Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friday Follow Up: Why It's Best to Avoid Intervention

This post is not meant to bash those who need emergency interventions during labor, but rather is intended to point out how ELECTIVE interventions can lead to an unpleasant birth experience.

On Monday I talked about women choosing to have elective cesareans.  This is so far from what I believe the birth experience should be.  I believe that women should strive for a birth as free from medical intervention as possible.  Medical interventions often take on a snowball effect and you end up undergoing much more intervention than intended. 

The newest trend in intervention that I am seeing is early induction.  Many doctors, including mine, push to induce women at just 41 weeks (thank God I didn't get to that point) despite the fact that normal gestation is considered 38-42 weeks.  Some doctors will even allow their patients to have "elective inductions" as early as 36 weeks for no reason other than being "sick of being pregnant" or wanting to choose your due date.

An induction typically involves giving the mother pitocin which causes unnaturally strong, and sometimes dangerous, contractions. These contractions can be harmful to the baby and because of the increased pain often make you more likely to want pain relief, such as an epidural. 

An epidural (aside from all of the other side effects they can cause, check them out here) can cause contractions to slow down.  Once this happens many women will be given even more pitocin to again bump up the contractions.

Now, it's time to push, but because of the epidural most women are unable to feel their contractions and therefore can't tell when to push.  This inability to push on cue with your contractions can lead to more time spent pushing, the need to use vacuum or forceps, and tearing or episiotomies. 

Of course, we can't forget that through all of this your doctor has you on the clock.  As soon as they have decided that you are taking too long to progress during labor or while pushing, it's off to the operating room you go.  

Does this mean I think you have to have a homebirth? No, I had my baby in a hospital with no medical intervention of any kind.

Does this mean that I think all intervention is wrong and bad? No, when it is MEDICALLY necessary, it is great that we have options available to keep ourselves and our babies safe. 

Does this mean that I think that EVERYONE should have a completely natural birth? No, women with high risk pregnancies should always discuss their plans with their doctor or midwife and decide what is right and safe for them.

I DO think that the majority of women are healthy enough and strong enough to give birth without intervention.  I believe that women are built to give birth.

Women are being robbed of a beautiful and rewarding experience because they are being scared away from natural birth, most of the time by people who have never experienced or witnessed one.


{K} said...

New follower here from the blog hop.

I've been induced twice, had 2 epidurals. I have an older doctor who refuses to induce early unless there's a medical reason. I had high blood pressure at the end of both pregnancies and was induced right at 38 weeks both times. I've had two great birth experiences. I was definitely able feel when I needed to push. I had wonderful doctors and nurses and did not feel like I was "on the clock" whatsoever. I really trust my doctors to know what's best for my baby and, for that reason, I've never been concerned with side effects of induction/epidural, etc. My doctor has been delivering babies since I was born (or before!) so I feel like he definitely knows what he's doing.

All that said.. if/when I have a third child I may consider going all-natural. It does seem like an experience every woman should have.

And I do agree with this statement from your post:

I DO think that the majority of women are healthy enough and strong enough to give birth without intervention. I believe that women are built to give birth.

~ Kel said...

New follower from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop!

Spilled Milkshake said...

I've given birth 5 times, no c-sections. I've been induced 4 times, and had 3 epidurals. 3 of the 4 inductions were due to complications with me and/or the baby (The other 1 was doctor convenience). I do agree that Pitocin produces very strong contractions very quickly. Yikes!

I didn't have a problem pushing with any of the epidurals. It just didn't hurt. Having experienced a natural childbirth first, I was all for an epidural the next times. I guess I just didn't get that 'feeling of accomplishment' from delivering my son naturally that some women feel. I actually enjoyed the birth experiences with my epidural births far better. I feel like I was totally able to focus on bringing that precious baby into the world AND I remember it all. With my natural delivery, a lot of it is lost in a pain-filled haze. But, that's just me - I'm kindof a wuss.

Great post! Lots to think about, though my baby having days are over =)

corabeth said...

New Follower from Finding New Friends Blog Hop. Hoping you will follow back! =0)
My Crazy Life

Lena said...

hoping with Finding New Friends hop.
i am Lena blogging at Way 2 Good Life
Find me on Twitter -
Facebook -
or through my blog -
while I am doing exactly the same thing here with your blog
Couldn't find your FB and Twitter - will be happy to follow/fan me back - just leave me a comment

Michelle said...

