Sunday, June 27, 2010

Unassisted childbirth

I think hardly any discussion about giving birth can be complete without mentioning at least a couple of anecdotes about unassisted births – "parking lot births", "traffic jam births", "cleaning-the-floor-thinking-there's-still-time births". Those are usually mentioned in humorous context, complete with panicky husbands vowing to tear off to the hospital next time as soon as there is a first sign of contractions. There are also, however, women for whom unassisted birth is a conscious choice.

When I first heard about women opting to have their babies at home, unattended by either doctor or midwife, the whole concept sounded awfully risky to me. Also, as someone who had never given birth before, I was highly doubtful of my own capability to give birth naturally. Only later, after my daughter was born, I told myself "yes, I probably could have done this on my own"; although I must say the midwives who attended my delivery were sincerely kind, caring, motherly older women who were very attentive to my wishes, and having them there was very comforting and reassuring. Once the baby was in my arms I was hugged and kissed by them and told how great I did and how amazing I was (although, I must say, I believe it's them who were amazing). They told me it's rare to attend a drug-free, active and peaceful birth, because most women opt to have an epidural without even considering another option. The excitement for us clearly shone in their faces, even though they, of course, deliver babies every day and clearly had many years of experience under their belts. I can only hope I fall under the care of such fantastic midwives this time, too.

I do support midwifery; midwives were present in all traditional cultures. They were usually familiar with the expectant mother, and assisted her in her own home. That's the downside of hospital births here: unless you pay for a private midwife, the ones attending your birth will be strangers. You never know who will happen to be on duty on that particular shift. You may get lucky, like I did last time – or, sadly, you might have to fight to give birth peacefully and naturally in spite of unnecessary interference. I have read some horror stories on the internet (I must say that's not a very wise move for an expectant mother) about really traumatic interference which prompted women to seek unassisted birth in the future, because of the insensitive way they were treated during birth, regardless of how safe or unsafe they believe it might be.

Anyway, I do believe that women ought to educate themselves on the matter of unassisted childbirth, even if they, like me, think they will probably never attempt one. The simple knowledge that most likely, if you are healthy and your pregnancy proceeded as usual, you are capable of giving birth all on your own with no complications, eliminates a lot of the fear and worry associated with birth, increases your awareness of the reactions of your own body, and boosts your confidence. The medical staff are there to assist you, not to deliver your baby for you.

Every year, many women have unplanned unassisted births, because they don't make it to hospital on time, or because the midwife doesn't turn up on time in their home. The fear of such a scenario, in particular for women who plan to have a hospital birth, prompts them to go to the hospital way too soon, when the labor is just beginning and can easily be stalled in a strange, unfriendly environment where the woman is constantly poked and prodded – thus the "need" for so many artificial inductions and the resulting snowball of interventions which would have been wholly unnecessary if only the doctors had enough patience to step back, allow the woman time and space to be, and wait for things to progress at their own pace. Women have been having babies since the beginning of time; what an arrogant misconception it is to believe that only  the use of artificial hormones can help things roll!

Just an example we discussed this very morning during a neighborly chat: one woman told of her experience three months ago with her son. Labor started at home and she felt fine, contractions were entirely manageable while she was busy packing up the children's things. She went to the hospital when she believed it was time to go. In the hospital, she was forced to lie down for a prolonged session of monitoring. She was not allowed to change positions, which of course led to excruciating pain during contractions. Instead of allowing her to move, they insisted the only solution for her was to take an epidural (she was very surprised when I told her I was monitored while sitting on the birthing ball), which made her cease progressing and her labor had to be artificially sped up with pitocin. A perfect case of a normal birth process turned into a medical emergency for no reason at all. To add insult to injury, during the final stage of delivery the doctor mocked her for not being able to get the baby out fast enough: "what's your problem, you only have a 2,5 kilo baby there!" Her son arrived weighing 3,6 kilos. So much for professional accuracy. 

