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VOA标准英语2010年-Welcome Home, Baby

时间:2010-08-11 07:13来源:互联网 提供网友:ql8545   字体: [ ]

Karen Kramer with daughter, Stella Grace, shortly after giving birth at home.

The use of midwives to help with home childbirths is an ancient and honored tradition in many societies around the world.

But in the United States, midwifery began to fall out of favor in the mid-19th century, as the number of medical doctors and hospitals grew. By 1935, 90 percent of all births in America were taking place in hospitals, attended by doctors. And by the 1950s, most American states had outlawed1 the practice of midwifery altogether.

Today, though, the laws are changing, and midwives are making a slow but steady comeback.

Doing it her way

In Nashville, Tennessee, Karen Kramer is getting a checkup from her midwife.

She plans to give birth in her own home, a rare choice in the United States. Kramer delivered her first two children in the more typical American way, in a hospital with a doctor attending, but she wasn't completely happy with either experience.

During her last delivery, for example, nurses whisked her newborn away immediately and didn't return with him for three hours.  There were no complications, she says, the nurses were simply busy.

"And the whole time I kept sitting there thinkin' 'I can't believe I just had our second child and I'm not with him, I can't hold him, I can't nurse him, I can't be with him' and that was really hard for me."

Kramer also believes she suffered unnecessary pain because of what she considers to be the hospital's aversion to risk and legal liability. She wanted to get up and walk during labor2 to relieve the stress in her back, but she says the staff insisted she remain in bed.

Courtesy Kramer Family
Karen Kramer works through labor pains shortly before giving birth at home.

"When I walk in to give birth to my child this time," she says, "I don't want to be viewed as a liability."

Home births

Midwives have attended all four of Amy Hamiter's births.

She says people are often shocked, sometimes even appalled3, when they learn she's given birth at home, without a doctor present.

"People have this notion that we're all alone and that I'm birthing out in the dirt or something," she says. "I don't think that they quite grasp that our midwife knows what she's doing. She's trained."

Midwives have at least three years worth of training, according to Nurse Midwife Mary Anne Richardson. It can take that long to get licensed4 as a Certified5 Professional Midwife or CPM, even longer to become a nurse midwife.

"They estimate a minimum of 1,350 clinical hours spent for the CPM to get that certification. So it's not something you can just go out and do, you know, fill out a piece of paper, pay your money and acquire a CPM certification," she says.

Once certified, there's no shortage of work. Midwives attend more than 300,000 births in the U.S each year, in hospitals, clinics and homes. Only one percent of all deliveries take place outside a hospital setting.  On average, in-home births in America are growing by three percent per year.

Increasing popularity

Richardson - who only attends home births - says she's turning some new clients away.

"My heart breaks because people call and I say, 'I'm sorry. We're full for January. I'm sorry we're full for February.' And there aren't enough midwives to handle the calls we're getting."

Midwives have at least three years worth of training, according to Nurse Midwife Mary Anne Richardson.

Dr. Mavis Schorn is trying to change that. She directs the Nurse-Midwife training program at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University.

"Midwifery was almost gone from this country before the 1960s," she says. "So it's really built significantly since then."

Schorn says many Americans still view birth as a thing to be feared, seeing delivery as more of a medical complication than a natural process. She says that's why many mothers-to-be might feel more comfortable with the fetal monitors and other medical resources available in a hospital setting. 

"There's still this thought that more technology is better and that if we hand ourselves over to technology and to the highest possible education that we can find that we're gonna have the best outcome. Well, that's not necessarily the case."

Though some women who have unexpected complications during childbirth do end up going to the hospital, life-threatening emergencies are rare.  In spite of this, it's still illegal for midwives to attend births in 10 of the 50 American states.

Debate continues

Amy Hamiter hopes to be an even bigger part of the home birth revolution.

She's now studying to become a nurse midwife and is something of an evangelist on the subject. She's even placed a video of her most recent delivery on the internet for others to see.

"This is a natural process. This doesn't have to be a big medical event," she stresses. "Of course, there are times when intervention6 is needed and it does save lives, but in healthy pregnancy7 and healthy labors8, the mom and baby are going to be just fine if they're left alone."

 Courtesy Kramer Family
Stella Grace is welcomed to the world shortly after being delivered at home.

But the debate goes on. The American College of Obstetricians refers to home births and midwives as "trendy" and "dangerous" and says the rate of fetal death is much greater in a home birth - a statistic9 disputed by Mavis Schorn. She points to studies which suggest that home births are just as safe as hospital deliveries. 

Health professionals caution that a home birth is best suited to healthy mothers whose pregnancies10 have been uneventful and where complications are not expected. 

Like with Karen Kramer who, at home with a midwife, delivered her newest child, Stella Grace.


1 outlawed e2d1385a121c74347f32d0eb4aa15b54     
  • Most states have outlawed the use of marijuana. 大多数州都宣布使用大麻为非法行为。
  • I hope the sale of tobacco will be outlawed someday. 我希望有朝一日烟草制品会禁止销售。
2 labor P9Tzs     
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
3 appalled ec524998aec3c30241ea748ac1e5dbba     
v.使惊骇,使充满恐惧( appall的过去式和过去分词)adj.惊骇的;丧胆的
  • The brutality of the crime has appalled the public. 罪行之残暴使公众大为震惊。
  • They were appalled by the reports of the nuclear war. 他们被核战争的报道吓坏了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 licensed ipMzNI     
  • The new drug has not yet been licensed in the US. 这种新药尚未在美国获得许可。
  • Is that gun licensed? 那支枪有持枪执照吗?
5 certified fw5zkU     
  • Doctors certified him as insane. 医生证明他精神失常。
  • The planes were certified airworthy. 飞机被证明适于航行。
6 intervention e5sxZ     
  • The government's intervention in this dispute will not help.政府对这场争论的干预不会起作用。
  • Many people felt he would be hostile to the idea of foreign intervention.许多人觉得他会反对外来干预。
7 pregnancy lPwxP     
  • Early pregnancy is often accompanied by nausea.怀孕早期常有恶心的现象。
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage.怀孕期吸烟会增加流产的危险。
8 labors 8e0b4ddc7de5679605be19f4398395e1     
v.努力争取(for)( labor的第三人称单数 );苦干;详细分析;(指引擎)缓慢而困难地运转
  • He was tiresome in contending for the value of his own labors. 他老为他自己劳动的价值而争强斗胜,令人生厌。 来自辞典例句
  • Farm labors used to hire themselves out for the summer. 农业劳动者夏季常去当雇工。 来自辞典例句
9 statistic QuGwb     
  • Official statistics show real wages declining by 24%.官方统计数字表明实际工资下降了24%。
  • There are no reliable statistics for the number of deaths in the battle.关于阵亡人数没有可靠的统计数字。
10 pregnancies 2fedeb45162c233ee9e28d81888a2d2c     
怀孕,妊娠( pregnancy的名词复数 )
  • Since the wartime population needed replenishment, pregnancies were a good sign. 最后一桩倒不失为好现象,战时人口正该补充。
  • She's had three pregnancies in four years. 她在四年中怀孕叁次。
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