Whether it is not feeling supported because your doctor doesn't believe women can give birth without intervention; having your trust in yourself, your body and your baby undermined because the doctor is constantly searching for a sign of something wrong with the pregnancy or labor; or, the unhelpful pressure to just accept the epidural, or schedule the induction, you've waited too long for that baby (and they have a vacation coming up).
An Obstetrician is trained as a surgeon. Trained to handle complications and emergencies during pregnancy and birth. ...but the majority of births will occur without complication.
So what good does it do to have the majority of women attended and cared for by a surgeon? Especially a surgeon who doesn't believe birth works, without their interventions, most of the time!?
It does us absolutely NO GOOD. In fact, it is the opposite... women and babies suffer unnecessary stress, procedures, medications, and interventions - and most of this is because they are seeking care from someone who isn't trained to truly care for healthy mothers and babies!
So, I have been around the "birth block" a few times and I've heard my fair share of bullshit, but a few phrases, uttered by (educated?) doctors, still take the cake! These come from my experiences as a research assistant in graduate school. Enjoy!
The first comes from a survey in which maternity care providers were asked questions about their beliefs and knowledge of maternity care practices.
I began with this comment because it helps to demonstrate that our current medical-maternity system IS NOT functioning in the best interest of the mother and baby... it is currently operating out of FEAR. This doctor's comment represents many responses on the surveys and is acknowledging that doctors choose to practice defensive medicine out of fear of litigation, lawsuits, and malpractice - they need to protect their job.
Defensive medicine entails interventions and constant monitoring for evidence of a problem, or evidence to show there was no evidence of a problem! This makes many doctors feel they have to confine a mother to the bed, with a continuous record of fetal monitoring, IV drips, and numerous ultrasounds so that they can prove they were doing everything they could to keep the baby "safe" by managing your labor... but, in reality, all this managing of healthy pregnancies puts the mother and baby at greater risk of complications. Mothers and babies can have adverse reactions to labor management and pain drugs, and then to the ensuing cascade of interventions that follow, possibly leading to a Cesarean to 'save' the baby - who likely wouldn't have been in distress had the birth been left alone in the first place.
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This next one was a written response from a survey collected after the physician had participated in a presentation delivered by a well-qualified March of Dimes physician representative. This presentation is about the importance of healthy pregnancies continuing for at least 39 weeks - the data clearly demonstrate that healthy mothers and babies have better outcomes when pregnancy continues for at least 39 weeks...
First, this doctor may need to be reminded that they are not God. They do not decide when the "safe gestational age for elective delivery" should be - scientific researchers and professional medical organizations do. Currently, ALL of the medical-professional organizations agree that 39 Weeks is the EARLIEST a healthy baby should be induced or surgically delivered. The determination of 39 weeks is based of a massive amount of excellent research and scientific evidence. Would you want someone that is practicing in opinion rather than evidence caring for you and your baby? (more on 39 weeks)
In addition, the fact that this doctor refers to using "high quality multiple early and mid trimester reliable ultrasounds" demonstrates even further to me that they are strictly trained in a medical model of birth and that they are wholly unaware of the current evidence for medical practice. ULTRASOUNDS ARE NOT RELIABLE! Multiple ultrasounds (or even one) HAVE NOT been proven to be safe for developing babies... especially early and frequent ones! AND research has demonstrated that giving ultrasounds to women early and often may actually CAUSE intrauterine growth retardation... it is my strong opinion that this doctor is actually harming his patients in so many ways, rather than actually helping them. (more info on Ultrasound safety and use)
What about his comment on maternal health? Well, considering he is advocating for taking babies early (we are only talking about healthy ones here), he will be inducing and sectioning mothers MORE OFTEN, both of which, in a healthy pregnancy, increase maternal and fetal risk. Enough said.
Now, research does demonstrate that in some hospitals, mothers and babies who birth during the day have better outcomes than those born at night. Is this the mother's problem? NO. This is a quality issue that HOSPITALS are responsible for, not laboring mothers. A mother and infant's health SHOULD NEVER be put at risk (by inducing or sectioning them early) just to avoid the mother possibly birthing her baby at night when hospitals are less 'well' staffed.
Remember in medicine, your first task is to "DO NO HARM".
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And the last comment, which is by far the scariest!
When this Family Physician was asked if the increasing Cesarean section rate was concerning...
Oh boy. This isn't true, not at all. There is absolutely no evidence, anywhere, to suggest that the current female body is incapable of safely birthing a baby, especially in 1/3 of women! This doctor is practicing medicine in fear and ignorance and the mother/babies he cares for are likely suffering greater rates of medical intervention and Cesarean surgeries because of it.
Do you know what YOUR doctor believes about Birth?
Birth Works!!! We wouldn't have over 7 billion people on this planet if it didn't! If your doctor has made any comments like the one's above, please CHANGE DOCTORS!!!
Please feel free to leave a comment with the ridiculous things YOU have heard doctors (or other health professionals) say about birth!
I believe in your ability to give birth, make sure your doctor does too!
~Wisdom and Birth