant women. Most importantly, this gripping investigation, supported by many troubling personal stories, explores how women can reclaim the childbirth experience for the betterment of themselves and their children. Born in the USA tells: * Why women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe * What motivates obstetricians to use dangerous and unnecessary drugs and procedures * How the present malpractice crisis has been aggravated by the fear of accountability * Why procedures such as cesarean section and birth inductions are so readily used

30 review for Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz Deren

    After reading Birth by Tina Cassidy I was inspired to do more research on our maternity care system in the US. I was surprised about the high maternal-mortality rate in the US and wanted to read more. Born in the USA, by Marsden Wagner, was absolutely mind blowing. Wagner is the former Director of Women's and Children's Health for the World Health Organization (WHO) and refers to himself at one point as a "whistle blower". The book details the incredibly flawed maternity care system in the US an After reading Birth by Tina Cassidy I was inspired to do more research on our maternity care system in the US. I was surprised about the high maternal-mortality rate in the US and wanted to read more. Born in the USA, by Marsden Wagner, was absolutely mind blowing. Wagner is the former Director of Women's and Children's Health for the World Health Organization (WHO) and refers to himself at one point as a "whistle blower". The book details the incredibly flawed maternity care system in the US and the over medicalization of the birth process and the use of unnecessary (and often not FDA approved) procedures on women in labor. Many of which, he believes, contribute to the US having one of the highest rates of maternal-mortality, compared to other industrialized nations. The statistics he cites in this book are absolutely eye opening. If you have any interest in the health care system in the US, especially as it relates to women, this is the book for you.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    If Dr. Wagner has presented his arguments and evidence with a little less vitriol I would have found this book to be much more compelling. I didn't necessarily disagree with anything he had to say, but he painted all OB-GYNs with such a broad, nasty brush and all participants of the midwifery model of care in such angelic terms that it was difficult to swallow. I do not believe that all maternity doctors are the selfish, stubborn control freaks Dr. Wagner would have us believe, nor do I believe If Dr. Wagner has presented his arguments and evidence with a little less vitriol I would have found this book to be much more compelling. I didn't necessarily disagree with anything he had to say, but he painted all OB-GYNs with such a broad, nasty brush and all participants of the midwifery model of care in such angelic terms that it was difficult to swallow. I do not believe that all maternity doctors are the selfish, stubborn control freaks Dr. Wagner would have us believe, nor do I believe that midwives and doulas can do no wrong and always have the best interest of the mother at heart. While he lambasted published studies for their poor scientific methods and erroneous results, he provided several interpretations of data and anecdotes himself that were clearly biased. (His example of the rural town in which the doctors refused to continue delivering babies, midwives took over, and infant mortality dropped precipitously comes to mind. I have no doubt this was true, but he should have at least mentioned the fact that there were probably fewer high-risk pregnancies being cared for under the midwives.) All this makes it sound like I hated the book, but I didn't. I liked it. I gave it three stars. It was interesting. It had a lot of really interesting anecdotes and a lot of food for thought. I just wished it could have been written with at least a veneer of fairness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    This book is in the same vein as Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block. Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lake, and The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. But Dr. Wagner also raises several interesting issues not in those books. In the first chapter he points out that in the United States it is virtually impossible to find out exactly how a patient This book is in the same vein as Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block. Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience by Ricki Lake, and The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. But Dr. Wagner also raises several interesting issues not in those books. In the first chapter he points out that in the United States it is virtually impossible to find out exactly how a patient was treated, what the alternative treatments were, why that person received certain treatments instead of others, and who is responsible if there was negligence or malpractice without filing a lawsuit. While most American medical professionals don't comply with legal standard of informed consent, it's rather frightening to have this spelled out so clearly. He elaborates on this theme in Chapter 7, saying "Many people believe that physicians in the United States are resistant to the idea of national health care because they would make less money, but I think that an equally strong reason is the fear physicians feel around disclosing what they're doing and being held accountable for it" (206). Chapter 2 takes the reader into the world of doctors and what Dr. Wagner terms "tribal obstetrics." Doctors keep each other's dirty secrets to the detriment of their patients. This chapter illuminates how in cases of malpratice or negligence medical professionals don't want to risk by shunned by their medical community and will rarely break ranks to report or testify against a colleague. As evidence, Dr. Wagner cites several examples about how he got into hot water by blowing the whistle on obstetric practices that violated the medical community's edict to practice evidence-based medicine. Chapter 7 discusses legal protection afforded to pregnant woman. As mentioned in other critiques of American maternity care, obstetricians tend to pratice defensive medicine. "The constant threat of litigation also means that many obstetricians in the United States go about their practice with a defensive mindset. The decision to do a C-section, which we might call the ultimate intervention, is often based not on medical need but on a desire to avoid litigation" (154). Doctors -- in this field as in many others -- tend to do what is in their best interest instead of the best interest of their patients. Dr. Wagner provides a very important piece of information not mentioned in other books. This is that patients aren't required by law to sign a hospital's consent form and that they have the right to customize it to reflect their wishes about certain treatments. Not signing any blanket permission form that allows hospital personnel to do whatever they deem "necessary" is a great piece of advice although it should be given with the warning that the hospital may then refuse to treat anyone who refuses to sign away his/her rights. He also lists the fundamental legal rights of women protected by constitutional, federal, and international laws as well as ethical guidelines of the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The most important of these to remember being "The right to revoke consent to treatment at any time, either verbally or in writing" (174). In Chapter 8, the author describes his vision of how American maternity care could be reformed based on more humane Dutch and European models. Dr. Wagner then goes on to outline ways that these changes can be brought about in Chapter 9. Born in the USA is a worthwhile read for those interested in the crisis for American maternity care. Although, it is drier than other books on the same topic and lacks the plethora of personal stories, and the only first-hand accounts are from Dr. Wagner himself.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    I have mixed feelings about this book. It was kind of shocking and negative through most of it, with a laundry list of horrifying anecdotes. The author redeems himself at the end with real, concrete suggestions for improving the maternity care situation in this country, but still. Also, I'm not sure this lady is the one you want as your poster child for a woman's right to refuse a C-section. I'm just sayin'. In short, this was like the man-version of Pushed The Painful Truth About Childbirth and M I have mixed feelings about this book. It was kind of shocking and negative through most of it, with a laundry list of horrifying anecdotes. The author redeems himself at the end with real, concrete suggestions for improving the maternity care situation in this country, but still. Also, I'm not sure this lady is the one you want as your poster child for a woman's right to refuse a C-section. I'm just sayin'. In short, this was like the man-version of Pushed The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care, but with a lot more hate for OBs. Like, a LOT more hate. If you had to choose one book to read on this subject, I would recommend Pushed or Birth The Surprising History of How We Are Born over this one for sure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Read this book if you are pregnant, your partner is pregnant or you want to know more about the mistakes being made in the birth industry. Well written and researched. An oby-gyn and former director of Women's and Children's Health at WHO spells out many problems with the current situation, from our high cesarean rates to our high infant mortality rates. These are not coincidences, but are outcomes of our overuse of interventions. With almost one out of three births by cesarean in the US, there Read this book if you are pregnant, your partner is pregnant or you want to know more about the mistakes being made in the birth industry. Well written and researched. An oby-gyn and former director of Women's and Children's Health at WHO spells out many problems with the current situation, from our high cesarean rates to our high infant mortality rates. These are not coincidences, but are outcomes of our overuse of interventions. With almost one out of three births by cesarean in the US, there is something wrong. Read about other options and how countries that use midwifes have much lower infant mortality.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura Vogt

