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Fund Prenatal Care, Not Fancy Machines

March 08, 1992

Your article "Home Uterine Monitors Give Birth to Debate" (Jan. 12) was an excellent testimony to the way that today's runaway technology is being thrust upon pregnant women without any proof of its benefits.

In fact, as noted in the article, machines such as electronic fetal heart monitors used during labor are not only expensive but may lead to unnecessary, costly and potentially dangerous Cesarean deliveries.

All of this wasted money would be much better spent on a national prenatal care system--something that women have access to in the many nations with far better infant mortality rates than the United States.

I disagree, however, with the article's statement that it is "nearly impossible" to discontinue using fetal heart monitors in labor--merely because they are already being routinely strapped to women all over the country.

It is morally wrong to subject people to unnecessary or harmful procedures and technologies. Should we have continued X-raying pregnant women just because we had already been doing so? Protocols can be changed, even if it takes consumer demand. We need to strike that delicate balance between technology and good, simple care.

Money needs to be spent on prenatal care programs and not on machines whose value for routine use is questionable.


San Clemente

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