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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Technology in Birth: First do no Harm"

Having posted that horrifying video this morning of an over sized barbie giving birth..... *shudder*.... I've been thinking on the topic of how medicalize birth has endangered women and babies. and thinking about the horrible truth: that it has become so mainstream, so "Normal", so Accepted, that women and their partners don't even question it any more.

Not a week, not a day goes by that I don't read comments on birthing/pregnancy forums about scheduled inductions and caesarean sections or about women planning their epidurals in advance. Birth stories of women told the most outrageous lies by the medical machine to validate the doctors opinion of why all these interventions are necessary.

I have days when I literally rant at the computer screen (these days apparently happen often enough that my kids no longer even take note, lol), and I want to scream, to tell these women that NO! They don't need to labour on their backs strapped to a plethora of monitors, with an IV and epidural in place. ...... ARGH!!!!

I tell people and try to educate people all the time- both in real life and online- I try to make people aware that THEY need to do the research and find out for themselves. And I post articles and studies to try to open the eyes of those that are blinded by faith in a medical machine that plays to a different drum.

This is one of my most favorite articles ever written on the topic of Birth and the dangers and risks of interventions. I have lost count of how many times I've posted this article on Forums, blogs, chats, web sites, Facebook...... If every pregnant woman and her partner read this article, I'm SURE that at least some of them would wake up from their stupor and see the reality of modern child birth.

Technology in Birth: First Do No Harm

By Marsden Wagner, MD

A woman in Iowa was recently referred to a university hospital during her labor because of possible complications. There, it was decided that a cesarean section should be done. After the surgery was completed and the woman was resting post-operatively in her hospital room, she went into shock and died. An autopsy showed that during the cesarean section the surgeon had accidentally nicked the woman's aorta, the biggest artery in the body, leading to internal hemorrhage, shock and death.

Cesarean section can save the life of the mother or her baby. Cesarean section can also kill a mother or her baby. How can this be? Because every single procedure or technology used during pregnancy and birth carries risks, both for mother and baby. The decision to use technology is a judgment call—it may make things either better or worse.

We are living in the age of technology. Ever since we succeeded in going to the moon, we have believed that technology can do everything to solve all of our problems. So it should come as no surprise that doctors and hospitals are using more and more technology on pregnant and birthing women. Has it solved all the problems that can arise during birth? Hardly. Let's look at the recent track record.

Has the recent increasing use of technology during pregnancy and birth resulted in fewer damaged or dead babies? In the United States there has been no decrease in the past 30 years in the number of babies with cerebral palsy. The biggest killer of newborn babies is a birth weight that is too low, but the number of too-small babies born has not decreased the past 20 years. The number of babies who die while still in the womb has not decreased in more than a decade. While the past 10 years has seen a slight drop in the number of babies who die during their first week after birth, the scientific data suggest an increase in the number of babies who survive the first week but have permanent brain damage.

Is the increasing use of technology saving the lives of more pregnant and birthing women? In the United States the scientific data show no decrease during the past 10 years in the number of women who die around the time of birth (maternal mortality). In fact, recent data suggest a frightening increase in the number of women dying during pregnancy and birth in the United States. So it may be that the increase in the use of birth technologies is not only not saving more women's lives but it is also killing more women. This possibility has a reasonable scientific explanation: cesarean section and epidural anesthesia have both been used more and more in this country and we know that both cesarean section and epidural block can result in death....

HERE to read the complete article on Midwifery Today