When I was a new Labor and Delivery nurse, I was shocked to learn of the number of labor inductions scheduled at year's end for the sole purpose of saving a family money on their IRS return.
Yet for the seasoned Labor and Delivery nurse, this is simply an occurrence that happens and is apart of the territory.
This is one of the many practices that take place in Obstetrics, and is just another Ho-Hum addition to the growing number of unquestioned conventions in the American practice of medicine.
As an example, the fact that health care practitioners don't seem to question and are indeed apathetic to the Health Insurance Industry control of medical practice; or the fact that 26.1 million people don't have health insurance in this country (before Obama Care, that number was 50 million); or that Health Insurance Companies will demand that patients pay out of pocket for medical care, with health insurance companies still exerting all control, denying claims and care, is the reason most health care practitioners favor a Single Payer, Medicare For All delivery system.
But I digress.
The modern world has created a society where people look to convenience and choice as opposed to the natural harmony and synchronization of mother, placenta and fetus doing their magic to create the birth of a healthy baby.
While I accept what a parent chooses in all matters, and serve their hopes, wishes and dreams, my job is to look at the risks and benefits of theses choices and help guide where ever I can.
The practice of timing tax deductions by inducing labor or scheduling Cesarean deliveries may put mother and child at risk, in some cases, life threatening risk.
Late in the 1990's, a new tax credit was introduced in the United States for babies born on or before 12/31.
That year the total a person was eligible to receive was $3800.00. Now the grand total tax credit is $3600 in 2021.
Researchers estimate that this tax law increases the probability that parents with babies with due dates in early January bump the date of delivery to the end of December by an ever increasing rate.
This trend continues to this day with more and more babies born when it's convenient for the parents, and the tax code.
Parents need to know that what appears to be a financially prudent decision may have costs that no one is emphasizing loud enough.
The birth process is speeded up with Pitocin (a synthetic form of Oxytocin, the natural hormone that stimulates the onset of labor) and/or other labor inducing drugs, causing the onset of heavy painful contractions. This in turn often leads to the patient requesting an epidural, which may slow down contractions thus causing the need for more pitocin to speed up the process of labor.
These drugs, like all drugs, transfer to the placenta and the baby, often causing fetal distress in the form of a drop in the fetal heart rate, lower apgar scores, neonatal jaundice, respiratory disorders, and other complications, all signaling what I call a traumatic birth.
Granted, birth is a traumatic event under normal circumstances. But the conditions I've just described are becoming more the norm.
Natural childbirth is a rarity, although a growing number of women are opting for the more natural approach.
The World Health Organization and the United States Department of Health and Human Services as well as other service organizations, through the Healthy People Project, sought to reduce the number of Primary Cesarean Sections performed in the US to 15% or less by the year 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provisional data from 2019 (released May 20, 2020) show that 31.7% of all births were by Cesarean. I know we can do better.
Women: You need to know that you can take an active role in deciding exactly what you want for your birthing experience.
Tax codes, doctors, nurses or midwives are not the authorities in your life.
If you truly want to time your birth in order to get a tax break in this fragile economy, and the temptation is real, then do it and we will help you achieve an optimal outcome.
But please know that the birth of your child is one of the peak experiences of your life time.
Make that the focus of your attention.
Allow the ways of the world to recede.
Because they will return again, soon enough.