    This is a powerful, informative, detailed book. It is authoritative, researched and well-argued. I feel like the audience is other medical professionals rather than mothers-to-be. It is very informative about our maternity system, I just have read others I preferred. Maybe it was too many details & arguments I already prescribed too. Wagner does have an abundance of facts and information and perspectives to back up his claims. Recommended but as it is a bit detail-heavy, I'd only recommend it to This is a powerful, informative, detailed book. It is authoritative, researched and well-argued. I feel like the audience is other medical professionals rather than mothers-to-be. It is very informative about our maternity system, I just have read others I preferred. Maybe it was too many details & arguments I already prescribed too. Wagner does have an abundance of facts and information and perspectives to back up his claims. Recommended but as it is a bit detail-heavy, I'd only recommend it to those in the medical profession, midwives/doulas, or moms who are just crazy about learning about birth like me!

  7. 4 out of 5

    s

    definitely a good read--agree with bonnie that it was refreshing that the book was written by a man. however, it scared the crap out of me. granted, i believe it was this book specifically that gave me the wherewithall to tell my obgyn to shove off when he suggested a c-section. but, my son's particular birth was fairly textbook. had there been bonafide complications, i'm sure i would have given him the greenlight. and, since it WAS textbook--i will continue to think of him as just another docto definitely a good read--agree with bonnie that it was refreshing that the book was written by a man. however, it scared the crap out of me. granted, i believe it was this book specifically that gave me the wherewithall to tell my obgyn to shove off when he suggested a c-section. but, my son's particular birth was fairly textbook. had there been bonafide complications, i'm sure i would have given him the greenlight. and, since it WAS textbook--i will continue to think of him as just another doctor who puts his own personal life/fear of malpractice before the birth of my son.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    A compelling and persuasive argument with some surprising statistics. Astonished to learn that America has one of the highest infant mortality rate of developed countries, and the maternal death rate in Europe is 70%! lower (and for 25 straight years the number of maternal deaths in the US has been increasing!). Despite this, we pay more per capita for maternity services than any other country in the world. Interesting read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashlee

    I can do dry reading. Heck, I'm a counselor, those texts aren't exactly a thrill a minute. But this has bored the living snot out of me and I LOVE and fully stand behind the topic. It's really that bad. Do yourself a favor and read a more personable book on birth choices. This one will leave you snoozing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christal

    My hero. Dr. Wagner spills the beans on the horrific state of maternity care currently holding power in the United States. Time to topple the powers that be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Molly Morgan

    Deeply informative, and clearly written by a passionate expert in the field - Born in The USA is an important read for anyone interested in maternal/child healthcare in the United States. Wagner will change the way you look at not only maternal health studies - but all medical studies. Sometimes his scientific background gets the worst of him, and the jargon/ dense writing feels overwhelming at best, and boring at it’s worst. If you have the stamina to power through - there is much to be unravel Deeply informative, and clearly written by a passionate expert in the field - Born in The USA is an important read for anyone interested in maternal/child healthcare in the United States. Wagner will change the way you look at not only maternal health studies - but all medical studies. Sometimes his scientific background gets the worst of him, and the jargon/ dense writing feels overwhelming at best, and boring at it’s worst. If you have the stamina to power through - there is much to be unraveled.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    I've known for years how messed up the US maternity system is, and read a bunch of other books, but THIS Is the book that all pregnant women should read. (And then they would all leave the traditional hospital setting, get midwives, and we'd have REAL change.) This book will horrify you and enlighten you (even if you already knew a lot abt this sort of stuff). Such an amazing book. So glad I'm working with a midwife who agrees with this sort of POV on things.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    wow, what a book. Full of cited sources, studies and relevant cases, this was a book a layman or a doctor could read and find relevant and informative. M. Wagner is an amazing voice on behalf of evidence-based care for women and babies.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jean Panek

    Sheds a lot of light on issues in maternity care in the U.S. That being said, for a book that harps on the necessity of checking sources, it doesn't always provide sources for its claims. Be prepared to do a lot of independent research on claims.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is a very well done scientifically based book on the maternity system in America. Every pregnant woman, OB, Midwife, Doula should read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    This book provided great insight of our very broken maternity system.

  17. 4 out of 5

    p roper

    Do you want a real look at the maternity system in the US? Read this book. Be prepared, though, especially if you already have high blood pressure.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Greer