Not long ago, there appeared a short story in one of the Israeli newspapers about a woman who had her baby during a bus trip. She realized the baby was coming, asked the driver to stop, came off the bus, had the baby then and there, then got up, boarded the bus again and asked to be driven to a hospital for her check-ups. Not surprisingly, this woman recently arrived to Israel from Ethiopia, where the culture was so much more accepting of natural birth as an integral part of life, not an emergency. Had she panicked when she realized she won't make it to the hospital, I'm sure she and her baby would have been much worse off. She followed the natural leads of her body, relaxed, and let her baby arrive, while fear might have caused a fight or flight reaction which could lead to the birth process being stuck at a crucial stage.

I do believe it's probably better to be attended by a professional, at least during the final stages of delivery when help might be needed to safely guide the baby out. Emergencies do happen, and however few they are, it's worthwhile to minimize risks. However, it is comforting to know that most likely, even if you are stuck somewhere without reach of a hospital, birthing center or midwife, you can manage on your own and you and your baby will be fine. Today, the prevalent attitude is that if a woman doesn't arrive at the hospital on time something terrible will probably happen, which is not true in most of the cases.

My doctor recently told me that in Israel, there is now a shortage of medical students who are willing to specialize in obstetrics, which is considered less prestigious than other fields of expertise. The result is that there are less OB/GYNs. I actually think it's not such a bad thing. If there are fewer doctors, maybe the entire system will have to be re-evaluated, in a way that normal, straightforward births are given over to midwifery care and doctors only stand by for emergencies. If there simply aren't enough doctors to hover over every healthy woman who comes to have a baby and push unnecessary inductions and epidurals, I think ultimately it will be for the best of everyone involved.

A good place to start reading about unassisted childbirth is this website. Obviously I disagree with some things she says, such as the case against circumcision (as Orthodox Jews, we will never question the "necessity" of circumcision), but some of the stories are quite amazing. The main concept is something I agree with: in the vast majority of cases, birth will go most smoothly and peacefully when the laboring woman is left well alone, and the attendants, such as midwives and doctors, should take the position of gentle observance rather than pushy interference. During birth, a woman needs all that is comforting and reassuring.

31 comments:

Sarah Brodsky said...

I agree that a lot of current attitudes toward childbirth could change for the better. However, I don't think the "women have been having babies for thousands of years" argument really works here. Until very recently, women were likely to die in childbirth whether or not it was attended by someone. It's only in the past couple hundred years that society produced enough food for entire populations to be well-nourished enough to have safe deliveries. (See, for example, Robert Fogel's research on changes in the human body and life expectancy.)

Candy said...

Great post! I have had one midwife-assisted birth and one husband-assisted (i.e. "unassisted") birth and if/when we have more children, I will likely choose another unassisted birth, as it went so smoothly and naturally. We chose this route after much consideration and research and education and I will stand by it. Thank you for your post about it! May your birth go smoothly, assisted or otherwise!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. Mary R.

Lena Michalev said...

Interesting post. My mom tells me that when she was pregnant with me, I was born breech and I was 4kg...
Since it was a breech birth, and she went into labor on Friday morning, they induced her further to make sure that I would be born on Friday. Reason being was that all the best doctors would be leaving for the week-end and they needed their most qualified staff because it was considered a high risk birth. Not only that, but when she asked them for a C-section, they said No, and that she'll be just fine without it. Epidurals didn't exist back then, and she just got some IV pain medicine to take the edge off.
Overall she delivered safely and recovered quickly. Right now I suffer from a left hip dysplasia (which may or may not be related to the breech birth, but being born like that puts you at a much higher risk for a hip dysplasia).

Lena Michalev said...

I would also like to add, I agree with Sarah Brodsky, about "women have been having babies for thousands of years" argument not being a very good one. My great grandmother lived in a village, where all their childbirths were unassisted. Out of her 12 children, only 3 survived (my grandma and her 2 brothers). Also, many women used to die during childbirth as well. I agree that it should be done with minimal or no interference if possible, but today's medicine saved many lives and drastically increased the survival rates for both mothers and their children.

Rightthinker-Andrea said...

