Even with all the information out there and with the most intelligent group of women on the planet, how can the majority of American women think it is feminist mauchoism to have a natural birth?? Are You too Posh to Push?? I am strong. I am classy. I am educated. I am not too posh to push.
A little birthing history…
- In the beginning of the 1900′s 95% of all births in the United States were at home.
- During this time the medical community began to produce the first real crop of OBGYN’s, who all needed patients. Lobbyists began a very effective smear campaign against midwives to help convert those patients out of their homes and bring them into the hospitals. They claimed that midwives were the local witch doctors, unclean, uneducated grannies from the old country etc… versus the cleaner, safer and educated doctors and their facilities.
- It occurs to me that perhaps cleaner was an important factor during the early 1900′s. However it was much riskier to be delivered by a MD at this time than a midwife. But is clean still a concern today?
- In the early 1900′s the Twilight Sleep (aka Scopolomine Method, Freiburg Method, or Dämmerschlaf Method) was introduced. The combination or morphine and scopolomine ”induced a semi-narcotic state which produces the experience of childbirth without pain, or without the memory of pain.” Remember at this time women were still taught that the pain of child-birth was God’s punishment for Eve taking the apple from the Garden of Eden. But what also came with the loss of memory was a loss of self-awareness and control. Women were strapped to beds with lambs wools to protect them… protect them from themselves. This method was of course discontinued.
- Can we say Twilight Zone anyone? Woman were strapped in with Lambs Wool specifically so their husbands wouldn’t know they were restrained. Remember, fathers still waited in the waiting rooms until the 70′s.
- In the 1930′s every pregnant woman’s pelvis was x-rayed. In the 1940′s they found out the x-rays were giving babies cancer and this method was finally discontinued.
- By 1938 only half of all births were at home.
- In the 1950′s and 60′s there was a drug called Thalidomide which had the unfortunate side effect of causing babies to be born without arms and legs. Once doctors realized this relationship, this method was discontinued.
- By 1955 less than 1% of births took place at home. Which is still the case today.
- In the 1970′s we came so close to moving back out of the hospital with the hippy era when woman realized the horrors of Twilight Sleep. But the medical community reacted and came out with the electronic fetal monitor and cesareans rose from 4% to 23%.
- More to come on fetal monitoring as I do more research. But one study found that in two groups of premature babies, ”the incidence of cerebral palsy was 20% in the EFM group and 8% in the group that was monitored by auscultation.” Ask your OBGYN or Midwife about Auscultation as an alternative. But most hospitals have some sort of policy so work on a compromise with intermittent monitoring if all looks good, perhaps with a doppler.
- In the 1990′s Cytotec was given to induce labor in women who have already had a cesarean. This caused hundreds of ruptured uterus’ and many infant deaths. In 1999 this method was discontinued.
So, clearly, I advocate for a drug free labor. Don’t get me wrong, when something goes wrong, thank god for the drugs! I’m just not willing to take a chance with all the potential side-effects and messing around with mother nature if it’s not absolutely necessary. I just wonder what are they going to discontinue next… Some hospitals are up to 45% of all deliveries are done via C-Section. It’s a growing trend towards convenience.