    I highly recommend this book to every woman and father out there. The maternity system in this country is in need of some serious reform. This book brings all the disturbing, political, selfish issues to light and is jam packed with facts and studies to back up the research. It's not often that I pull out a highlighter to mark in my book, but I did with this one. Women in this country have come a very far in the way of our rights, but when we look at the maternity system our rights are being vio I highly recommend this book to every woman and father out there. The maternity system in this country is in need of some serious reform. This book brings all the disturbing, political, selfish issues to light and is jam packed with facts and studies to back up the research. It's not often that I pull out a highlighter to mark in my book, but I did with this one. Women in this country have come a very far in the way of our rights, but when we look at the maternity system our rights are being violated left and right. I urge women in particular to get educated about the risks of inductions (specifically cytotec), medicated pain relief in labor, and c-section before you decide to just let your doctor tell you what have to do. Know your rights. This book is a great way to start on that journey. "...a women giving birth is not a passive sick person but someone who is experiencing a profound life-cycle event." We need to stop treating pregnant/birthing women like they are sick and need medical intervention. 80-90% of women are in the low-risk category for pregnancy. I believe that God specifically made our bodies in order to handle this natural life cycle event and we need to trust in our bodies and not have fear. This book talks so much about midwifery care and I am convinced, even more now, that low risk birth should be put in the hands of midwives in out-of-hospital settings. I could go on and on about this but instead I just encourage you to read it and come up with your own conclusions. Put yourself, your baby and your rights first! Let's make a change! The only thing I didn't like about the book was how often I felt like it was repeating itself and sometimes the amount of statistics being used made me tune out. That being said, I think that those aspects are really important for the book because people need the stats/evidence and people need the repetition of the information so it can get through to us and change can be brought forth.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Margulis

    This is a brilliant book by an internationally known medical doctor that should be required reading for any young person interested in obstetrics. Marsden Wagner, M.D., is not afraid to critique the American maternity system from the inside out. He reveals the shocking truth about Cytotec-- a drug originally approved for stomach ulcers and known to induce abortions that is now being used off-label to induce pregnant women. The wrong dosing causes amniotic fluid embolism and the company that manu This is a brilliant book by an internationally known medical doctor that should be required reading for any young person interested in obstetrics. Marsden Wagner, M.D., is not afraid to critique the American maternity system from the inside out. He reveals the shocking truth about Cytotec-- a drug originally approved for stomach ulcers and known to induce abortions that is now being used off-label to induce pregnant women. The wrong dosing causes amniotic fluid embolism and the company that manufacturers it have asked doctors not to use it for induction. No one's listening. Dr. Wagner also details how the tribal loyalty of many obstetricians results in compromised safety and poor patient outcomes, as well as exposing how unnecessary and wrongheaded so much of modern obstetrics really is. His claims are not just his personal and professional opinions. They are solidly backed up by scientific study that any thinking person can access and read. Born in the U.S.A. is a must-read for health care professionals, public health officials, pregnant women, and anyone interested in medical reform. I could not recommend it more highly. I love books written by thinking doctors and also recommend How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor by the late Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D. and the wonderful memoir, The Color of Atmosphere by Margaret Kozel, M.D.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    "Forty-one countries have better infant mortality rates than the United States dodes. In 2002, our infant mortality rate went up, not down, and if the US had an infant mortality rate as good as Cuba's, we would save an additional 2,212 American babies a year....Women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe, and the rate of women dying in chidbirth in America has been going up every year for more than twenty years." I sooo wish this book had been out when I was writing m "Forty-one countries have better infant mortality rates than the United States dodes. In 2002, our infant mortality rate went up, not down, and if the US had an infant mortality rate as good as Cuba's, we would save an additional 2,212 American babies a year....Women are 70% more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe, and the rate of women dying in chidbirth in America has been going up every year for more than twenty years." I sooo wish this book had been out when I was writing my master's thesis. It's so relevant to the work I was doing back in '98. Had to keep reminding myself the author was a man and a doctor. A lot of this was old news to me, but the organization of the information and the presentation was hard-hitting and impossible to ignore. The US lags so far behind other countries who are handling maternity care better, cheaper, and with lower infant and maternal mortality. This conversation fits centrally into the health care reform happening right now.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    Marsden Wagner, MD, MS, is pissed. He’s pissed about the American maternity system and how it’s currently running. In Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, he explores (in great detail) the many reasons why our maternity system is failing mothers and their children. And he doesn’t sugarcoat at all. In fact, he’s quite blunt about what’s wrong with the system and what needs to be done to right all of the wrongs. You can’t read this book and Marsden Wagner, MD, MS, is pissed. He’s pissed about the American maternity system and how it’s currently running. In Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, he explores (in great detail) the many reasons why our maternity system is failing mothers and their children. And he doesn’t sugarcoat at all. In fact, he’s quite blunt about what’s wrong with the system and what needs to be done to right all of the wrongs. You can’t read this book and not be at least a little bit alarmed. The “against label” use of Cytotec, for instance, is a huge issue. And the same goes for the criminalization of midwifery. Wagner explains the power structures and politics of medical organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), as well as what goes on in hospitals and the “fraternity” of doctors. After reading this book, I agree that there are many reasons to be upset with our current system. Luckily, Wagner also has a suggestions on how we can empower patients and save the lives of mothers and babies.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Radhika

