as Promised a blog on VBACs will be posted soon. but right now my brain is boiling over after 2 weeks of hearing stories about women being court ordered into c-births, and other women saying women who birth without an epidural are crazy and how could you respect them? and reading about an OB who well to put it kind would NEVER be my ob if i wanted an OB again that is. After all this my brain is boiling and well this is my blog my place to share my opinion and to have my soapbox so here is my soapbox!!!!
This is how i view the US birthing culture and what’s wrong with it.
from the time we can walk our society shows us through TV and movies that labor is painful, traumatic, and just a horrible awful experience. it tells us that we need epidurals and we need hospitals and that birthing at home is the same as illegal. i was fortunate enough to have a mom who got the best of both worlds, she got to labor at home as directed by her doctor and nurse who couldn’t admit her cause one she wasn’t far enough into labor, and two it was her due date and “no baby is ever born on their due date” so she was sent home and labored, when she finally arrived back at the hospital the nurse delivered me in the hall no drugs and tons of back labor. i grew up hearing this story and knowing i would labor just like my mom. i realize that is me that is my choice and its not for everyone, but its not for everyone i think because we as a culture don’t educate women on what childbirth is really like. so you have two kinds of women in this country. women educate themselves and who decide they are gonna be different they are going to do what they are made to do and then there are women who trust their doctors with their life and they dont see any reason to labor any way but the way the doctor tells them to.
Here is the problem with that, their doctors are OBs. and what is an OB? an OB is a trained surgeon, who often has never seen a low risk, natural, drug free labor before finishing school and going into practice. rather he has seen c-sections, knows indepth how to perform them, he knows about highrisk deliverys and the medical interventions necessary to save both mom and baby in such births. so whats the problem you ask, he is educated afterall. Yeah he is educated but he is educated to handle only about 2% of births. the other 98% are low risk and therefor his training is over doing it and the problem there is he is doesn’t know what to do so he makes something outta nothing. its like when your in school and your taking precal and the bonus question is 2+2 you know its 4 but you will stare and stare at the question trying to solve it with proofs and therams because well if its on the test there must be something more to it right, it can’t possibly be that simple. Well the way i see it the OB is doing the same thing. he is looking at the mom laboring without drugs who is talking, calm, not screaming, sleeping, and is thinking there must be something i’m missing something MUST be wrong, she must not be progressing fast enough, or maybe her contractions aren’t strong enough, she must need pitocn to speed it along i don’t want to be here all day and she obviously isn’t laboring hard enough or she would be loosing her head without an epidural.
Now these same OBs have formed a trade organization that in this country has a lot of pull in the medical field, they are the ones afterall who solely deliver babys in hospitals, they use the drugs out there that they claim are safe in labor. They are called the ACOG. ACOG publishes their opinions on different birthing drugs, methods, procedures just like the WHO, the CDC or the AAP. but its important to remember that they are a trade organizations made up of OBs, so obviously their opinions are going to be skewed, one to benefit them and two to fit within their standard of practice which remember is based on their training of delivering high risk babies. and generally their opinions are great when taken in context, however, in our culture we take them as GOD on the topic of birth and we apply their opinion to all labor practices. and well that is just wrong in my opinion because as i said their opinion is obviously skewed they are a trade organization made up of OBs!
Ok so now we have movies, TV, and our OBs telling us that we need medical interventions so its no wonder in this culture women who want to labor the way God intended us to feel like the hospital is the worst place in life, they know that with the OBs running the scene their wishes will hardly stand a chance. so the alternate? well labor at home with midwives.
well unless you have an amazing insurance provider, have some extra cash lying around, and are ofcourse fortunate enough to have a midwife in your area and know about her, your screwed! we have to fight and fight to even try to have a home birth in this country. and then ofcourse whether you have a home birth or choose to birth naturally in the hospital you are looked at as if you are nutso! and well i think thats a problem. Now as a doula i believe everyone is entitled to the birth they desire drugs or no drugs, home or hospital. but i do find a problem in so many running to the hospital to get their epidural and here is why…..