I agree that women are built to give birth, but I was induced 1 day late with my daughter and the doctor said she would have induced a WEEK earlier if we would have known how big she was. She was 10 pounds. If we would have gone any longer, who knows what I would have had to go through!! Unfortunately, I had to be on Pitocin with both of my kids, which really makes labor uncomfortable. The first time, my water broke 4 weeks early and I wasn't dilating. The second, obviously b/c we induced. I will never know what a non-pitocin labor is like! And I agree with SpilldMilkshake about enjoying my whole labor experience with my epidurals. B/C of the Pitocin I was in so much pain. I went as long as I could the first time b/c I really wanted to try it without any kind of pain relief, but it was unbearable. The epidural made it an experience that I could actually remember and I luckily had no side effects or consequences.

Thanks for stopping by the Sit and Relax weekend hop! Interesting topic here!

Michelle said...

And you know, I'd like to add that both times, I could still feel exactly when to push, even when on the epidural. I think in most cases they turn it down or off when pushing begins so that you can feel when to push. Or that was my understanding. Even without the pain, I could feel the muscles contracting.

Cheryl Roth said...

New follower w/ GFC from the hop - hope you follow back. Cheryl

MommyWire PR said...

hi thanks for the follow. I'm following you back from


Crystal Mendez said...

I totally agree with you r post I had an emergency c section with my first I had a tuble pregnancey w/ my second and had to be cut agin !!! Yuck it was bad enough that I lost the baby, I had to deal with the c section!!! With my lil girl I refused to be cut open agin I had her veganilly so blessed that I did. God is good

Closer to Lucy said...

Thanks for linking up with finding friends, hopping in from Closer to Lucy's. If you haven't already please stop in and follow your hostesses and co-host. Happy hopping :)

SuperMomWannabe said...

I saw you're going to be on natural mom's radio program! Anyway, great post. I went all natural on my last two births (had 5 in all incl. c-section on #1, epidural #2, very late stage epidural #2 as I was attempting all natural but caved at 10 not knowing I was at 10)...filmed my last one. Baby ended up needing immediate medical attention. I had not amniotic fluid (dry birth) and his abdomen was swollen to larger than his head because fluid was backed up in him (he had swallowed all the amniotic fluid and couldn't urinate). So, very painful. He's still followed very closely by kidney doctors as he continues healing. My labor is on my youtube channel (no graphic images) @jjandjake (as is my baby boy's miracle story).
I agree that women have been "conditioned" to be afraid of labor, and think that medicated is better. "Why be in pain when you don't have to?" Modern medicine is miraculous but it's like fire. It can save lives, and it can burn. Womens bodies were born to make babies and birth. It's painful, yes. But it is something we should more readily embrace.

Naked Mommy said...

I intended to have a natural birth both times but the first time around, I was not prepared for the LENGTH of the labour (43 hours). After 30 hours, I was exhausted from fighting the pain and said YES to the epidural and pitocin. I'm glad I did because I was able to nap until the contractions got stronger.

The second time, I was more prepared - had practiced my breathing more and even taken a hypnobirthing course - but had a partial placental abruption and almost needed an emergency c-section. I was so stressed out, I had NO coping abilities whatsoever so once again said bring on the epidural. I admire women who can do childbirth naturally but I'm so glad I opted for the epi both times. Unlike what they tell you in childbirth classes, both my girls latched right away, they weren't sleepy and because I wasn't in pain, I was able to enjoy them even though I was tired. Every person is different. I am, however, against inducing labor early and elective c-sections. Let baby come when baby wants. It's best for baby!! As for pain meds, whatever's best for mom, I say. : )

Erica G. said...

I unfortunately never got the chance to experience it the old fashioned way. I had 3 c-sections, my doctors didn't give me an option after my daughter was born. :(

Thanks for the blog hop love!

I'm also doing a site exchange this month. If interested, add your badge for a chance to be featured in a profile.

Here are my social networking deets too!
@callemami on twitter
@babygearmom on twitter

The Lovely Mrs. P said...

What a great Blog, sweet babies everywhere! Good for you going all-naturelle...and letting people know about those options. I was a whimp! Lol! Thank you so much for linking up to my 1st Blog Hop Social! I am working on another one for later this week to link-up crafts, recipes, etc. made by you. They will be a weekly feature on Made in a Day. i am following you too!

Kim @madeinaday

Jodi Faye said...

Thanks for the info! I am due in April :) New fan from the Get Connected Tuesday Blog Hop!
- Jodi

AmberFaith said...

I was induced at 40 weeks. Never again. The contractons were hell. Thank God my labor was relatively fast for a first timer AND someone being induced. 12 hours! But that included 3 hours of pushing. The epidural wore off, so I felt everything. She crowned within the first hour...but wouldn't come out. She was eventually vacuumed out when my heart rate dropped.

Definitely going the all-natural route at a birthing center next time!

Hello! I'm following you from the Flock Together blog hop. Would love for you to stop by and follow back, whenever you get the chance! Hope you have a good rest of the week! (:

Amber @ Beautifully BellaFaith

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