Laboring mothers deserve respect, this means informed consent and evidence based care.
Babies matter and deserve the same level of respect.
Fathers (and birth partners) deserve the same treatment as well.
Birth has been taken away from us, much in the same way as death has. Birth has become so distant from us in this culture, that we fear it in the same way we fear death. One hundred years ago, our great-grandmothers did not have an ultrasound or hear their growing child's heartbeat. Yet, I believe they carried a valuable knowledge that is being lost. In that day, home-birth was not something "crunchy mamas" did, it was what mothers did. As time has passed birth has been handed over to professionals. Professionals who have many things to manage that include time, cost and risk. A tragic result of this dynamic has been that mothers lack the intuitive knowledge women of previous generations experiences. Just as sadly, women have been taught not to trust their intuition when it comes to caring for their pregnant and laboring bodies.
Interventions can be life-saving, decrease trauma, allow rest for long labors and even prevent unnecessary cesearan sections. Interventions are so routine that those desiring normal, unmedicated births have to negotiate with medical staff to acheive this goal. The problem is that inteventions have now become standard care, some familes do not even know why the intervention or monitor is being used.
Good medical practice includes informing you of the reason for the intervention, the benefits and risks associated with the procedure then allowing you to consent to the procedure. In a true emergency, informed consent does not apply and the medical staff will step in and keep you alive. If they are offering a procedure, you have time to ask the questions and decide.
Do you know what this is? Do you know how it works?
Internal Fetal Monitor
EVIDENCE BASED CARE
Throughout the years we have discovered that medications given in the 1940's resulted in damage to the fetus' appendages, that x-rays are associated with cancer, and that large amounts of alcohol may damage a growing fetus.
As medical knowledge grows it is important to know that we learn through trial and error. That is not an insult to the medical community, it is a fact. The only way we learn is through practicing medicine and later finding out the results of that practice.
We now know that breastfeeding is best, for mother and baby in most instances. Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding. I think most of us would agree that our culture is poorer for sexualizing breasts to the point that a baby with a bottle is socially acceptable, while a breastfeeding mother has to cite the law (if it exists in her state) in order to feed their child in public.
We know that skin-to-skin contact is better for mother and baby, than separation after birth. I think most of us wanted to hold our baby immediately after birth.
We also know that it is best to wait at least two-minutes before clamping the cord. Is that the practice you have experienced?
There are dozens of other examples The point is we must demand evidence-based-care for ourselves, our sisters and in the years to come, our daughters.
Modern maternity care is affected by much more than that doctor-patient relationship. Insurance companies, hopsital policies and pharmaceutical companies all have their say in labor and delivery. In many countries, including the United States the government has a say as well.
Freedom for Birth releases in 1,000 locations around the globe on Thursday, September 20, 2012. This film follows stories in which medical boards and courts are deciding where, when and how some women give birth. This is not evidence-based care. This is not informed concent. This is not respectful. This is wrong. This is a human-rights issue.
We must take a stand for ourselves, our sisters and our daughters.
If not now, then when? If not us, then who?