Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Anti Science Hippie Moms...."

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today asking for positive thoughts of comfort for her 17 yr old sister who was having a baby in a hospital with no doula or support people around her. She was concerned because of her own experience as a young woman birthing in the hospital with little choices offered and no one to help empower her. Her's was similar to mine, forced episiotomy, student OB's, a lot of interventions that were never quite explained and a lot of pain and suffering afterwards. A commenter on her post suggested that " I know the anti-science anti-doctor meme in the hippy community has some merit - however some docs are the reason baby and mom survived !" This is the last kind of comment a mother of 3, who has had 3 different births in 3 different settings and knows from experience what happens in a large portion of mother's experiences needs to hear from a "friend."

Please don't assume that people who support natural birth and dont advocate for healthy, low risk women to birth in hospitals don't do their homework, there is plenty of science that supports it. But yes, we are blessed when there are the couple of doctors who really do provide good support. But really, how long is the doctor there for? There are hours and hours for most first time moms with no support at hospitals and scientific studies show that when interrupted in labor by strangers, the physiological conditions that support a healthy biologically correct birth get disturbed and that does cause the complications that often require the help of the doctor to "save them" as she put it.

This article by Alice Dregger, so eloquently points out the misunderstanding fueled by the unethical treatment of women by doctors in the birthing business. 

Credit for pic and a great article can be found here.

" in the U.S., "obstetricians are the experts and the experts have come to see birth as dangerous and frightening." De Vries suggests that the organization of maternity care in this country -- "the limited choices that American women have for bringing their baby into the world, what women are not told about dangers of intervening in birth, and the misuse of science to support the new technologies of birth" -- actually constitutes an ethical problem, although we typically do not recognize it as one."

There are many people who also are under the misconception that midwives are not educated or do not have scientific studies to back up the "witchcraft" that they support. Yet time and time again, studies point to less intervention, less disruption, less meddling and better outcomes for both mothers and babies, long term.  The use of inductions , routine fetal monitoring, epidurals, and the inability to eat or move around freely has disrupted the normal processes of birth, increasing risks to the point that the Royal College of Obstetrics has made claim that there are too many babies born in hospitals.  

 Hospitals around the country are at the beginning phases of implementing a new paradigm into the birth culture of their institutions.  This is a wonderful starting point to shift the commonly held belief that birth is inherently risky and we NEED interventions to be safe. There are 30 other countries that have a better maternal mortality rate than the USA. Obviously, we can improve this. 

When a friend expresses her concern for a loved one, obviously, insulting them with stereotypes is not the nicest thing to do, but even more than that, carrying around this attitude and spreading it is dangerous. When it is already so hard to make decisions and swim through the information that you have to search for because it is not readily offered by your paid professionals in so many cases, the perception of your peers can influence the decisions that are made. If you are going to give advice to someone, please make sure it is accurate, you could be doing more harm than good. And if you made some of the decisions that have been proven to be not as safe as we think, and nothing bad happened to you, consider yourself lucky. This is the exception, not the rule, and it is very invalidating to be talked to like you don't have a reason to be concerned, when you are following your instincts and doing your homework. Being concerned when you have this knowledge is healthy. 

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