Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Unmedicated birth leads to PTSD?
A reader of my blog, Carol, emailed me and shared a link to this study, which was conducted in Israel and concentrated on occurrence of PTSD after giving birth. The study found an alleged link between unmedicated births and PTSD:
"...there was a greater incidence of PTSD symptoms among women who did not receive an epidural."
I believe such a hasty conclusion might serve to promote the unnecessary use of epidural and other medical interventions, even more than it happens today. Moreover, I am convinced the results of this study are skewed. Here is why.
The only participants in this study were women who had hospital births. I think I have mentioned before that home births are extremely rare in Israel, and very expensive - while hospital births are 100% government funded. Therefore, the only ones who can, and insist to, afford a home birth with a qualified midwife are the select few who feel very strongly about natural uninterrupted birth, and have a couple thousands to spare.
Incidentally, the hospital in which the study was conducted was the same from which I ran as fast as I could, being 9 months pregnant and actually in the process of labor, after they have tried to pressure me into an utterly and absolutely unneeded induction (I gave birth naturally in another hospital not 24 hours later). This, of course, is anecdotal evidence, but I do feel that if I had remained there, and if I had to put up with the ignorance and callousness of the staff, and if I had no one around to support my choice of natural birth - then yes, I might very well have ended up with PTSD.
As for those women who "did not receive an epidural" - what alternative methods of going through the labor were offered to them? Were they free to move around? To eat and drink, to use a birthing ball, to soak in a tub or use a warm shower? Or were they, perhaps, strapped to a monitor because someone on the staff noticed something "alarming" and required constant supervision? The study gives no details, but if the latter is true for some of the women, I don't envy them. It is excruciating to be kept from natural relief of movement and change of positions during contractions.
What I would like to see is a study which compares the occurrence of PTSD between women who gave birth in a hospital and received an epidural or other method of medical pain relief, women who gave birth in a hospital with no medication, and women who had natural home births. If someone conducts such a study in Israel, I would be very interested to know its results.