I follow the news about waterbirth pretty closely, as I’m always interested in things that have the potential to have an effect on our clients and their birthing choices.
You may have seen the news about DeKalb Medical Center in Georgia issuing an order to stop all waterbirths after October 31st. (If you haven’t, here’s a link to the story: Waterbirth Ban.)
As a business professional, it’s interesting to me whenever someone chooses to limit the scope of their practice and effectively send their customers elsewhere. Recently, I made a doctor’s appointment and when I’d called to schedule my appointment, the first available date was six weeks out and the receptionist asked “are you sure you really want to wait that long?” It wasn’t urgent, the doc came highly recommended, and I was totally fine with waiting.
Anyway, I mentioned it to the doctor that he might suggest a different way to word the appointment issue to potential customers and I said “after all, we’re all in sales, right?” He laughed, and agreed, and said that he’d talk with the staff about how to handle appointment dates.
This hospital that’s banning waterbirth – they’re in sales, too. And if they don’t sell a product that people want, women are going to go elsewhere to have the births that they want. One of my friends drove nearly an hour (with a history of precipitous labors!) to have a waterbirth – bypassing dozens of hospitals across Dallas and Ft. Worth to get to the place where she could have the birth that she wanted.
I looked at De Kelb County’s birth statistics from 2015, and they had just over 11,000 births. That’s 11,000 families – CUSTOMERS – who are shopping for birth services – many of whom may choose to have another child and make a decision about a facility based on the services that are available to them. Will all of those families want or be eligible for waterbirth? No, of course not. But if even 5% or 10% of them are, then isn’t it worth finding a safe way to make it happen and get those customers in the door?