One (and many do) argue that women died from childbirth at higher rates, due to many issues that have nothing to do with medicalized birth being their savior! Women had been birthing at home for centuries, because that's the only choice they had-poor conditions of health, or not. Now we are realizing with overall health, we often do best by allowing the God-given bodies of women to labor and deliver unhindered and manipulated by OB's with agendas.

While medicine and developments in childbirth certainly have their place, unecessary c-sections, epidurals and the complications of medical birth in the US is skyrocketing. The WHO estimates that over 90% of women in the US can safely give birth at home-yet the c-section rate is over 50% in many areas.

This increases risks for mom, baby, subsequent pregnancies and fertility. Women with undesired c-sections are 10 times more likely to end their fertility sooner than if they would have had vaginal births. This is problematic for those of us who see the womb as a Blessing of God.

Maternal mortality has tripled in CA in the last decade, due mostly in part to medical intervention in birth: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/health&id=7254194

I greatly appreciate anyone who wishes to research birth choices. Women should be free to choose hospital births or home births. However, it's only the home birthers, or those who UP/UC who are called risky.

Those signing up for inductions, constant fetal monitoring, c-sections, forceps delivery, etc., are all "doing what's safest" for their babies, because that's what we've all been taught. No one gets blamed when a baby or mother has a bad outcome in a hospital, but rarely a bad outcome at home, and it's due to the "choice" they made to birth naturally.

I appreciate this article, and encourage anyone interested in natural birth to visit mothering.com. The articles, and the discussion board are excellent. While I don't agree with everything on the site, it's a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area.

I'm a mom of soon to be six, and as a healthy young woman, I submitted to the notion of birth being dangerous, and work only to be done in the hospital, giving authority fully to the OB. My first four births were highly medical, and two nearly cost me my life and my fertility, because of interventions alone.

Great article, and I very much appreciate reading it!

Ganeida said...

I have had 5 natural births, including a twin birth that was excruiating due to pitocin. As twins are already considered *high risk* & there were some non~life threatening complications the pitocin was necessary. Even heavily monitored I was allowed to labour as I wished & the whole nursing staff arrived as a natural twin birth was rare at the time. I laboured in the hospital shower with my older girl & only got out when I felt the urge to push while my younger one was wedged across my pelvis. The experienced matron let me labour as I wished until bubs self~righted but her younger companion panicked & my husband fended her off. He's good that way. Every woman is different of course but being educated is important. Nearly everything a woman takes into her body crosses the placenta & affects her baby, including routine hospital procedures. It is always best to be as informed as possible, including your right to simply say, "No."

Gothelittle Rose said...

Actually, women have been having babies for thousands of years. Though some had complications and died of them, the horrible death rate that you hear about was recorded after doctors started recording death rates, but before the advent of modern medicine.

Most of the women who died in childbirth during that time did so because doctors did not wash their hands after dissecting corpses and before assisting in a birth.

Michelle Potter said...

Hear, hear!

Sarah, I think saying that women were "likely" to die in childbirth is incredibly misleading. Are you aware of the story of how the importance of a doctor washing his hands was first discovered? In the late 19th century, there was an epidemic of infanticide by poor mothers who could not care for their children, so maternity care wards began opening in Europe to offer poor women assistance during and after birth. This was the first movement of birth into hospitals. One particular maternity care center in Vienna had an atrocious maternal death rate of (on average) 10%. It was so awful that women would rather give birth in the street than this center. (In order to receive the benefits the center offered after the birth, they would pretend that labor had come upon them suddenly and they'd given birth in the street on the way there.) Eventually one of the doctors (Dr. Semmelweis) noticed that the women giving birth in the street weren't getting ill from childbed fever like the women in the center, and he eventually figured out that it was because of doctors going straight from autopsy to examining laboring women. He believed that some "cadaverous material" must be still on the doctors hands, and had them start washing their hands. This slashed their death rate to below 3%.

