Friday, March 14, 2008

Why it matters

If you haven't seen the movie The Business of Being Born I highly recommend it. If you visit the link you can watch a trailer of the movie. If you're a netflix member you can go there and rent it or view it online.

I've read all kinds of different reviews all over the internet. We had a screening of it here and it was so neat. I especially loved the part when Marsden Wagner said that if you want to have a normal birth, you had better get the hell out of the hospital. Everyone cheered.

I don't think that birth belongs in hospitals. What I see as ideal is homebirth as a choice for everyone. For the women who do not choose it they should have a birthing center to go to. It should be specialized. It's not an illness and hospitals are dirty places where people go who need medical help. I am also increasingly frustrated with how women are treated. And this is normal. Women expect it and don't question it because it's just how it is.

What is normal birth? It's what nature, evolution, God, intended. It's how our bodies were created to function. It's what is best for our bodies; emotionally and physically. Lamaze has adopted the World Health Organizations standards of care to promote normal birth. They have six care practices that promote the gold standard and are based on evidence and research. Imagine that! I really need to find this article again, but I believe it was in a national newspaper (I'm thinking Wall Street Journal or New York Times). It was an editorial and the author talked about how in all branches of medicine if they find things that work well - they do them, and if they find things that don't work well (harm, kill, or have too much risk to patients) then they don't do them anymore. The author mentioned that obstetrics is the laughing stock of the medical community because they do not follow evidence based research. It's alarming that our bodies are being put on the chopping block because of convenience for someone else. It's time for us to own our bodies, and our births.

These six care practices are
*Labor should begin on it's own. Your body and your baby will work together and when it is time you will go into labor. There are so many incredible risks to induction that it's disgusting that these methods are used in upwards of 75% of births in the US. I've heard a few women say lately that they just don't go into labor naturally. If labor is so broken, if birth is so dangerous, if our bodies really fail us that much - WHY is the human species thriving? Birth works, and it's not an accident how it works.
*Freedom of movement throughout labor. If you have had a baby, specifically in a hospital, where did you end up spending most of your time? I was in bed, tied to an IV, a blood pressure cuff, a contraction monitor, and an electronic fetal monitor. Later an epidural catheter in my back. Even before the epidural moving about was not a choice. I had no idea it would be easier, beneficial to me and my baby.
*Continuous labor support. Was your nurse or midwife rubbing your back? Massaging your feet? Telling you that you were wonderful? Supporting you, inspiring you, helping you, serving you? Most nurses are sitting at the nurse station in front of a computer watching 4 laboring moms at a time on their monitor. It's true that you may get a superb care provider who does stay with you continually and keep your best interests at heart. They are few and far between but they are brilliant people.
*No routine interventions during labor and birth. What exactly are these "interventions"? This is not a problem with mothers who have other issues in labor who may truly find these things necessary. This is a problem with the conveyor belt routine that all women who enter a hospital door are pushed through - without reason. These things are not beneficial and can actually be quite harmful. In a recent survey of women these were the findings:
Continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM)(93 percent)
Restrictions on eating (87 percent)
IV fluids (86 percent)
Restrictions on drinking (66 percent)
Episiotomy (35 percent)
Epidural anesthesia (63 percent)
Artificially ruptured membranes (55 percent)
Artificial oxytocin augmentation (53 percent)
Cesarean surgery (24 percent)
Just as an example we'll use the EFM. When this was introduced into the hospitals it had only one affect. It didn't save babies. It didn't help mothers. It significantly raised the cesarean rate. It has never shown any benefit, but only shown risk. And we have done it for decades while more and more women have been scarred from surgery and barred from having a future normal birth.
*Women should not give birth on their backs. I just read a wonderful blog post over at Rixa's and she has some great references. In the recent issue of Mothering magazine there is an article about a woman finding true info and acting on it and going on to leave her OB practice and birth at a birthing center. The midwife tells her in a tour that she can give birth any way she wants, except on her back because it's dangerous. Hallelujah! What a wonderful midwife. It is dangerous. It's also inefficient and painful. But it's easier for the doctor right? What are we paying these people for? 5 minutes of their time to come sit on a stool with a scalpel in hand in between your spread eagled legs? Is that worth thousands of dollars?
*No separation of mother and baby with unlimited opportunity for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is one of my hot buttons. There really is no debate about what is best for you and your baby. Breastmilk is normal and created specifically for your baby. Formula is inferior and was created with a farmer's pocketbook in mind when he had all the waste product from his dairy production. With half of it made from high fructose corn syrup... The minutes after birth are so important for bonding. A mother and baby need continuous skin to skin contact. The bath can wait. Anything that needs to be done to the baby can be done with the baby on your chest.

We would save millions of dollars and have healthier and happier mothers and babies if we followed these suggestions from the World Health Organization. Unfortunately most hospitals in the
US don't. For convenience or litigation worries, it doesn't matter. Women and their babies matter. And why? We are building future generations and what happens when a baby is born will affect him and his mother for the rest of their lives.

I hate to feel like I'm shoving anything down someone's throat. I'm passionate about pregnancy and birth because we are hurting women and babies. I'm stamping my feet and shouting, "It's not fair!". It matters - it matters so much. These things they do to women are not normal, they are not safe, they do not benefit moms or babies. It says something about our society when we examine how we treat the delicate and innocent. Look what we do to them! We spend more money on maternity care - doing all this unnecessary stuff - and we have the worst outcomes for any developed nation for mothers and babies. We need to do something. Birth is not the means to an end - it is a beginning. And it is important.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I signed up for netflix just to get this movie. It was amazing. I cried, laughed, screamed, and felt really sad at parts.

It was so inspiring. I think that the way we bring our babies into the world is in trouble. When and where did we lose our voice, our voice that the women who came before us fought so hard to get. We are lying on our backs giving it up. Many are afraid to stand up to the almighty Dr.

Frankly I see our country in a similar state. We are laying on our backs giving into all of the crap and deceit that is going on in the government and we are sitting in our homes with blind faith the those elected know what is best for us. The same thing many women do with their OB's, just blindly follow them thinking that they actually care about them, when in fact they are just out for the money and out to protect themselves from a lawsuit.

Sorry for getting off topic!