Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Politically correct? Time to STOP with Birth.

Yes, I said it. There. It is time to stop being politically correct with issues surrounding birth. For way too long we have been polite about the presentation of the facts about the different interventions with human childbirth. We didn't want women who chose interventions to feel bad about their decisions. We didn't want be portrayed as militants or revolutionaries.

Since when does telling the truth make one a militant or revolutionary? It is time to stop candy coating the risks of inductions too early, the risks of using Cytotec as an induction agent, the risks of epidural anesthesia, risks of analgesics, risks of continuous fetal monitoring, cesarean sections....it is time to present the facts as they are presented in the same medical literature that the medical community publishes (but do they read it?).

We in the birthing community - every nurse, midwife, physician, childbirth educator, doula, lactation consultant - must change the focus of our practice to what is evidence-based, not popular based. Some of the practices that parents agree to are actually dangerous or potentially dangerous to the labor and birth and therefore dangerous to the newborn. Need an example? For some women, "term" is defined as 40 weeks, for others it may be 38 weeks or
42 weeks or even 44 weeks. If a woman's body gestates babies to 44 weeks and she is induced at 40 weeks, the baby will be 4 weeks premature and may have to spend time in the NICU. This separates mother from baby, eliminates the benefits of skin to skin contact, and challenges breastfeeding for, perhaps, months. Without prime followup care, this family will have future challenges ~ all because there was an induction too early.

It is difficult to hear the truth.

It is also difficult to embrace the truth and change care practices when we are comfortable with "the way we have always done it". It makes us feel uncomfortable and challenges US.

However, since we are talking about new human lives and new families in our society, I truly believe we need to move beyond OUR issues and do what is best for mothers and babies. It is time we truly do no harm.

Does anyone out there agree?

1 comment:

Momma said...

I agree with you. Time to get the knowledge out there.
-Ursula