This story makes two points: First, if a 10% maternal mortality rate was enough to cause women to beg, plead, and cry not to give birth in this center, and ultimately they'd rather give birth in the street, obviously maternal death was *not* "likely" before the modern miracle age of medicine. Much more common than it is now, to be sure -- 3% was considered good, whereas the current US maternal mortality rate of 13.3 in 100,000 is considered scandalous -- but 3% is still not "likely." Secondly, despite all of our miracle medicine and technology, the biggest factor in the reduction of maternal deaths in all of history was when doctors (years after Dr. Semmelweis' death) finally widely accepted germ theory and began sanitation practices -- not only washing their hands, but their tools, too. Luckily, midwives in the 21st century also wash their hands. ;)

Alycia said...

I have had three midwife-assisted homebirths. The latest was five weeks ago when I gave birth to a 10 pound 4 ounce (4.7 kg) boy with absolutely no trouble or even tearing. I seriously doubt that I would have been able to find an American OB who would have even let me try to push out such a large baby, especially given my small stature.

I agree completely that the unassisted childbirth stories are an inspiration and a great way to gain confidence in the body's ability to give birth. I use Laura Shanley's website during every pregnancy for just that reason!

Thank you for another interesting post.

Laura said...

Very interesting post. I'm a huge proponent of midwifery (not MED-wifery!). Because of that, unassisted childbirth isn't necessarily bad or scary, I just personally feel like it takes an unnecessary risk when/if there are capable midwives who can be very hands-off but still be able to check on you and the baby periodically. I mean, I birthed my second child 15 minutes after I arrived at the birth center. So, I basically was almost unassisted. However, he was born with his hand by his head, and the midwife who is extremely capable, was able to ease him out so that I had minimal tearing considering his birth position. Little things like that I personally couldn't do myself while trying to birth him. I believe in a woman's body, as created by God, to birth normally and naturally most of the time with very little interference from anyone. However, it's good to have a safety net, and a midwife provides that safety without much, or any, interference to the birth process at all. I completely agree with gentle observance, Anna... beautifully put.

jiabaoyu said...

I should point out that OB/GYNs don't just deliver babies. They are doctors who specialize in women's health. Cervical cancer, endometrosis, ovarian tumors, fertility related issues are all treated by OB/GYNs.

Less OB/GYNs may mean fewer Csections as you postulate, but it may also mean longer wait times for menstrual problems, cancer checkups, and prenatal exams.

I feel you have an anti-doctor bias in your posts, which I find disheartening as I am a medical student interested in OB/GYN and I have rarely, if ever, seen the actions you accuse the medical profession of performing in the hospital.

That isn't to say it does not occur, but we see just as many patients who make foolish, misinformed medical decisions regarding their health, sometime with tragic consequences. Yet you rarely mention this possibility.

There are two sides to every story. Perhaps the doctor that seems overly aggressive had a previous patient die due to delayed medical care. Perhaps the doctor that insists on "medical intervention" when all appears fine is because they saw similar minor abnormalities which turned into a medical emergencies. After all, that's why doctors are sought after: to use their clinical experience to decipher whether a situation warrants medical attention. If anyone with a high school degree can diagnose and treatment themselves, there would be no need for doctors, nor for the years of medical training that all physicians undergo.

And not all physicians are in it 'for the money' or treat their patients as guinea pigs to try new techniques on. Many of us went into the profession because we want to alleviate suffering and treat those in need. Just as it would be wrong for me to characterize all my patients as drug seeking malingerers due to a few bad experiences, I hope you won't judge all doctors on a few bad experiences.

Laura said...

as a birthing doula and a mom of 3 who has had 1 c-section, o1 hospital VNAC and 1 purposely unassisted birth I very much enjoyed your post :)

Laura said...

I was reading through your comments and I just wanted to add a few thoughts. (I worked in a hospital in LandD for a few yrs so I have a few thoughts on it.)

many woman die during childbirth NOW. also there are many reasons woman died... mal nutrition of time times, cold and hunger were among the reasons of death during or after childbirth. the SAME risks apply to birth both then and now. unassisted birth is unassisted birth no matter where you live. the only things that change is where and what conditions you live in. most ricks woman have CAN'T be prevented no matter how much monitoring is done, the majority of life threatening issues often go undetected in hospitals even now and are not know about until after the birth. In times before many women had many more babies than they do which of course upped the odds of dieing in childbirth as well.

conversely many babies and mom's are damaged and hurt because of over interventions that are the norm in hospitals. when you out weight how many woman died then and how many women are routinely unnecessarily damaged and hurt from unneeded routine intervention the statistics look a little different.


it is important to look at all the facts before coming to conclusions on such things. I think often people assume knowledge without really understanding how to interpret the statistic and facts.

