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DailyTidings.com
  • What expectant mothers don't expect

    Subtle marketing sneaks into some hospital nurseries
  • Nadine Marie Christie gave birth to her two children in the same sunlit room she was born in 24 years ago.
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    • What: Book signing by Ashland resident Jennifer...
      When and where: 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at Barnes & Noble, 1400 Biddle Road, Medford; and 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main St., Ashland

      There are free, guided tou...
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      What: Book signing by Ashland resident Jennifer Margulis, author of "The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Baby Before Their Bottom Line"
      When and where: 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at Barnes & Noble, 1400 Biddle Road, Medford; and 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main St., Ashland

      There are free, guided tours of the Ashland Community Hospital Birth Center at 11:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Call 541-201-4000 for information.
  • Nadine Marie Christie gave birth to her two children in the same sunlit room she was born in 24 years ago.
    Then and now, the arrivals were as natural as modern times allow, with few interruptions by medical staff. Afterward, mom, dad and baby slept in the room together and later spent quiet time in the garden.
    These were not home births. They took place inside Ashland Community Hospital, which has Oregon's longest-operating, hospital-based alternative birth center.
    In this intimate space, a mother-to-be chooses whether she will be standing, sitting, kneeling, on a bed or in a whirlpool tub filled with warm water when her baby is born, and if a midwife or doula is by her side.
    This customized approach has been the cornerstone of the center since it opened in 1971, says director Lorraine Florio.
    "Birthing in the U.S. has become medicalized, crazy, but not here," says Florio, a certified nurse midwife. "This is one of the sanest places to have a baby."
    Across the U.S., doctors' offices and hospitals have become marketing centers pushing pricey ultrasounds and brands of infant formula and diapers, according to a new book by Ashland author Jennifer Margulis.
    In "The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Baby Before Their Bottom Line," published by Scribner, Margulis writes about birthing procedures that boost profits, foreskins being sold to the beauty and artificial skin industry, and other claims that may shock parents.
    Margulis, a mother of four who appeared on PBS Frontline's documentary "The Vaccine War" in 2010 to debate the value of vaccinations, says she is "motivated to empower women to make good choices about health care" and to ask them to not blame themselves if they feel they failed by not being able to have a natural birth or breastfeed.
    "We have a system that makes it more difficult to succeed naturally," says Margulis, 43, who has published three other baby-related books. "No one makes money off a woman breastfeeding or by suggesting she eat healthy food instead of taking prenatal vitamins."
    Margulis spent 10 years researching the topic — the 350-page book has 62 pages of reference notes — and three years writing "The Business of Baby," which covers issues and costs from pregnancy and childbirth through the first year of life.
    She discovered that the U.S. has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world. That babies were once potty trained by 18 months but disposable diaper makers promote the need to keep children in diapers until they are 3 years old or older. And that having a baby today is expensive.
    At the end of each chapter, she lists costs. The average charge in the U.S. for a cesarean birth is $51,000, vaginal birth in a hospital is $32,000, homebirth is $4,500 and an unassisted homebirth is $15.90.
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