To give birth to a baby is a miracle. Most women dream about this wonderful moment. Giving birth is a natural part of life. Yet, birth is also political and a business. It is a business controlled by powerful people telling women where and how to give birth. Most women give birth in hospitals, with beautiful maternity unit layouts. But these very same beautiful units are built to create interventions. Most pregnant women have no idea what birth is all about and the problems in the hospital system.
Most perinatal nurses or hospital midwives can’t cope with the stresses of an under-resourced and over-medicalised system. I have seen lives placed at risks. Hospitals are short-staffed and underresourced. So it is evident that staff shortages are linked to an increase of medical interventions, the rise in caesarean sections, and, in the worst scenarios, cases where babies had had some degree of oxygen deprivation. Poor birth experience can be linked to women suffering profound birth trauma, and these cases are on the increase. Most perinatal nurses never learn about birthing support but rather about following protocols, guidelines. They know more about documentation and technology instead of supporting the woman during birth.
Medical interventions were meant to assist the process of birth, making it a bit easier for a labouring woman. Unfortunately this has not always been the case. Medical interventions are there to help save the life of a mother and her baby when necessary, here they are seen as a help, but they can be a problem. If an intervention cause an unnecessary cesarean, they’re without a doubt a hindrance.
The majority of the pregnant women I have known and cared for have expressed a desire to give birth naturally. However, what many of us have found to be lacking in today’s society is enough support, education and encouragement to help women achieve the natural birth they hope for. Not only that, labour pain has recently become something that has been seen by some as ‘unnecessary’ or ‘bad’ pain – when it is, in fact, a very useful pain. There is also an epidemic of fear in labour which prevents some women to achieve this.
Today, childbirth has become more of a medical procedure than a natural function of our bodies. Many women who do have a desire for a natural birth are often looking for resources and information on how to achieve that experience. I like the mother advocacy website. The website provides great information to new mothers to help focus on themselves and their need during childbirth.
Some of the common medical interventions during birth?
- An IV for Fluids
- Epidural Anesthesia
- Electronic Fetal Monitoring
- Breaking the bag of water
Most of which are unnecessary in many of the cases we see them in today, an IV for example. The purpose of an IV could be cut by simply allowing a woman to eat and drink during labor. You’ll have more energy during labor if you’re not restricted from food or drink. It makes no sense to require you to do extensive and exhausting work with no food or drink. Several studies have shown that there is no need to starve a woman while she is in labour. Offcourse, there are women who need interention but not for the pleasure of a hospital. Many hospitals around the world do not have a problem but I found that the anaesthesiology department’s guideline of not allowing women to eat/drink are more important than those providers in the maternity units.
Most hospitals routinely use IV line birth interventions. Usually they do this because they forbid food (and sometimes drink) during labor. This has negative consequences above and beyond the IV. Having the IV inserted is painful for many women. The cold fluids can cause pain and irritation. The IV pole limits movement. Excess fluids can cause the labouring woman to have to go the bathroom constantly.
IV lines do not solve this problem. A supportive person, relative, doula or good midwife with a labouring woman will bring comfort and stay with the woman, all the time, not leaving the woman alone during birth. If a woman receive this kind of support they are more likely to give birth more quickly and easily. They will also use less pain relief than someone without continuous support. I never leave my own labouring woman alone. I stay with them until the baby is born. If they are born in the hospital, I will not let any other person touch them. If they are born at home with me, even better, but my presence as a midiwfe means everything to a woman during childbirth. The emotional wellbeing of a pregnant woman is of outmost importance.
“The main concern of those around pregnant women or for people who care for a pregnant woman should be to ensure their emotional wellbeing.” ~ Michel Odent