alternative medicine, homebirth, hood river midwife

New Report Urges Less Intervention in Births

I appreciate the message of this article, however it lacks a definition of post dates safety.  Questions we could be asking; what are more natural methods to support induction? Should we wait 43 weeks?  How often do we monitor placental health?  Birth is a complex journey and in our culture of unacknowledged emotions and mental states, it is no wonder we are resistant to surrender to the birth powers.  motherlode-childbirth-articleLargeBy KJ DELL’ANTONIA

A few weeks ago, Britain’s national health service advised healthy women that it was safer to have their babies at home, or in a birth center, than in a hospital. For low-risk mothers-to-be, giving birth in a traditional maternity ward increased the chances of surgical intervention.

new report from the Childbirth Connection; a program of the National Partnership for Women and Families, stops short of recommending home births in the United States, but does challenge the same issue addressed by Britain’s health service: Many hospitals approach childbirth from the premise that “more technology is better,” while significant research shows that less intervention is safer and healthier in most cases.

“If overtreatment is defined as instances in which an individual may have fared as well or better with less or perhaps no intervention,” the report states in its forward, “then modern obstetric care has landed in a deep quagmire. Navigating out of that territory will be challenging.”

Dr. Sarah Buckley, who collected and interpreted the research and wrote the report, suggests within it a number of ways of escaping that quagmire, all based on the premise that the hormonal physiology of childbirth nearly always works best when it is left to work at its own speed. The benefits of the natural process, her synthesis of the research suggests, go far beyond what we had previously understood; preparing mother and baby for birth through hormonal changes up to and during the labor and birth process.

Hospitals and clinicians should wait for labor to begin on its own, encourage and support women laboring at home during early labor, and have patience with women in labor in their facilities rather than using interventions to speed up the process. Women, too, should be patient, trust their bodies to work through the process and “stay calm and relaxed” (frustrating advice for many women, but advice that might be more easily heard and heeded in an atmosphere less stressful than that of many maternity wards).

“It’s important for both clinicians and women to understand that common interventions, that we have come to view quite casually, are actually quite consequential,” said Carol Sakala, director of Childbirth Connection Programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families.

“Our current high rates of intervention are not serving women well,” she said. “But the community is really moving in the right direction. Professional societies are breaking with the past,” and talking publicly about the overuse of cesarean sections, the need to avoid constant fetal monitoring, and not permitting elective inductions or cesareans. “We are hopeful that the timing of this report will support that change.”

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