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Can Insurance Policies Hurt New Moms & Babies?

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Insurance Companies and Maternal Health

When it comes to health care for pregnant women, “Insurance makes the rules and the physicians follow them,” says obstetrician and maternal mortality expert Dr. Alan Lindemann. “This can cause a great deal of harm to both mothers and babies.”

Insurance companies dictate what physicians can and can’t do. So, if doctors want to keep mothers in the hospital for an extra day after giving birth, they may not be permitted to do so. Premature discharge of babies interferes with the hospital staff’s ability to see if the parents know how to feed the baby and recognize when the baby is hungry.

“Years ago, patients were sent home when they were ready to go,” says Dr. Lindemann. “Physicians decided when they were ready. Today patients are handed a bunch of videos, and that counts for teaching. Nothing could be more ridiculous.”

Pressing for Progress

Dr. Lindemann offers unconventional solutions for improving the state of health care for pregnant women, new mothers, and babies.

Preventing Failed Pregnancies

Dr. Lindemann has developed a protocol for people who have experienced failed pregnancies and fear losing another baby. The protocol includes checking for ureaplasma, mycoplasma, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, as well as group B strep and bacterial vaginosis.

For women who have trouble with miscarriage, fertility physicians sometimes suspect endometriosis and they operate to remove the adhesions. “It seemed to me that operating on these patients time after time simply generated more adhesions,” says Dr. Lindemann. “I have long suspected that the infections themselves can cause adhesions, although as far as I know this notion has never been tested.”

“In my experience, time after time these patients who lose several pregnancies present with underlying ureaplasma, mycoplasma, or group B strep,” says Dr. Lindemann. “Currently, women with group B strep are treated when they appear at the hospital to deliver their baby. What we don’t know is how many miscarriages might have been caused by this organism, even if some women make it to their delivery date.”

One patient who had failed in vitro pregnancies on four continents was diagnosed with ureaplasma, and then treated with doxycycline. She became pregnant six weeks following her treatment and delivered a healthy baby.

Birthing Center Hotel

“A birthing center hotel as part of a specialty hospital prevents unneeded cesareans— performed just to get patients out of the hospital in the time allowed by insurances,” says Dr. Lindemann. “I’ve been told that a nearby hospital now starts all inductions at five minutes past midnight to accommodate the insurance company demands for short stays.”

Dr. Lindemann suggests that the cost of an obstetric hotel is far less than the cost of a day or two in the NICU (an average of $3,000 per day). He also believes the added time allowed for delivery is more likely to allow a high-risk mother to carry her baby longer, promoting the delivery of a healthy infant.

“Doctors need to take back control of medicine,” says Dr. Lindemann. “The physicians and patients should be in charge of determining what care is needed. The lives and well-being of pregnant women depend upon it.”

Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know (Consumer Action Guide)

Dr. Lindemann, with Diane Haugen, wrote this book in 1992 because even back then, Dr. Lindemann was very concerned about the forces increasingly taking medical decisions out of the hands of physicians and in doing so, rapidly increasing the cost of health care. At that time, the writers thought that with some discussion of what was going on in health care, consumers would be able to take back control of their health care system. They concentrated on three main players in the takeover of the healthcare system:
Corporately controlled medical facilities,
Health insurance companies, and
Lawyers and the malpractice industry.
Unfortunately, consumers have been unable to stop the flow of the control of physician decision-making largely because physicians have increasingly become employees of these organizations instead of independent practitioners. —Publisher

About: An obstetrician and maternal mortality expert, “Rural Doc” Alan Lindemann, M.D. teaches women and their families how to create the outcomes they want for their own personal health and pregnancy. A former Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Dakota, he is currently a clinical faculty member available to serve as preceptor with medical students in rural rotations. In his nearly 40 years of practice, he has delivered around 6,000 babies and achieved a maternal mortality rate of zero! Learn more at

Photo by Luma Pimentel on Unsplash

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