Why I Created Down the Canal – The Game of Birth
There are so many books to read and so many websites to visit; it can be overwhelming for expectant parents. How do they really know which sources are promoting the best available evidence? Down the Canal is a pregnancy game, created for easy access to the information, and to inspire further inquiry into the birth process.
The goal is for people to play the game and learn they have more questions. It challenges the player to explore their own beliefs about birth. It is an inquiry into the self, as much as it is an inquiry into birth.
Since 1991 I have been an advocate for physiologic birth; birth with little or no intervention when mother is healthy and has no underlying medical issues. The question that continually arises is “Why aren’t more women taking a stand for themselves in birth?” Discussions with colleagues have often led to “How can we educate women and families about all their birthing options before they choose their doctor or midwife?”
We have a maternity care crisis in the United States, which you can read more about in the article I wrote in the Journal of Mother Studies.
The choice of care provider is one of the first choices a woman will make, usually within the first three months of pregnancy. Many women choose this provider based on recommendations from well-meaning friends and family members, without asking questions about how they view and treat birth.
Most women in the United States give birth in the hospital (about 98%). That is pretty much everyone, except for a few that give birth at home, or a birth center. If you look back in history, you will discover that this is a very recent occurrence. Prior to the 1930's the majority of women gave birth at home, surrounded by the village.
Hospitals and western medicine in general are both very good at emergencies, crisis care, and acute medical events. Many lives are saved due to the advancement of modern technology. Unfortunately, this technology is overused, including in childbirth.
Not every woman requires every test and procedure, and being in a hospital can be quite scary, and anxiety producing. Think about it. There are so many sick and dying people in hospitals. In fact, the United States has a rising maternal death rate. I don't say this to scare you. I want you to know that despite technological advances and modern medicine, the United States has very poor outcomes compared to other industrialized nations.
The childbirth industry is worth about $50 billion per year, and the hospital wants a piece of it, the insurance industry wants a piece of it the pharmaceutical industry wants a piece of it, and the retail industry wants a piece of it. "Where do you want to spend your money to have a satisfying, safe experience for you and your baby?"
These are my top five reasons why the hospital is the last place you'll want to give birth.
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth