Today I begin the series "10 Simple Truths About Birth". You can respond on Facebook, or directly on my blog at www.childbirthtoday.blogspot.com.
Truth #1: Birth is healthy and normal, complications are the exception.
Mother nature says it. The World Health Organization says it. Many maternity health care professionals such as physicians, midwives, nurses, childbirth educators and doulas say it.
Birth is healthy and normal.
Anyone can find proof. See abstracts of journal articles at the website for the US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health or the Cochrane Database. Read about it in books such as The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth With Confidence, 2nd Edition.
Interfering with the normal physiological process of labor and birth in the absence of medical necessity increases the risk of complications for mother and baby. So why is nature seen as abnormal and interventions seen as “normal”? One educator shared on Facebook that it was the media and cultural brainwashing. Some believe it is the process of accustomization – where we are slowly and methodically lead to believe that intervention is beneficial and good – see my previous blog and video spot from the US television show, "The Doctors". Sadness was the emotion that came to me as I viewed this. This was not an instance of misinformation or omit evidence. What they did on that show was lie about the risks of the use of epidural anesthesia. How sad.
It is vital that we continue (and in some cases, begin) to teach from a risk/benefit view…evidence-based information…best practice. The Joint Commission requests this practice.
How to do that? Lamaze has established the Six Health Birth Practices: avoiding medically unnecessary induction of labor, allowing freedom of movement for the laboring woman, providing continuous labor support, avoiding routine interventions and restrictions, encouraging spontaneous pushing in nonsupine positions, and keeping mothers and babies together after birth without restrictions on breastfeeding ~ skin to skin. Well established documentation of the evidence accompanies these Birth Practices. Lamaze has partnered with Injoy Video Productions to make professional quality handouts and free videos available to everyone.
Many birth professionals who receive formal training such as physicians and nurses may have never thought of birth as anything else than a crisis waiting to happen. That concept is not taught in the medical schools and nursing schools of the U.S.
Do not be afraid of speaking the truth. The paradigm shift needs another a kick start.