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.