you spent the last 10months (yes its 10 not 9, 40 weeks divided by 4 is not 9!) avoiding every drug, coffee/soda, second hand smoke, lifting objects, roller coasters, pretty much everything only to in the last 10-12 hours (average) load your child up on every drug known to man to alter labor. why? what is the point? you mine as well have changed nothing in your life. i know they say the drugs are safe but no drug is safe, if it was you wouldn’t need a doctor to administer them with you on monitors and having your blood pressure taken every 15min! come on women we are smarter than this!
ok so now lets look at those drugs. they are amazing and are totally necessary when used for their proper purpose. For a women who as been labor for 24 or 36 hours, who is tired worn out and maybe even been denied food because she is in the hospital that epidural can do amazing things to aid her labor. however for the mom who has had all of 1 contraction, is dialated to maybe lets say a 4 and thinks she is already in death like agony and so she needs the epidural, that epidural is going to slow her down!!!! what else is wrong with that epidural well where do i begin… 1) 98% of women will experience some kind of side effect from that epidural ranging from maybe a mild back ache that goes away a few days later, to backache that lasts the rest of their life preventing them from every vacuuming or being able to do simple chores without awful pain, to the women who becomes permenantely paralyzed. 2) labor is not painful, atleast it’s not excruciating pain and if it is that is typically an indication that is something wrong. labor contractions should be intense and a lot of work but if they make you feel like passing out or they change in painfulness at some point during your labor that is your body telling you something is wrong (it’s a built in feature God gave us so we didn’t need monitors during labor) but if you have an epidural you won’t be able to feel those early indications and as a result it might be too late, or cutting it close before you now the problem exists and where you might have had time to prepare or alter something before now you have no time and off you go to a c-section! 3) the part that most people don’t realize for some strange reason, you can’t push when you have an epidural so typically when you hear a mom say she pushed for 2 or 3 hours it’s because she at some point had an epidural and couldnt feel enough to push properly! i could probably keep going but you get the point. and know that most interventions have a long list just like this one. i mean come on people they are called interventions or augmentations because well you are doing just that you are intervening and altering the natural process. and please don’t give me a whole shpeal on how medical interventions have improved our infant mortality rate and therefore are necessary. i agree they have saved many a moms and babies who would have otherwise died but remember those cases typically are only about 2% of births the other 98% who decided to have an intervention are putting themselves at greater risk, why? cause birth has its own risks to begin with, then each individual intervention has its own risk, and every time you use an intervention you add the risks of it with the risks of anything else you have done plus the risks of labor in general. its simple addition!
well that is my soapbox, women need to educate themselves, talk to other women who have labor without drugs, don’t trust your doctors so blindly or the ACOG! do your reasearch, know that stuff is biased and should be taken in context and then decided what is right for you! ok well that’s my soap box, i invite the comments, questions, or debates!
One more thing i wanted to amend this to say is if anyone was interested in any of the stuff i mentioned above there are some great resources out there on interventions, the birthing culture of the US Vs. other countries, and in general the statistics of birth in US. i would recomend for starters watching the business of being born there are some fabulous OBS and MDs who give great support to natural birth (that is where the 98% low risk 2% high risk statistic comes from). an Amazing book on interventions is called Creating Your Birth Plan (this is one source i have for intervention side effects like those i listed for on the epidural- i also found those same side effects for the epidural listed in Your Best Birth where they talk about how those use to be the guidelines the anesthesiologist practiced under but they have since changed to accomodate women who wanted the epidural earlier or later in labor). anyway even if you don’t actually write a birth plan Creating your birth plan goes in-depth on the most common interventions plus a few more, it gives the valid reasons for such an intervention, its purpose, its history, side effects, alternatives, and it even touches on reasons the doctors or nurses may give that may not necessarily be the best advice and why. and another amazing book that goes into depth on how “much the available research does not support common medical opinion and practice” is called The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. it touches on the common practices in our birthing culture and the available research, as well as labor itself, interventions, VBAC safety, Doulas, and medical practitioners and birth locations. Feel free to email me if you would like more sources on anything i mentioned or anything else birth/baby related. Dr.Sears and Dona.org are also great sites!