Archive for the ‘Medicalization of Childbirth’ Category

Just yesterday, I got this email form one of my recent class participants. This mom-to-be has just finished her sessions, and in the meantime, visited her friend who has recently given birth in one of Hyderabad’s “super-specialty” hospitals. I am quoting her verbatim (with her permission) below:

Dear Dr,

One of my friends recently delivered at xxxxxx Hospital which I wanted to let you know so that you can share this with women who might be considering this hospital for their delivery. (My Note: For those of you who wish to know which hospital it is, please write to me and I will let you know).

My friend’s water broke at 3:30am on Friday morning and she rushed to the hospital since the baby’s head had not engaged and was in transverse position. She was informed that she would have a c-section delivery. Since the doc had a planned c-section her FHS was monitored and she was finally operated at 12:30pm at which time there was not a drop of amniotic fluid left.

She is then blind folded and given an epidural. The baby is delivered and she is informed that it’s a boy while she doesn’t get a chance to see him. She can only hear the doctors and nurses speak and hear her baby cry. She is then shifted to an ICU where she is kept for 1 day for monitoring. Baby and mom have not been in contact for 1 whole day.

On day 2 she is shifted back and is given pain medications and is asked not to feed the baby since she is taking medications. Baby is brought from the nursery and shown to the mother on day 2. Mom is finally allowed to feed her baby from day 3 after the IV and pain medicines are stopped. Obviously she has issues on day 3 feeding her baby since for 2 days he was on bottle feed. I visited her on day 3 and did teach her some techniques that I learnt in class – about the latch, and the football hold which did help her to some extent.

I remember you mentioning to us during the c-section class about blind folding and both Divya and me were shocked. To see that this is being practiced in a “good” super specialty hospital is unbelievable!!  I hope no mom has to go thro’ this – not being able to see your baby for 1 day and not being able to feed your baby.

Reading this mail, I was shocked too. Even though I have seen such questionable procedures practiced during C-Section surgery and during immediate post-surgical recovery, hearing that mom and baby were kept apart for one whole day, made me quite upset. The fact that the baby was not allowed to nurse until the 3rd day was a shocker. It is no wonder that breastfeeding becomes a big concern, and that many first-time mothers are unable to breastfeed well and eventually give up nursing their babies, especially after a C-Section.

So what are the factors that promote effective breastfeeding in the first hours after birth?

I will be writing about this and many more aspects of successful breastfeeding, over the next couple of posts. In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns or experiences to share, please do write in.

Dr. Vijaya


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)?