    An absolutely enlightening read and full of supported claims examining the difference between c-section and normal births. As the author points out, he is less an advocate of out-of-hospital births than of evidence-based maternity care. And the evidence shows what is going catastrophically wrong with child birth in the US has less to do with out-of-hospital planned births than the unhealthy practice of obstetrics on unconsenting on misinformed mothers who are treated as patients during a normal An absolutely enlightening read and full of supported claims examining the difference between c-section and normal births. As the author points out, he is less an advocate of out-of-hospital births than of evidence-based maternity care. And the evidence shows what is going catastrophically wrong with child birth in the US has less to do with out-of-hospital planned births than the unhealthy practice of obstetrics on unconsenting on misinformed mothers who are treated as patients during a normal life-event. There are also many research ideas floating in this book and so it is also a good read for a social scientist or any epidemiologist or clinician. The link between frequent ultrasounds, drug-induction, c-sections and long term consequences after birth such as increase in rates of autism, allergies, learning disabilities, and other functional changes are unknown and need to be examined. If its the one non-fiction you read this year Ladies- Read this book!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    Marsden Wagner, the former director of the Womens and Childrens Health division of the World Health Organization, delivers a scathing review of the American maternity system in Born in the USA How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First. This book is an empowering, insightful call to action for women and birth workers everywhere. Though I believe that Dr. Wagner is a bit too critical at times, the points he makes are very well-supported and eloquently articulated. Marsden Wagner, the former director of the Womens and Childrens Health division of the World Health Organization, delivers a scathing review of the American maternity system in Born in the USA How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First. This book is an empowering, insightful call to action for women and birth workers everywhere. Though I believe that Dr. Wagner is a bit too critical at times, the points he makes are very well-supported and eloquently articulated. Wagner speaks frankly about a bevy of subjects, from condemning Cytotec inductions to criticizing the ACOG for failing to protect the interests of those it serves, the women of America. This book is a compelling must-read for any woman who receives obstetric health care in the USA, as well as birth workers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    If I could give this a 5+ I could, just because I think it contains such important information and EVERYONE should read it. The take home message of the book is this: -Current obstetrical practices in the US are simply not based on science. -Midwives should be taking care of most women giving birth, with obstetricians taking care of the high risk pregnancies. -Scientific studies have proven that this has better results for mothers and children. -Birth is a normal, natural event, and obstetrics has If I could give this a 5+ I could, just because I think it contains such important information and EVERYONE should read it. The take home message of the book is this: -Current obstetrical practices in the US are simply not based on science. -Midwives should be taking care of most women giving birth, with obstetricians taking care of the high risk pregnancies. -Scientific studies have proven that this has better results for mothers and children. -Birth is a normal, natural event, and obstetrics has caused many problems (for example 31% nationwide c-section rate) by intervening with the natural process. I couldn't put this fascinating yet disturbing book down. I highly recommend it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I really love this book. The only thing I don't love is that I kind of think that Dr. Wagner is overly optimistic about what maternity care improvement coalitions can actually achieve in this country. But there is a lot of great insidery info on how the maternity care system works with ideas on how consumers in the system (pregnant/childbearing women and their families) can advocate for themselves and better care over all. Great info on the legal status of midwives in the US and the difficulties I really love this book. The only thing I don't love is that I kind of think that Dr. Wagner is overly optimistic about what maternity care improvement coalitions can actually achieve in this country. But there is a lot of great insidery info on how the maternity care system works with ideas on how consumers in the system (pregnant/childbearing women and their families) can advocate for themselves and better care over all. Great info on the legal status of midwives in the US and the difficulties they face in individual communities. Definitely fired up my passion for improved access to quality maternity care all over again. I dogeared a lot of the pages for sharing with my doula clients.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    can i give this more than 5 stars? if every insurance company in this country reviewed this book, i guarantee midwives would be primary prenatal caregivers, and OBs would be relegated to what they are there for-- speciality and high risk cases. every womam would do well to inform themselves by reading this.... i swear, he finds EVERY scientific study in every country about birth, pregnancy, labor.... it's a treasure chest of information. a little academic-y, but that's what is needed for some pe can i give this more than 5 stars? if every insurance company in this country reviewed this book, i guarantee midwives would be primary prenatal caregivers, and OBs would be relegated to what they are there for-- speciality and high risk cases. every womam would do well to inform themselves by reading this.... i swear, he finds EVERY scientific study in every country about birth, pregnancy, labor.... it's a treasure chest of information. a little academic-y, but that's what is needed for some people. he's a scientist/obstetrician/former director of women and children's health at the WHO. awesome.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melynna

