1/16/10

Hospital Sends Police to Induce "Overdue" Pregnant Mother

Dr. Momma posted a blog about this story from Australia and it really got me thinking...

First off, read the original story first (see below or click link above)

Thankfully, the mom in this story was issued an apology...but this behavior and the increased fire against personal choices in maternity care really has my blood boiling.

I guess if this practice is acceptable in maternity care we should be able to send police to the houses of others who "disobey" medical authority. I don't see many other medical conditions (even though birth really isn't a condition) pressuring police to interfere.

If this is really about the welfare of the unborn child (due to a 0.1% estimated risk of fetal death in all postdates) What about other issues of child welfare regarding health matters?

Maybe the police should start looking at the obesity epidemic and go door to door to "protect" the welfare of our children who are more obese than ever before by monitoring diet and exercise. Does that sound fair? ;) I think not, but lets look a little deeper...

Government statistics below from: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/#preval

Q: What is the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents?

A: While there is no generally accepted definition for obesity as distinct from overweight in children and adolescents, the prevalence of overweight* is increasing for children and adolescents in the United States. Approximately 17.5 percent of children (age 6 to 11) and 17 percent of adolescents (age 12 to 19) were overweight in 2001 to 2004.[6]

Figure 1. Overweight and Obesity, by Age: United States, 1960-2004

Source: CDC/NCHS, Health, United States, 2006

Q: What is the mortality rate associated with obesity?

A: Most studies show an increase in mortality rates associated with obesity. Individuals who are obese have a 10- to 50-percent increased risk of death from all causes, compared with healthy weight individuals (BMI 18.5 to 24.9). Most of the increased risk is due to cardiovascular causes.[1] Obesity is associated with about 112,000 excess deaths per year in the U.S. population relative to healthy weight individuals.[9]


So, let me make sure I am understanding this correctly...a mom is considered to be neglecting her child by wanting them to benefit from the many advantages of letting the pregnancy go full term (as defined by each pregnancy because 38-42 weeks is just an average!) But the mom that contributes to the 10-50% increased of obesity related death by poor diet choices, excessive television and limited recreation isn't neglecting her child enough to get a knock on the door by the police man?

I understand that sometimes, unfortunately social class plays a large role in what we are able to feed our children. Growing up, my mom did the best she could often times going to the food bank. But she always encouraged us to participate in activities that kept us fit (sometimes something as simple as playing outside, riding a bike, etc.) I also know that sometimes despite diet and exercise some children remain obese due to other unavoidable medical causes. I am not talking about you.

I just wanted to draw a comparison between the 0.1% risks of fetal death due to postdate pregnancy and the 10-50% risk of dying of a obesity related condition.

Where should our criminal authority and human service departments draw the line and why are personal choices in maternity care under so much fire?


Here is the original story below By Kate Sikora for Sydney, Australia's The Daily Telegraph

news image pregnant 20100116

Rochelle Allan, with husband Daniel Jones


A HOSPITAL that wants a mother to have her baby induced sent police to her home after she failed to keep an appointment yesterday.

Rochelle Allan, who is reluctant to be induced even though her baby is 12 days overdue, was told by the hospital they intended to go ahead with the procedure when she came in.

But after speaking to her midwife following a visit to the hospital the day before, and being assured her baby was fine, she decided not to attend the hospital the next day.

Now Ms Allan is furious after the two police officers arrived on her doorstep after they were called by
Bathurst Hospital.

Wanting a home birth, Ms Allan, 24, has been under the care of a private midwife and had been attending the hospital daily to monitor the baby's health.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw the police officers at my door," Ms Allan said.

"They told me they had been asked by the hospital to check on my welfare because I had not attended.

"The hospital knew I did not want to be induced and they gave me no medical reason why I should be."

Throughout her pregnancy, Ms Allan and her partner Daniel Jones have been regularly attending the hospital's antenatal clinic for mandatory tests and scans to monitor the baby's progress. A hospital spokeswoman confirmed police were sent to Ms Allan's house to conduct a "welfare check".

The spokeswoman said doctors were worried about the mother as she had previously complied with all appointments.

Ms Allan said that she had decided on having a home birth after a "horrific experience" at the same hospital two years ago when their son Bailey was born.

"I was induced and I spent 48 hours in labour," she said.

"I don't want to go through with that again."

Ms Allan is not against medical intervention and said she would not hesitate to deliver at the hospital if her baby's life was threatened.

"If they had told me that my baby was in danger then I would have the baby in hospital," she said.

"But they could give me no reason and all the tests show that there are no problems."

By late yesterday, Ms Allan had started labor at home and was in the care of her midwife.

This afternoon (
AEDT), Ms Allan received an apology from The Greater Western Area Health Service for the unexpected police visit, saying they just wanted to check she was alright.

"We are sorry if it caused her any distress but our intention was to check on her welfare," area health spokeswoman Sue-Anne Redmond told ABC Radio today.

The health service denied it was trying to pressure Ms Allan into being induced.

Hannah Darlene from the Australian College of Midwives said calling on police to check on patients was not "common practice".

"It doesn't sound like someone who was shunning care in any way and under those circumstances it's certainly not common practice," Ms Darlene told ABC radio.

The incident comes as the debate over the safety of home births continues, with the Federal Government under pressure to change the law to allow midwives insurance if they attend a home birth.

Homebirths Australia secretary Justine Caines said the case demonstrated how women "are too often treated during pregnancy and birth very poorly".

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Dr Ted Weaver said women were usually induced 14 days after their due date.

"If the mum did not want to be induced after 14 days then you would conduct extra tests," he said.

"The reason people get worried about going overdue is because there's a slight chance that the baby could die suddenly in
utero for no reason."

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