Thursday, March 29, 2012

Choices, part II

When I talk to people being pregnant, one of three questions usually comes up depending on their philosophy on childbirth.

1. What hospital are you going to?
2. Have you heard of the Birth Center?
3. You have to read Spiritual Midwifery.

Okay, the last one isn't really a question, but I'm keeping it in there anyways.

If someone asks the first question, my answer is "I'm not." Their jaws drop and the questions start. I explain that we are going through the midwives at the birth center and that we hope for a natural birth. By this point if they are still looking at me with confusion, I add that it is very close to TMC and that they would transfer me there if there are any complications. Usually this placates the questioner and we can move on.

The second question usually comes for people who have used the Birth Center themselves, so it leads to a discussion on their birth experience, the midwives, their Centering Classes, etc.

The last "question" is the funniest to me. Usually it comes from someone older than me, but is much better and welcomed advice than "You're going to NEED the epidural". As it turns out, I have not read Spiritual Midwifery. It is on my list to read, I just bought it on Amazon, in fact. However, since we found it first, A and I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Ina May Gaskin wrote Spiritual Midwifery, so it is the same philosophy.

I finished the book last night and decided I needed to write about it. Now that I'm trying to write, I wish I had taken notes! First of all, it was a great book. Everyone who is pregnant should read it, even if you are going to have a hospital birth. It had a good mix of her own experiences, statistics from the births that she has attended, and facts from studies. It solidified my views on childbirth as a natural event. It is about the power women have over their bodies, especially during labor.

Labor isn't something that happens to you, it is something you are doing. How you do it needs to be in your control. Recently I read a post on a pregnancy message board by a woman who wanted to talk to her OB about a birth plan. They told her no. She just needed to be more open minded and trust them. Our midwives have an entire appointment dedicated to going over our birth plan so they know what we want and need.

Many things in this book made me stop and interrupt whatever A was reading for me to tell her some fact (which she had already read a few months ago). Here are a few that stand out the most-

  • The US has a higher maternal mortality rate than most European and some Asian and Middle Eastern countries, according to a report by the UN in 2010
  • Women are twice as likely to die from pregnancy or birth-related complications now than their mothers were.
  • The CDC estimates that more than half of the maternal deaths that occur every year could have been prevented.
  • Amniotic-fluid embolism, which is fatal about half of the time, used to only happen in one in every 50,000-80,000 births. It has become so much more common that a Phoenix hospital had a rate of one in 6,500 births in the 90's. It is now one of the most frequent killers of women in pregnancy and birth in the US. (Ina May attributes it to induced labors)
I find it insane that it is getting MORE dangerous to have babies!

If nothing else, I leave you with this: Be informed and protect yourself. Our society has become so sue-happy that it gets in the way of natural childbirth; a doctor is much less likely to be sued for doing too much than not enough.

Well, I was supposed to leave for work 20 minutes ago and I still don't have shoes on. So I will get off my soapbox and head to work. I wonder what I'll eat for lunch...

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