Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Evidence Says: 10 Things to Unlearn About Pregnancy

As a veteran childbirth educator, I am still surprised by the beliefs of both maternity professionals and expectant parents...about birth!

There are certain beliefs that people have regarding birth.  The following is a list of the top 10 beliefs, written in the positive, rather than the negative.  The true belief is written in italics after the reference.

1) Pregnancy is a condition of health, not an illness. (World Health Organization Fortelezea Declaration, 1985)  Pregnancy and birth are crises waiting to happen.

2) Expectant mothers and their partners will be asked to make decisions regarding their birth; hence childbirth education classes and reading quality books is essential to making informed decisions. (Healthy People 2020)
You don't need childbirth classes; your doctor or nurse can tell you everything you need to know.

3) Labor should begin on its own; induction should be used carefully and judiciously. (See references at the end of this Care Practice)  Induction of labor is ok and eliminates that "fat" feeling during late pregnancy.

4) Interventions such as electronic fetal monitoring may not have positively impacted birth outcomes. (Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine).  Interventions such as monitoring can keep your baby safe. Medications do not cross the placenta and are safe to use during labor. 

5) Doula support does make a difference in labor and birth.  (20+ years of research and this Cochrane Data)
You don't need a doula.  Your doctor or nurse will be with you the whole time.

6) Upright and gravity positive positions facilitate labor and birth. (Multiple references

7) The position a woman assumes to give birth should be dictated by her and include gravity (Cochrane Data)
Lay back with your feet in these stirrups so the doctor has a better visual of the birth.

8) What happens during the birth process has a direct impact on breastfeeding. (Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding by Linda Smith)  Birth has nothing to do with breastfeeding.

9) Skin to skin truly helps the newborn adjust to the outside world and enhances breastfeeding. Almost all newborn tests and exams can be done while baby is on mother's chest. (Multiple references)  We have to take the baby to the nursery for tests and exams.

10)  Evidence-based maternity care is essential to better outcomes: maternal morbidity/mortality and infant morbidity/mortality.  (Evidence Based Maternity Care: Turning Aha Moments into Dynamic Practice; WHO booklet.)  We have always done it this way.

1 comment:

talkbirth said...

Great post! Thank you.