About a century ago, childbirth was a painful and risky process, and maternal and infant mortality rates were significantly higher than they are today. Over the years, new technologies have been developed to make childbirth easier, more comfortable and safer, and they are now being used in hospitals and maternity clinics in many countries.
Here is a look at four countries where technology plays an important role in ensuring safe pregnancies and childbirths….
The United States is a world leader in reproductive technology, but it is also one of the costliest places to give birth. According to an analysis performed by Truven Health Analytics, the fees for delivering babies in the U.S. have tripled since 1996.
One of the reasons why Americans are paying more for prenatal care and childbirth is because they have access to the most advanced facilities and technologies. Hospitals and maternity clinics in the country use a wide range of technologies to make pregnancy and childbirth as comfortable and safe as possible, including non-invasive blood testing, ultrasound scanning, spinal anesthesia, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), cesarean section, vacuum extraction and others.
Cesarean sections, which are surgeries for delivering babies through their mothers’ abdomens, have significantly reduced childbirth mortality rates, and they are becoming an increasingly preferred option among American women.
All the prenatal and childbirth technologies that are commonly used in the U.S. are also available in the UK. British women have several options when it comes to choosing a place to give birth. They can either have their babies delivered in a maternity ward in a hospital, a facility that is run by a general practitioner or midwife, or at home.
Some hospitals and clinics have several different delivery methods for women to choose from, including giving birth in an adjustable delivery bed, bean bag chair or water, or by cesarean section.
In the UK, pregnant women can easily obtain information and advice including via articles on any topic related to pregnancy and childbirth from medical organizations, such as “considerations about where you deliver your baby“, “tips for preparing for your childbirth” and “ways to manage postpartum depression”.
In Germany, doctors and midwives can provide prenatal care, but only gynecologists can perform ultrasound scanning.
Women who want to avail of high-tech care usually go to hospitals to deliver their babies, while those who wish to give birth in a more holistic way may opt for birthing houses. Germany also has all the latest prenatal and childbirth technologies.
Japanese physicians use technology extensively when they are providing prenatal care. Most of them require pregnant women to undergo ultrasound scanning on every visit.
Delivery of babies is normally performed in one of three types of places, namely, hospitals, maternity clinics and birthing houses. Most Japanese women prefer vaginal delivery over cesarean section, and they usually give birth without using anesthesia.
As medical technology continues to improve, childbirth will be an increasingly easy and safe experience for women.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from technology to family issues.