Why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, does the United States have among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world? Why do pregnant women who are planning to breastfeed receive “free” samples of infant formula from American obstetricians? Why are American newborns given a vaccine at birth against hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease? The Business of Baby, an eye-opening work of investigative journalism, exposes how our current cultural practices during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of a baby’s life are not based on the best evidence or the most modern science, revealing how American moms and their babies are being undermined by corporate interests. An illuminating combination of meticulous research and in-depth interviews with parents, doctors, midwives, nurses, health care administrators, and scientists, Margulis’s impassioned and eloquent critique is shocking, groundbreaking, and revelatory. The Business of Baby arms parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their infants.
Award-winning investigative journalist/mother of four Margulis comes to some startling conclusions in this comprehensively researched examination of the business of giving birth in America. Beginning with pregnancy and ending at baby's first birthday, the text follows in rough chronological order the issues that parents face, from prenatal care, labor and delivery, to potty training and well-baby pediatrician visits. Margulis raises the question of why the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country. She interviews doctors, midwives, parents, scientists and others, hunting down the corporate profits and private interests that "trump mom and baby," relentlessly searching for evidence of why unnecessary and sometimes harmful medical interventions are practiced in American hospitals. In her search for answers, Margulis comes to some stunning realizations about practices that most parents believe to be safe, ranging from ultrasounds and C-sections to the baby's first possibly "toxic" bath in the hospital nursery (researchers, for instance, are studying a link between ultrasounds and autism; C-sections have become a dangerous "trend"). Many decisions, the author concludes, are not based upon "best evidence or best practices," but rather on medical industry profits and fear of litigation. Inspiring readers to follow her lead by trusting their instincts and questioning the status quo, Margulis delivers a compelling and thought-provoking work for every parent and parent-to-be.