Many midwives provide outstanding care in the face of increasingly medicalised procedures and protocol and if you want to try to avoid a highly medicalised birth, it is important you arm yourself with information and prepare well.
The thing is, trying to avoid a medicalised birth isn’t necessarily about putting yourself at more risk. And this is why I am so passionate about providing independent birth information and support,
There is widespread agreement in maternity services that interventions such as instrumental deliveries and Caesareans are overused and cause needless discomfort and harm.
And harm can stem from the smallest thing; anything disturbing the birth process;interunptions such as a door opening, someone not being kind to the birthing woman, a stranger walking in, anything bringing the woman out of ‘labourland’. Anything not allowing the birth to progress it should.
It is, therefore, up to us to decide how we can stack the odds in our favour to provide the best environment for our babies to be born in.
Here is the dichotomy;
In some circumstances, taking a medicalised route may be the best thing, it may save lives BUT in many cases, taking an approach that utilises monitoring, measuring and disturbance of the birth process can actually cause unnecessary intervention. In short it can cause more harm than good.
So before any proposed intervention, ask the questions; Is this an medical emergency? Use the BRAIN acronym: What are the benefits and the risks? What are the alternatives? What do I want to do? What happens if I do Nothing?
I’m currently re-reading ‘Gentle Birth Companions – Doulas Serving Humanity’ by Adela Stockton. And it is this book that has inspired this short blog post.
If midwives were ‘allowed’ to do what they were originally trained to do, the role of the modern doula would be different. There would be less need for information gathering, advocacy and counselling and perhaps more focus on practical measures.
The World Health Organisation says that the Caesarian rate in the western world should be no greater than 8% and yet in the UK it is currently 26.2%.
I have no doubt Caesarians are sometimes necessary but I’m interested in how we can make birth safer by creating environments that are conducive to the birth process and by ensuring everyone feels adequately informed and supported so no-one has interventions that could have been avoided.
“Too many Midwives have identified with the oppressor, learned to speak the conquerers language, and otherwise been vanquished to emerge as obstetrically trained Medwives”
Jeannine Parvati Baker, 2005