In a lot of ways, I am really glad I am going to have my theoretical baby in the UK. I like the midwife system, I like that there is less medical intervention on the whole, I’m pretty sure there are fewer c-sections and there is a marginally better infant mortality rate.
There are plenty of problems too…while the US medical establishment tends to push epidurals (there was a good anecdote in Expecting Better that I was talking about earlier – when she told her doctor she didn’t want to have an epidural, the doctor said, oh well you’ll probably have one anyway.)…the UK establishment tends to be against them. They are all about natural birth. You have to have a very strong voice (or your partner does) – in the middle of possibly one of the most vulnerable moments of your life – to get one, or else you have to be quite clearly unable to take the pain.
Personally I haven’t decided what I want yet and it will depend a lot on how various things go, but I would like the opportunity to decide freely, you know? Not pushed one way or the other. On the upside, I do have a loud voice and will make B have a loud voice too if necessary.
The NHS is also very pro breastfeeding. Now there is nothing wrong with that – I am very much hoping I can breastfeed. But I think sometimes the pressure to do everything naturally (from giving birth to breastfeeding) can mean women for whom that doesn’t work out (ie their birth doesn’t go the way they wanted, there’s some reason they can’t breastfeed) they end up (or are made to) feel like a failure, when that is not the case.
Of course, all my opinions of this are based on TV shows, books, friends’ birth stories, and supposition. Guess I’ll (hopefully) wait to find out what I really think.