Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Joint Policy Statement ~ They Get It!

The Joint Policy Statement on Normal Childbirth, published in the December issue of the Journal of Obsterics & Gynecology Canada is a wake-up call of American birth professionals.

This important document focuses attention on the rising cesarean rate visible over all of North America and the social and cultural changes that have fostered insecurities amongst childbearing women and their ability to give birth to their children. This document is also one of the very first to make the distinction between Normal and Natural childbirth - a distinction muddied by many.

With what must have been countless hours of writing and editing by the Executive and Council of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), the Association of Women's Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses of Canada (AWHONN Canada), the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM), the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC), the document goes even farther to present why normal birth matters not only to mothers but also to babies.

The Joint Statement also goes further to explain recommendations that will enhance the success of adoption of such a statement such as national practice guidelines on normal birth, development of interdisciplinary committees to implement standardized unit polices on normal birth, promotion amongst childbirth educators and maternity care providers about the positive focus of normal birth, and collaborative education opportunities on normal childbirth for maternity care providers.

This last statement is so vital here in the US. The inconvenient truth is that careproviders, be they nurses or physicians, only know what they are taught. They may be completely unaware of the tremendous and energetic normal birth movement currently alive and well in the US. They may not have had the opportunity to see "The Business of Being Born", "Orgasmic Birth", or "Pregnant in America". They may not have had the information available in workshops focusing on normal birth; instead are lured away from workshops such as these and ultimately attend workshops on technological interventions. While technological intervention is important, so are the techniques of normal birth as well as the understanding of the long range effects of normal birth on the mother, baby, mother-baby diad, the entire family and society as a whole.

I applaud our Canadian neighbors for their bold statement and wish them well with their list of 6 recommendations.

I challenge all nursing, childbirth, doula, lactation and medical organizations and associations to endorse such a statement.

For until we are ALL on the same page, normal birth will not be normal in the US.

Click to see the complete Joint Policy Statement on Normal Childbirth.

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