KIOS: Parenting, Part 3b: Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth (continued)

This post is part of my series, “Kickin’ It Old Skool: Why and How We Are Old-Fashioned” or KIOS for short.  If you’re new to the series, please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  I’m keeping a table of contents to this series here so you can see what I’ve already written about and what more there is to come. 

This is Part 3b.  Please also see Part 3a, Part 3c, and Part 3d with more of my thoughts on this subject.

Thanks to those of you who have shared with me your thoughts on yesterday’s post.  It was getting way too long so I finally had to stop typing and hit “publish”.  But here are a few more thoughts that I have on this subject.

1. The best place for a woman to labor is where she feels the most comfortable.  So if that is the hospital, great.  If that’s at home, great.  For me, it was at the birth center…and it was great!  I have a friend who feels the most comfortable in a hospital setting and has successfully delivered two babies naturally in hospitals.  It certainly can be done and is done, every day.  Unfortunately, if you want to deliver in a hospital setting, you just need to have a better birth plan and generally need to advocate for yourself more (as my above-mentioned friend did).

2.  My greatest concern is with women who either don’t really know that natural birth is a good option or who think that having an epidural has no consequences other than pain relief (i.e. that an epidural is only a good thing with no negative effects).  If a woman is fully educated about the pros and cons of natural labor or having an epidural, if she is fully aware of all of her options, and still chooses the epidural route, that’s her choice.  I’m just saddened when I hear discussions in which an epidural is just considered a matter of course – as if it’s no big deal.  Sadly, it is a big deal – it’s a major medical intervention into a natural process.

3. I know epidurals are sometimes medically necessary.  I have a family member and a friend who both dearly wanted to deliver naturally but in the end, they needed that epidural to help them relax and fully dilate.  This is a completely different issue than point #2.

4.  I know that C-sections are sometimes medically necessary.  In the event that we’re going to lose the mother or the baby, then by all means, I’m grateful that we have this medical technology available to us.  What I am NOT glad about is the sky-high C-section rates at almost every hospital in the country.   It’s the medically unnecessary C-sections that make me sad – not just the scheduled C-sections but the ones that are caused by all the unnecessary interventions in the hours before the C-section.

5.  I think my last post came out as fairly anti-hospital and I have to apologize for that.  For Nik and I, yes, the hospital became a source of distress rather than comfort for us so we decided to switch (see point #1).  However, there are many situations in which there are complications in labor and women need additional help.  In this case, yes, it’s good that the medical help is available.  There is a hospital quite close to the birth center where we delivered Ellie.  We were prepared to have to transfer there if we needed help.

6.  In my ideal world, all pregnant woman would be taken care of in the midwifery model of care  Ideally, birth centers would be attached to (or very near) hospitals so that women could labor in a quiet, calm setting with medical care close by if needed.  If this was the norm, rather than the exception, I think we would see the rates of C-sections drop dramatically in our country.

7.  In my ideal world, every woman would know at least one other woman who had delivered naturally.  Stephanie (who I’ve never met – thanks for commenting) left a comment on my last post saying,

I didn’t know anyone who delivered med-free, but I was determined with my second birth, and I did it!

Hooray!  Go Stephanie!  Now she can be that one person to all the other women in her life!  I think as a nation, we’ve lost that collective memory of what it’s like to deliver naturally.  So I’m trying to add my voice to the chorus to bring that memory back.

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6 Responses to KIOS: Parenting, Part 3b: Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth (continued)

  1. Leah says:

    I think the US has a lot to learn from the UK in terms of maternity/delivery. It’s all midwife led so you only see a doctor if you are “high risk”. I only saw a doctor for about 5 minutes when Kaitlyn’s heart rate dropped too low…other than that all my care was through midwifes-before, during and after both girls’ births. A fair number of NHS hospitals also have a birth center attached to the hospital too. While it can still be on the precautionary side, I felt they really respected my birth plan and encouraged me to stick to doing it as naturally as I had requested.

    Also, I find it sad that the US doesn’t offer “gas and air” as a pain relief option. In the US, it seems there is either the option of nothing or an epidural…no in between. (Or pethadine, but I wouldn’t consider that one!) I know so many people that use gas and air here and it leaves your system so quickly…it’s something to get you through the really tough time, if needed, but then you can stop using it any time. I used it for awhile for both births but stopped using it when I was ready to push so i could be focused and feel everything. I think one of the reasons so many women go to epidurals is because it seems to be the only thing that is offered in the US…they don’t feel that they can do it on their own so that is their option.

    Much more to say, but I’ll leave it at that :o)

    • Laura says:

      Leah – I was thinking about you as I wrote some of this, definitely thinking the same thoughts as what you just wrote – so thank you! I’m not really familiar with “gas and air” other than what you’ve told me about in the past but I do agree with you that it’s unfortunate that most women only think they have the option of no pain relief or an epidural. At our birth center, they do keep some moderate pain relief (the name I can’t remember now) that can give women some relief (maybe allow them to sleep/rest through a few contractions) and then it wears off quickly enough. And yes, it’s hard to know where to stop talking about this! 🙂

  2. Pingback: KIOS: Parenting, Part 3a: Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth « Salmon and Souvlaki

  3. I love this! 😀 Natural Birth Resources | San Diego Birth Doula

  4. Pingback: KIOS: Parenting, Part 3c: Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth (more thoughts) « Salmon and Souvlaki

  5. Pingback: KIOS: Parenting, Part 3d: Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth (even more thoughts) « Salmon and Souvlaki

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