“Childbirth is traumatic – our doctors can help make it otherwise”

Posted on: October 7, 2008

The other day I chanced upon a website promoting a “5-star” birthing center. The website proclaimed that “The process of childbirth is traumatic both for mother and child”. I was stunned – is childbirth really a traumatic process? It was certainly not for me, and for hundreds of other women I know and for thousands of others that I don’t know.

I would venture to say, childbirth is NOT a traumatic process, rather a very fulfilling and magical milestone in a woman’s (and her partner’s) life, if she and her family are able to make informed choices, are knowledgeable, and trust her body’s ability to give birth. This got me interested enough to dig more into the website. It went on to say how their doctors can help clear the baby’s airways immediately after birth, cut the cord and “take measures” for the baby’s first breath. Further, the presence of a neonatologist ensures against any complications such as “birth asphyxia”. Technology such as 4-D real-time, ultrasound imaging system, state of the art OTs, and Procedure Rooms (emphasis mine), will give the mother the safety of a hospital. All this sounded like the precision execution of a hostage rescue mission by a SWAT team (even if there was no rescuing needed).

Then I realized that the birthing center belongs to a hospital chain. They do run antenatal classes including a crash course. However, their very first class introduces participants to labor pain and means to counter it – Entanox and Epidural.

I am not on a “rant-and-rave” mission, rather, I admire this hospital chain for the good work they do in patient care. However, the fact is, most hospitals need to have every aspect of patient care medicalized – this is something that is hardwired into their DNA.

Childbirth is a magical experience that only nature can provide and caregivers and well wishers can facilitate. A low-risk woman would forgo all the comforts of a 5-star hotel if she is able to give birth without being drugged, or inhibited in any way, in the comfort and familiar surroundings of her home or facility that provides a supporting, natural birthing environment, helped by loved ones. That is the way it was intended to be, until someone decided that mothers should have the least say in how they give birth to their babies. We at Healthy Mother, are playing our small part in reclaiming for mothers their ability to make informed choices about how they should give birth. We consider ourselves as mothers’ support team and think doctors and hospitals should too.

I invite mothers to weigh in – how was your childbirth process? Was is traumatic, and what role did your hospital / doctor play in order to make it less (or more)?

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2 Responses to "“Childbirth is traumatic – our doctors can help make it otherwise”"

Neither of my two births were traumatic – they were beautiful, life-changing, awesome, powerful Etc & etc. As an after-thought, I would add, sometimes painful. Both were hospital births. The first one, I was really left mostly alone (it was the middle of the night) with my husband to help me, which was perfect for me. The only thing that made it annoying was the requests for EFM by the nurses. Everything else was supportive. Second birth, just about no pain until the last few transition contractions; pushing was harder because he had a nuchal hand, but what can you do? I pushed and he came out! My midwife was extremely unobtrusive, as were the nurses. I have almost no memory of them doing anything other than listening with the Doppler every so often and offering the occasional cool washcloth. It was wonderful.

Christina,

How absolutely wonderful that both your births were positive and life-changing events for you. 🙂

It is great that you were able to give birth the way you wanted – even though they were both in a hospital environment. This is rare – especially the relatively “hands-off” attitude that the people in the hospital adopted in both your births. This is how it should be – considering that birth is very much a natural process, and the mother intuitively knows what to do if left to herself, and just given enough comfort and support by the people around her.

Thank you for sharing your story – It will give good encouragement to other expectant moms and dads.

Dr. Vijaya

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