Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A needed paradigm shift

Ok, so that is really old verbage. But the concept is still necessary. Or perhaps it is a cultural shift. Labor is what it is. For some women it is short and quick and wonderful, and sometimes it is long and tiring and wonderful too. So here is what needs to shift:

Fear ~ the fear of normal birth on the part of both expectant women as well as physicians. Women today are petrified of the pain associated with labor, with the process of labor and with the entire concept of childbirth. Physicians may fear litigation and for some, ok....for many, litigation drives a physician's practice bus.

Education ~ the educational process WORLD WIDE needs to improve for all people about pain in childbirth and how that differs from the pain we normally feel: labor pain tells us things and not necessarily that something is wrong. Women need to be better educated about birth, comfort measures and the side effects of interventions - including the long term side effects such as the emotional trauma. And finally, physicians need to be educated in normal birth and allowed to practice freely - with the knowledge and compassion that they want to practice with.

Mindset ~ our society's mental attitude toward birth needs to change. Labor is not a crisis waiting to happen and having a baby is not just an everyday occurance. Women remember and continue to process their births years....and decades....after the birth date. Pain in labor is not a curse by God ~ rather it is a blessing that tells us where we are in labor and what we should do as far as physical movement or comfort measures such as laboring in water. Finally, litigation should not be the end-all-be-all for a less than perfect outcome. Unrealistic expectations will be quelled with education.

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