Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Birth Pendulum Finally Finds Momentum

The Business of Being Born. Pregnant In America. An increase in the number of women seeking unmedicated birthing options. More women asking for water labor and water birth.

This generation of birthing women, the iGeneration or Millenials, are very comfortable with technology. They have not really known a time without computers, MP3 players or cell phones. So EFM, IUPC or IV drips are not alarming to them. BUT they are asking for a more natural and less toxic way to birth. AND it is becoming harder and harder for nurses to work with these clients because nurses typically do not learn the gentle labor comfort skills in nursing school - unless they have been mentored by a nurse who HAS these skills. It is also becoming harder for careproviders to encourage 37 week inductions as these women have the knowledge (through childbirth classes, internet learning, books and magazines) that some babies may not be fully developed by 37 weeks and then have to spend a great deal of time in the NICU.

This generation of birthing women are also finding their way back to childbirth class. Where as early in this decade attendance at childbirth education classes were down to between 30 and 50%, a surge has been seen lately and more women and their support persons are registering for and attending classes: childbirth, baby care, infant cpr, infant massage - really any class they can find. This surge toward MORE education will help prepare them for their birth experience and life with baby.

What we are ALL learning is that in the U.S., maternity care is not always based in the evidence. For example, there is little evidence to support such a high episiotomy rate amongst first time mothers. Little evidence to support routine withholding of food and fluids during labor. There is nearly 30 years of research to support doula care - yet doulas are not generally encouraged by careproviders.

We need to stop and think - we need to treat each other better in all aspects of our lives. Why not start with birth?

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