This is not breaking news, as the article was published in May of this year, but I just saw it and thought it was exciting enough to share on the blog. Consumer Reports published an article titled What To Reject When You’re Expecting: 10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy. I was surprised by the title of the article, because it seemed to actually insinuate a less technocratic view of birth. I was even more surprised as I got into the article.
The article starts with a short video which talks of the rise of cesarean sections in this country. It cute to Dr. Marvin Lipman, who is Consumer Reports medical advisor. He states that in most cases the safest way to birth is vaginally. What a breath of fresh air! The reporter goes on to state that if a woman’s first birth is by c-section, there is a 90% chance that her second birth will also be by c-scction. Gulp! How many of those do you think are unnecessary?
Consumer Reports lists ten overused procedures to avoid during pregnancy that childbirth educators like myself, midwives, doulas, and other mother-centered childbirth professionals have been encouraging women to avoid for years now. Why? Because they are not helpful or healthy for the mother and child, and are often times unsafe for both. Here they are in no specific order in bullet points:
- A C-Section with a low-risk first birth
- And automatic second c-section
- Elective early delivery
- inducing labor without a medical reason
- Ultrasounds after 24 weeks
- Continuous electronic fetal monitoring
- Early epidurals
- Routinely rupturing the amniotic membranes
- Routine episiotomies
- Sending your newborn to the nursery
It’s nice to see a mainstream publication giving credence to the same points that us childbirth professionals have been making for literally years now. Unfortunately, hospitals are very slow to make changes to their archaic procedures, despite what research proves about the efficacy of many of them. I do see changes in a few of them, such as not requiring continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and not doing routine episiotomies. Many hospitals are also offering rooming in, thankfully, but there is much need for further improvement.
What I really liked about this article is that they go beyond what to avoid and go on to list 10 things that you should do during your pregnancy! Things like consider a midwife and stay at home during early labor. They then go on to share the stories of two women who had successful vbacs with their second births. They also list several resources at the end of the article, including resources for hospital data, state by stae. For those of us who have a passion for encouraging women to birth naturally, this is a welcome change from the attitude that society has taken towards the mother-centered model of care. Kudos to Comsumer Reports!
You can watch the video and read the rest of the article here.
Read Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth in the Hospital if you are interested in learning how you can increase your chances of have a natural hospital birth.