The Business Of Baby
What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line
By Jennifer Margulis
Published by Scribner, April 2013
Having trained as a midwife, I thought I was pretty clued up about most baby-related things in Britain but this book was a real eye-opener into how different things are in the US.
I have to say, I had no idea things were quite as grim as depicted in this book. Women and babies get a very raw deal with higher rates of mortality and morbidity in the US than in developing countries which have far fewer resources than America. Why should this be the case?
It makes for depressing and quite frightening reading. Money is the driving force behind virtually everything related to babies, and chapters are devoted to ante-natal care, the abuse of ultrasound, normal and cesarean birth, post-natal care, circumcision (do not read this chapter whilst eating a meal. I did and regretted it!), formula promotion, diapering/potty training and vaccination. The vaccination chapter is perhaps the most contentious in the book and I was shocked at how many more vaccines American children receive compared to the normal routine in Britain.
Babies - and anything to do with them - are now a multi-billion dollar industry aimed at perpetuating and peddling the idea that things *have* to continue to be done like this. This is patently untrue and is far more for the benefit of the industries underpinning the baby business which have a great deal of influence on many medical professionals. Neither mothers nor babies benefit from such a system.
I was particularly interested in the chapter dealing with diaper/disposable nappy manufacturing and promotion; I used disposable nappies regularly with my youngest daughters and both took longer to potty train than my eldest daughters who were used to cloth nappies. The rise in urinary tract infections and continence issues in children encased in modern disposable diapers 24/7 for up to four years is sad and shocking, especially as it can be easily prevented, and the alternative methods of potty training and cloth diapering are covered in some depth.
This is a fascinating, horrifying and thoughtful book. It would be worthwhile any couple who may be considering having a baby obtaining a copy, reading and discussing its contents thoroughly before deciding what areas they would like to research further; it would be a very wise idea to make informed decisions about the health care and marketing tactics they will be exposed to once a pregnancy has begun......