But sometimes we forget just how deep the differences can go. Take maternity care. In fact, in order to avoid a rose-colored-glasses look, take what bugs Brits about their maternity care, as described in a government-sponsored survey, and reported under headlines like “Maternity Nightmares!”
The top concerns, according to one TV station that has done a recent follow up, are:
“43% of women were not offered a home birth
23% said they were underfed in hospital
36% were not offered antenatal classes
18% said toilets and bathrooms on wards were not clean“
Well now. Certainly dirty bathrooms and not feeding new mothers enough is unacceptable. Sounds like there’s some serious funding and staffing issues at NHS.
But to American eyes that top item feels a little like hearing someone complaining about the freshness and flavor of their food while you’re starving. Natural childbirth and midwifery advocates here would be doing a
little major happy dance if anywhere near 57 percent of pregnant American women were offered a home birth. (Or, you know, even if fully trained home birth midwives were no longer treated as criminals.)
Even though the survey found only about 3 percent of British moms actually did give birth at home, even the mainstream British media clearly thinks having the choice presented to everyone is important. How strangely refreshing. Perhaps the AMA (which is trying to make home birth illegal) is overdue for a British invasion.
BirthChoice logo used with permission.