Pregnant Women Driving…

“In terms of mortality and injury, we know that driving a car is hundreds of times more dangerous for women and children than giving birth…Though it’s proven to be extremely dangerous and can often be fatal, no one accuses a pregnant woman who drives a car every day of being ‘selfish.’ And, when she arrives at her destination without having a crash, no one tells her how ‘lucky’ she was.” –Jennifer Margulis

I have blogged several times about birth having inherent value in its own right. Process AND “product” (i.e. healthy mom, healthy baby) are both important. A de-emphasis on the birth process only serves to disempower, silence, invalidate, and violate women—to shut down their very real and important reasons for choosing “alternative” birth options (reasons which usually have health of the baby as central anyway). Similarly to the writer above, I also use car/driving analogies when talking about the accusation people make about choosing “the birth experience” over a “healthy baby.” The way I word this same idea is that no one accuses a pregnant woman of placing her desire to get somewhere over her desire for a healthy baby (as women having homebirths are often accused—except in the case of homebirth, unlike with driving, there actually IS NO increased risk of death from staying at home!). I also use the car example in classes when talking about routine IVs—by the logic used to “justify” routine administration of IVs to women in labor, we should all make sure we are hooked up to at least a saline lock every time we drive anywhere!

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