Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Birth is not trustworthy

If you wanted to know if birth were trustworthy, one of the best places to find out is MDC. As homebirth and "natural" childbirth advocates prattle on and on about "trusting" birth, one complication after another occurs. Within the past 48 hours, the following complications were reported within birth stories:

1. Another homebirth death. This one happened to a woman who had had multiple previous successful homebirths. The pattern is depressingly familiar; a cord prolapse, emergency hospital transfer, emergency C-section, baby died.

2. A face presentation. This was discovered and managed appropriately by the homebirth midwives. The midwife did a vaginal exam and the baby sucked on her finger. Transfer to the hospital and C-section followed. Mother acknowledges within the birth story that the C-section saved both the baby's life and her life.

3. A stillbirth just barely averted. Mother reports grudgingly agreeing to a biophysical profile on the insistence of her obstetrician/midwife practice. She did not think it was necessary. At the biophysical profile, the baby scored 0/8. She was immediately transferred to the hospital and while being prepped for a C-section, the baby had a severe bradycardia. The C-section was done immediately. Baby appeared to be suffering from growth retardation and had two true knots in the cord. Mother acknowledges that doctors prevented a stillbirth in progress.

Once again we learn some basic facts. Birth is not trustworthy. Babies die because some women do not understand that birth is not trustworthy. Trusting birth does not prevent or change the incidence of cord prolapse, malpresentation or fetal distress. In fact, the severity of the outcomes seem directly related to the degree of trust the mother insisted upon. The mother who was most trusting ended up with a baby who died. The mother who transferred on her midwife's recommendation ended up with only a C-section. The mother who grudgingly agreed to a biophysical profile enabled her doctor to avert a stillbirth in progress.


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