    I'm not in the mood to write a long review, so I'll just say that this is a book I really think everyone ought to read. Everyone. There are things here that we the public need to demand be changed. It was well cited and written (except that it tended toward being a bit repetitious at times). It made me glad I'm using a midwife with this pregnancy and delivering in a birth center. Having also delivered in a hospital, I've had first hand experience with how the current system makes you believe and I'm not in the mood to write a long review, so I'll just say that this is a book I really think everyone ought to read. Everyone. There are things here that we the public need to demand be changed. It was well cited and written (except that it tended toward being a bit repetitious at times). It made me glad I'm using a midwife with this pregnancy and delivering in a birth center. Having also delivered in a hospital, I've had first hand experience with how the current system makes you believe and feel that you have no rights about what happens to you. There were things I specifically said I didn't want and they were done anyway. This should never happen.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    As an ally for midwives everywhere, Wagner makes some excellent points and uses his privilege (as both a man and a doctor) for good. However, his combative tone in places renders the book as almost sounding petulant. The arguments are sound but the tone ruins them sometimes. This book is also far longer than I expected. Wagner spends a good deal of time repeating himself and referencing other chapters. While that sort of reiteration might be good for some readers, it annoys the hell out of me. S As an ally for midwives everywhere, Wagner makes some excellent points and uses his privilege (as both a man and a doctor) for good. However, his combative tone in places renders the book as almost sounding petulant. The arguments are sound but the tone ruins them sometimes. This book is also far longer than I expected. Wagner spends a good deal of time repeating himself and referencing other chapters. While that sort of reiteration might be good for some readers, it annoys the hell out of me. Still, all in all the book had excellent data and the author himself made some truly fantastic points.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Estlund

    A fantastic book about a fundamental part of the human experience: the birth process. Dr. Wagner breaks down in clear, compelling and well-organized arguments the reasons why our maternity care in the US is so screwed up, and most importantly the things we can do as a people, as individuals, and as parents to fix things. In the interest of full disclosure, we had our second baby, Ava, at home, using the services of a phenomenal midwife. So, Dr. Wagner necessarily needing to convince me of anythi A fantastic book about a fundamental part of the human experience: the birth process. Dr. Wagner breaks down in clear, compelling and well-organized arguments the reasons why our maternity care in the US is so screwed up, and most importantly the things we can do as a people, as individuals, and as parents to fix things. In the interest of full disclosure, we had our second baby, Ava, at home, using the services of a phenomenal midwife. So, Dr. Wagner necessarily needing to convince me of anything. However, he makes such sound, evidence-based, reasonable arguments, that it was a fascinating read. I recommend this to anyone who has, or who might have, a baby.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

    Wow-- this book was so interesting and opened me up to lots of new insight about the US health care, and specifically maternity, system. I think everyone interested in women's issues, birth, or issues of power should read this book. It taught me much new information that I was completely unaware of and made me shocked at the way our US maternity system is so screwed up. It teaches a lot about the current state of maternity health care, as well as alternatives we can work towards, such as increas Wow-- this book was so interesting and opened me up to lots of new insight about the US health care, and specifically maternity, system. I think everyone interested in women's issues, birth, or issues of power should read this book. It taught me much new information that I was completely unaware of and made me shocked at the way our US maternity system is so screwed up. It teaches a lot about the current state of maternity health care, as well as alternatives we can work towards, such as increased care by midwives for low-risk births (which are most births).

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