Thursday, July 3, 2008

In Doctors We Trust? Part 2

Another aspect of medical care that women are mis- or under-informed about is childbirth. Our culture has taught us that having a baby is full of risks and complications when in fact it is a normal, safe part of life. Yes, there can be legitimate problems, but that is the exception, not the norm. Many inventions (IVs, artificial rupture of membranes, induction, C-section) are actually performed unnecessarily. Sometimes these things are done because the doctor is impatient, the woman is impatient, or the doctor is afraid of being sued (can we blame him/her in today's "lawsuit-happy" world?). But often interventions are performed because doctors and women have been conditioned to believe that childbirth can't happen safely by itself on its own time.

It is so important to read and be informed!

Obstetricians are trained as specialists and surgeons and are therefore taught to look for problems and what to do in emergencies. But what about a woman who is a week overdue? Is that an emergency needing induction? How about a woman in labor but who is progressing slower than average? Is there a problem with her body? And why is it necessary for every woman to have an IV when she is eating and drinking to keep up her energy (which is safe despite outdated policies)?

It is so important to read and be informed! Then you are equipped to make responsible decisions and not blindly trust what one doctor believes.

Brian and I recently watched a documentary on homebirth called The Business of Being Born. It talks about the medical aspect of birth and how it often works against women. So many people believe homebirth is not safe, but that is simply not true. Statistically, homebirth is actually safer than hospital birth! Women are more comfortable at home and are allowed to labor longer without fear of interventions that hinder or slow the birth process (epidurals, continuous fetal monitoring, etc.).

Most women decide against homebirth for various reasons. Personally, I have chosen a hospital birth because Brian feels more comfortable with that option AND a homebirth would not be covered by my insurance AND the fact that the closest homebirth midwife is 90 minutes away . (I already have to travel an hour to see my midwife who practices in a hospital.) But it is so important to be informed and know your options wherever you choose to birth, not just assume what you hear in the media or even from your doctor is true.

What do you think? I'd love to hear more opinions!

In Doctors We Trust? Part 1


  1. Honestly, I like being in the hospital. I did labor at home longer this time, but I am much more comfortable knowing whats happening. I prefer to lay in the bed hooked up to the fetal monitor... not so much that I'm worried about the baby, but I like for my husband to be able to tell me when the contraction has peaked. :) Somehow it makes it easier to handle when I know that this contraction is the biggest one so far... wow, by far! I know it's a mental thing, but I'll take it. :)

  2. It's so interesting you wrote about this. After 5 hospital births I'm going to be switching from my trusty OB to a midwife. The idea of being at home still scares me, so I might still end up at a hospital.. but it will be a smaller, closer, home-town place. I'm tired of being induced and medicated and poked and prodded and having a monitor strapped on squeezing my contracting belly causing even more pain.

    I'm done with that! :-)

  3. I agree with you... unfortunately I don't get the option. I hate having an IV and having a monitor on me at all times. Yuck!

  4. I am getting ready for a Dec. birth... and it will be my 3rd C-Sec. I am just thankful that I have access to a good hospital, a caring OB and a hubby that will helo with the other little ones! lol
    Many blessings!

  5. I like this. I have recently been doing a little research on homebirthing, and even *gasp* unassisted homebirthing. :) I am positive my next birth will be a homebirth, but my husband and I are still discussing the idea of going unassisted. Even when I gave birth at a birth center with a wonderful midwife, I still felt like there were several things I would have done differently (that would have been better, more comfortable, and easier) if it was left up to me.
    I am coming to the conclusion that nobody knows a woman's body like the woman herself! Sometimes, it's hard to really get in tune with our bodies, but I really believe it's possible. However, it also depends on the desire. Sometimes, it's easier to let people do the work for us, especially when we're in pain and we just want to "get the baby OUT!" :)
    Anyway, thanks for the post. I like your thoughts!

  6. Kristen: Yes! I just had my 3rd child, and second homebirth. All of my children haven out-of-hospital births (the first was in a freestanding waterbirth center) and I completely agree. I feel that, often, doctors view childbirth as a medical emergency until proven otherwise, whereas midwives see it as being a normal process until proven otherwise. My husband and i were able to see the film you mentioned, and it was amazing. I loved having my children at home, in water, with a midwife. Thanks for putting such positive stuff out there, I think the world needs to hear it more.


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