Therapeutic Birth

by Mike Richmond
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Since about 1 of every 20,000 expectant moms die during childbirth, giving birth is slightly dangerous, right?

Well, a prestigious medical journal (British Medical Journal, 1988, "Mortality in women in relation to their childbearing history", Adele Green, Valerie Beral, Kath Moser, pp. 391-395) makes the claim that giving birth is actually therapeutic, that is, good for a woman's health. And they are more than 95% confident of the result.

What's the claim? In this study the health of married women with children is compared to married women without children. One key finding: "Nulliparous [no children] married women had an all cause standardised mortality ratio of 113, which was significantly higher (p<0.01) that the standardised mortality ratio of 97 for parous [with children] married women and their higher mortality was observed for many of the causes of death analysed." Translated into plain English, married women without children had about a 16% higher chance of dying (from all possible causes) during any given period of time than married women with children. Since 19,999 out of 20,000 survive birth, the 16% difference utterly "swamps" the 1/20,000 risk and thus birth is a NET saver of women's lives. (And the ONE in 20,000 tend to be less healthy women, less likely to live an average life span.)

Clearly, it is birth that is therapeutic and induced abortion which tilts the grim reaper's odds against women who exercised their "choice".

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Posted 9 Sep 2000.

Uncopyrighted work (explicitly released to public domain by the author).
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