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Activities / Childbirth / Colorado Livin' / Consumer / Events / Health / Motherhood / Pregnancy

Book Signing With J.D. Kleinke, Author of “Catching Babies”

I had the opportunity to talk with medical economist, healthcare policy expert and former Denver resident J.D. Kleinke about his newly released novel Catching Babies. This book is sure to create some buzz as it confronts issues such as unnecessary c-sections, the uninsured, birth trauma, the flight to homebirth and the rampant rise in post partum depression. J.D. will be at the Tattered Cover on Colfax Avenue this Thursday, March 31st, 7:30 p.m. for a book reading and signing.

This fictional work, containing several actual stories from the University of Colorado Health Sciences, set out as a nonfiction but resulted in a novel. J.D.’s motivation in writing it was similar to that of his former works but is original in its personal expression of the extreme and difficult situations in health care. This book moves deeply into the sources of great conflict, drama and dysfunction within the maternity care system.

I asked J.D. about some of the specific issues raised in the book:

Unnecessary Intervention
I asked J.D. about the changing statistics involving maternal and infant health and mortality rates. He explained it this way: The numbers are getting worse, but much of that is due to measures of our own success, an example being the delivery of super premature babies. Heroism in this line of work is creating a problem with statistics, but there are other issues to look at. There has become a trend of over intervening with drugs, c-sections and a rush to delivery. Many of these efforts are contributing to the problem – more so as the path to natural childbirth is hindered. There is a lot of overcorrecting, overreacting and over intervening – women need to take back some control.

The Uninsured
J.D. explained that there should be no uninsured residents in a wealthy country such as ours. The insured spend billions on marginal and unnecessary care while many go without any coverage. His opinion is that our system is horrendously broken and the impact of the uninsured is destructive for all of us, having profound impacts in various ways, particularly for unborn children.

His suggestions: do whatever it takes to receive proper care. There are several programs, particularly at the state level to assist expectant mothers and their unborn children. Figure out a way to get insured, even if it’s just the most basic, catastrophic only insurance – something is better than nothing. It’s irresponsible to go uninsured and can mean life or death for a baby. Insurance is the best option for society as a whole, so make some sacrifices and let insurance be a top priority.

Post Partum Depression
J.D. explained to me two reasons that post partum depression is on the rise. Reason #1 revolves around the concept that as control is taken away from the woman, there is less opportunity for the natural release of oxytocin during delivery. There is a critical hour in an all-natural vaginal delivery when a mother and baby form a special bond. While not supported by data, many professionals believe that the bonding is assisted by the release of the oxytocin hormone. The more control the mother has over her delivery, the more equipped she is to bond with her child and avoid post partum depression.

Reason #2 – We are becoming more aware of post partum depression and better at diagnosing it. Emotional and psychological awareness has been better diagnosed as a whole, resulting in increased cases of these types of conditions.

OB/GYN Residency Programs
Catching Babies gives some insight into the trying world of residency for OB/GYN doctors. When asked what the most challenging aspect of residency is for these doctors, J.D. pointed to the difficult lesson of navigating heartbreak. Residency is designed to toughen doctors and prepare them for the cruelty of nature – they witness utter devastation. He compares residency to the military in that it’s traumatic and results in a similar life-changing phenomenon leaving people more compassionate, detached, increasingly spiritual or cruel. Each person handles it a little differently. It makes people their best and their worst.

J.D. infuses his values into his writing gives voice to the majority view. He admits that we don’t know the answers and the questions are complicated. It’s just not a simple subject matter. He holds personal feelings and religious choice in high regards, giving diversity much honor and respect.

J.D.’s advice to expectant mothers:

Know your self. Know what you really want and value out of your childbirth experience and then go get it. You have a tremendous range of choices ranging from high tech intervention to completely natural, home based…and everything in-between. Nobody can tell you what is best for you and your family. Know what you value and don’t let anyone tell you what is right or wrong. There is a lot of shaming in both directions. If you want to have a certain experience, let it be known.

Keep a sense of self and God. Childbirth is a demanding time, a moment of truth – for who we are. Plan in that profound way.

Author: Jaime

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