Kate said...

WOW!! You have a great perspective on UC! I enjoyed reading this post.

Kari said...

I agree - it's great when doctors/midwives let you do things on your body's own schedule! I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity here to find a knowledgeable midwife that can assist us while delivering at the hospital. Although we didn't quite make it in time to labour at the hospital last time, my understanding is that even the nurses and such stay away until the actual delivery happens (and then one just needs to be present in case the midwife needs an extra pair of hands). This makes us so much more calm about this next delivery!!

Thursday's Child said...

I have to wonder if some of the ridiculous birth practices are a result of the fear doctors have of being sued if something goes wrong. They're so determined to be entirely in control of the situation they end up making it worse in some ways.

Jo said...

The problem with un-assisted deliveries, both now and in the past is that things do/did go wrong and mothers and babies do/did die. Part of the reduction of the death rate for mums and bubs is having assistance. I would never have an un-assisted birth by choice, the baby is just to precious.

An interesting topic to discuss.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Sarah,

Of course many people died in the past because of malnutrition, especially babies and new mothers. However, what you are saying means that if people have access to good nutrition and general good living conditions, birth complications will be few and far between. Which should more or less be the situation today.

My great-grandmother delivered her seven children at home, and all were perfectly healthy. She had access to good nutrition and was generally very healthy. That was in Europe at the beginning of the 20-th century.

Contrasting with this, my husband's grandmother lost at least half of her babies. She also delivered at home (or rather, in a tent), but she lived in the desert where food was scarce, and living conditions were less than optimal.

jiabaoyu,

I'm sorry you perceive things in such a way. I have stated numerous times in my posts that doctors did and do save many lives during childbirth.

We already have to wait longer for prenatal exams due to shortage of doctors. But you know what? The majority of prenatal tests are directed towards detecting "abnormalities" in order to perform abortions. Regular check-ups are easy enough to get into.

Of course I don't think it's a good thing if we don't have enough doctors to treat actual problems. But that doctor who hovered over me pushing an epidural?? I could do perfectly well without him.

The scandalous practices I describe come from my own experience and the experience of women I personally know. Obviously we can only tell what is happening in the Israeli hospitals, but it seems the story is the same all over the world.

Perhaps the doctor has more experience than I do, but it doesn't justify trying to hook me up to an i.v. without explaining what's in it (pitocin) until pressed, and just why I need it (because I'm "late"). That's malpractice and I believe it's illegal.

Anonymous said...

the united states, which supposedly is "advanced" in medicine, and is a very big advocate of hospital births and medical intervention, has a higher infant mortality rate than cuba!

think of cuba: mostly poor, disadvantaged people, who have their babies at home. yet fewer of their babies die at birth than in the u.s.

why?

the united states practices medical intervention during childbirth.

medical intervention: it happened to me unnecessarily, it happened to my mother unnecessarily, it happened to my daughter unnecessarily.

thankfully all our children lived. and i'm sorry for the future doctor who commented that not all doctors perform unnecessary interventions.

however, i have to say, i have known a lot of women who have given birth in the u.s., and have read of/seen on television the stories of many women who have given birth in the u.s.

medical intervention is the norm. not only is it the norm, but women are almost bullied into it.

Honey Bunny said...

I watched this great film on Netflix called "The Business of Being Born". It goes into the history of Obstetrics, the pros, the cons, the hold of the insurance companies over the hospitals (which is why most hospitals in the US won't do VBACs) and midwifery. I watched it with my mother who had 3 children and worked in Obstetrics and she recommended everyone watch it including OBGYNs. It's rather terrifying at how women are treated as guinea pigs with new medicines and procedures. What I learned was that I do not want to be put on an epidural nor do I want to be "moved along" with pitocin or a similar drug.

