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.
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.