There are several reasons I don't get too wrapped up in statistics, especially when it comes to UC. Some of these things have been mentioned in previous posts.
1. Humanity is undergoing a change in consciousness. We are just beginning to discover the immense power of our own thoughts and feelings, as well as our connection with the "larger self" (or God/Goddess/All that is, etc.). Little by little we are letting go of our allegiance to and dependence on "the authorities" in many aspects of our lives, and instead learning to trust in the authority and intelligence of the Self. During this transition we are bound to make "mistakes," but in time this will change. This is not to say that we will never seek advice or assistance from medical professionals, but birth is a natural bodily function, not a disease (in spite of what most people believe).
2. When women grow up in a culture that fears birth, it can be quite a challenge to have a homebirth, let alone a UC. As Grantly Dick-Read and numerous others have pointed out, fear hormones shut off the flow of birth hormones. As a result, birth becomes painful and problematic. This is why UC, in and of itself, isn’t going to solve our problems in birth. We may eliminate one of the primary causes for the problems in birth – unnecessary medical intervention – but if we haven’t eliminated “inner intervention” (fear), we may still encounter problems. And of course not only do we have to overcome our own fears, we also have to deal with the fears of our friends, family and a society that thinks we’re nuts. The added stress of going against “the herd” can and does negatively impact labor. Once again, in time this will change.
3. Negative outcomes in hospitals are grossly under-reported. This fact was brought out in Jennifer Block’s book “Pushed” and has also been admitted by the Centers for Disease Control. We truly need to question the accuracy of hospital birth statistics.
4. As mentioned before, we cannot compare UC moms to low risk hospital birth moms, as many of us would not be considered low risk (myself included).
5. How do we define UC? In at least one of the “UC” deaths the labor had been induced (membranes stripped) by a midwife (twice). If the woman had gone on to give birth in the hospital and the baby had died, would a doctor blame the midwife who had induced the birth? Possibly. Or if a doctor had performed the procedure and the woman had gone on to have a midwife-assisted homebirth where the baby died, would the midwife blame the doctor? Also a possibility, as stripping membranes/induction is known to cause problems. I’m not necessarily saying the death was caused by the induction, but if we’re going to talk “statistics” we need to have a better definition of what constitutes a “UC.”
6. As was also mentioned, this is a self-selected study. I’ve gotten thousands of letters over the years from women who were either planning a UC or had had one. I know that many of these women don’t post on message boards. But even for those who do, there are numerous UC message boards and email lists these days. Trying to prove the inherent dangers of UC by taking one message board, where there have been 4 reported deaths in 30 years (or possibly 3 if we eliminate the midwife-induced birth), is not only unscientific it’s simply unfair.
Those who are waiting to have a UC until the statistics “prove” it’s safe may be waiting a very long time. I also question the sanity of living a life (or having a birth) based on statistics. Those who do this will never get married, as the majority of marriages end in divorce. Does this prove that the concept of marriage is inherently flawed and therefore it should never be attempted? I am not naive or misinformed. I’ve done my research and understand that the primary reasons for the problems in birth can be traced to 3 main causes: poverty, unnecessary medical intervention and fear. True physical deformities are rare. I don’t live in poverty, do not allow others to interfere with my natural bodily functions, and am not afraid of birth. Therefore I knew UC was the best choice for me.