I'm in my 19th week of pregnancy and I have a lot to think about. I hear so many women saying I'll change my mind when the pain of childbirth starts and want an epidural. But I have an intolerance to many different pain meds. Vicodin and Morphine both have no effect on my pain, rather they make me very ill and I throw up. How do I know what pitocin will do to my body? It's definitely fear that keeps me from wanting pain medication. I'm also terrible with anesthesia. I've had it 2 times so far and both times they have had a very hard time waking me up, to the point where the doctors were more than a little worried (so my mother told me).

I'd love to do a natural homebirth assisted by a midwife, but my husband is pretty nervous and would much rather I give birth at the hospital. Plus, our insurance won't cover midwives which I think is stupid because they are less expensive than a hospital and are trained to spot signs that need more assistance than a midwife can give. Midwives in the US are medical professionals who have been to more natural births than most hospital staff are exposed to combined. I would much rather trust someone who knows what a natural birth looks like than someone who is accustomed to medical intervention to speed things along.

Thank-you for this great blog post. I really enjoyed it Anna.

Anonymous said...

I cannot think that planned unattended childbirth is wise (as opposed to a woman preferring to give birth without medical intervention, but with it available if she needs and wants it), but it does seem thoroughly sensible that every expectent mother (and her partner) educate herself about what would happen "just in case". Sometimes labour comes on suddenly.

Most of all, medical practice in childbirth should be (a) informed by the latest knowledge (not the consultant's golf schedule) and (b) subject to the same rules of consent as any other medical procedure. No labouring woman should ever be told that she is "not allowed" to refuse treatment, or be subject to intervention without her informed consent.

Nineveh_uk at LJ

Mrs. Anna T said...

Honey Bunny,

When I was pregnant for the first time, most people told me I will surely need an epidural, as labor pains are the worst I will have in my life and impossible to manage.

In truth, labor pains were entirely manageable, *provided that I could be in comfortable positions*. I've had far worse pains.

You never know until you get there, but think that for most of our history, women gave birth without relieving labor pains by the use of drugs. True, maternal and infant mortality was higher, but this had nothing to do with not having drugs to relieve the pain.

That pain has a purpose. That's why it's called "labor". Your body is working towards getting the baby out, and if you are tuned in to your body, most likely you'll do just fine without being drugged.

Katy said...

Many people quote statistics on infant mortality and how high it is in the U.S. Sadly, these statistics are true. However, I am not convinced that this is due to modern medicine. My sister-in-law is an ob nurse and reports that women from low socio-economic backgrounds come in and deliver stillborn or very sick babies every day. Often drugs are involved (cocaine specifically, which causes the placenta to detach from the uterine wall). Then, there are the ladies who want their babies but have received no prenatal care and suffer from poor nutrition. It it a travesty!

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5627305&page=1

Anonymous said...

I am pregnant with my second child and recently learned I am a now carrier for a bacteria which could potentially be fatal to my baby if I am not treated with antibiotics during labor. I did some research and found that if I have antibiotics, my child's chances of contracting this are 1 in 4000. If I do not have antibiotics, they are 1 in 200. Do you think I should forgo the antibiotics and enjoy a more natual birth experience? Also, if my water breaks prior to labor, they will allow 24 hours for the labor to progress before they induce me due to this bacteria. Should I allow this?

Analytical Adam said...

That is interesting although I do have to say that I would suspect this writer who is against circumcision is very against any form of patriarchy and men in general and in some way worship the woman's body which should be kept in mind.

I say this from experience. Many people who I know who have very negative stereotypes of men amazingly when it comes to circumcision and homosexuality suddenly they have compassion for men.

Circumcision is a very major command G-d said has to be done for every Jewish male and most Jewish people circumcise their son.

Furthermore, any women who talks to men or knows men would know that most men who are circumcised don't have problems. Any women that is against circumcision I would suspect has some issues with men although she still may know a lot about women.

The fact is the torah did punish Eve for giving in to her temptation presented by the snake (and Adam was punished for gong along) is what it is and maybe G-d does make it less for those that are on guard for giving in to false temptations and in addition do want a man that wouldn't go along with her if she told him to do something against what G-d wants.

And certainly if something helps limit it you should do it but like anything else it may have it's drawbacks but I would this woman's reason is not based on G-d but based on thinking woman should limit their pain which is good but not because they are a goddess or something. Just to keep this in mind here.

In fact one of the problems I am having now was a book in my parents house that this guy actually finds circumcision to be a problem of all things and I am quite upset and offended about it. A book called Foreskin's Lament.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon,

I certainly believe that if there is REAL medical need for an intervention, by all means take it.

I do know there is some danger in the water breaking for a long time prior to labor, among other things, because of possible infection. So perhaps in some cases induction is necessary. However, there's a much higher chance of that happening if a woman is given pitocin or has her waters artificially broken in the first place. If your water breaks naturally, most likely it will happen when you are already in labor or labor follows soon.

Adam,

Yes, the secular Jews who are against circumcision, like this woman, are most likely against anything traditionally Jewish as well.

It incenses me when people compare male circumcision (which usually leads to no problems) and female "circumcision" which is a pointless and cruel genital mutilation.

Foreskin's Lament? Are you serious?? That's just hysterical, I wonder who helped him come up with a title like that.

Laura said...

Anon.- I know this is now an older post, but I wanted to let you know that midwives CAN administer antibiotics during labor. You do NOT have to go to the hospital or have an OB deliver for Strep B. Midwives can administer those antibiotics at home as well. I'm sure your OB didn't tell you this, but two things: You can take an acidophilus supplement starting around 26 weeks to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria to edge out the Strep B. Also, you can treat Strep B by inserting a garlic clove. Just be sure to tie a string around it! You should also ask your OB to check for Strep B at the hospital before they start the antibiotics. It's just good practice to not automatically take the antibiotics (especially with MRSA strains in the hospital). Strep B is something that will flare up and then go dormant. You might not have it when you go to birth the baby. So, just check!

Also, you can have your waters broken actually for quite some time before labor starts as long as you are under careful monitoring for signs of infection (this CAN be done at home), and NOTHING enters the birth canal. I say this because most OB's CAUSE infection when the water is broken by constantly checking the woman's dilation. It doesn't matter if you have sterile gloves, if you check someone enough, and they are prone to infection by the waters being broken, you will cause infection.

Anonymous said...

@Gothelittle Rose: Not true. Most women had their babies at home, so where would the doctors have found a corpse to dig their hands in before they assisted the women?

Also doctors didn't assist at childbirths, midwives did.

Kristiina K. said...

There was just a day or two ago an article in local newspaper about unassisted deliveries in Finland. Every year ~60 000 babies are born in here. Of them ~10 babies are born in car and ~200 babies born outside hospital. They are usually planned home deliveries. The article also mentioned that in almost every case in these unplanned births mother is second-timer. First ones are born in hospital and usually after those seconds mothers manage to get hospitals in time ;)

Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates. Virtually everybody delivers in hospitals where midwifes assist. Doctors are involved only if there are serious complications or there is need for drugs (nurses don't have right to give medication without permission, we have quite strict laws). Medication is not encouraged because it might lengthen and complicate delivery. And one important thing in our health care system is that cesarean section is the last available birth way rather than an option to choose freely. Maternity clinic services are free of charge and they have also very good assistance and special nurses to help with fear of childbirth (usually fear of pain and previous complicated childbirth).

I am childless - not my own choice - but if I am ever blessed to have a child I will certainly go to hospital. I don't have anything against home deliveries, in fact, my own father was born in sauna! But I am already 29 and it might still take years for me to conceive. I don't want to take risks if i can choose.

rachel said...

I agree that natural, unassisted childbirth is the way to go. However, I am skeptical of the website unassistedchildbirth.com, because it claims that labor and birthing a child does not have to be painful. I am skeptical of people who say that their labor was not painful at all. This contradicts what is written in the book of Genesis, where God puts a curse on women because of Eve's sin, saying he will greatly multiply a woman's pain in childbirth. I have never had any children myself but am currently five months pregnant.