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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"The Rule of 10"

Oh this is such a great article from Midwifery Today Magazine!! I've read it before a couple of years ago when it was originally published, but I so wish I had had a chance to read it again before going into labour myself 2 weeks ago!!!

In this article by Lydi Owen "The Rule of 10- versus women's primal wisdom" She talks about the history of the golden 10 centimetres that the Obstetrical community worships. Yet another example of ridiculous rules and absolute "Truths" that the medical machine invented way back in the 50's when they thought their doctors were omnipotent and could completely control childbirth. One of the many "Rules of Birthing" that they invented that still haunts most obstetrical wards to this day: That a woman MUST be fully dilated to 10 cm's before being allowed to push, other wise there will be horrifying outcomes.....

There is a rule of labor that forbids a woman to push with contractions until her cervix is completely dilated to 10 cm. Women are warned that to push before this doorway is completely open and out of the way will result in a swollen and/or torn cervix.

What will supposedly happen if the cervix swells?

Doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas and childbirth educators all warn that a swollen cervix will impede labor and increase the chances of tearing the cervix, thus causing hemorrhage. They have been taught that a swollen cervix is easily broken or pulverized. If this is indeed the truth, then why do most women during labor have an irresistible urge to begin bearing down before dilation is complete?

Could it be that the instinctual wisdom of our bodies has become our enemy? Is Spirit trying to destroy us instead of guiding us? Why would we feel the need to begin bearing down at 5–6 cm (or sooner) if it would shatter the gateway to the baby’s outer world? ...

...How did this “Rule of Ten” come about?

In 1951 doctors Greenhill and DeLee wrote “During the first stage of labor no abdominal pushing is allowed because the cervix will tear.”(2)

We can safely assume that the women being studied by Greenhill and DeLee were under the influence of drugs, because in the mid-20th century the orgy of drug interference during labor and birth was at its height of glory. Almost no women were informed enough to withstand the onslaught of drugs given to them during birth in the hospital. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed in the sixty years since.

Therefore, these doctors were scientifically incorrect in concluding that the “Rule of Ten” was valid, without simultaneously observing a control group of drug-free laboring women in the upright position (as opposed to being drugged and lying down in beds).

HERE to read the entire article from Midwifery Today
Just two weeks ago when I was labouring to birth my youngest son Kael, I encountered this "Rule of 10", and had to struggle through it alone, as no one would listen to my plea's of "I have to push!!". I was at 8 cm and getting Tsk Tsk Tsk from the on call Obstetrician - after being lectured about my inflamed cervix and the fears of my uterus rupturing, and being told NOT to push no matter what my him, the nurses and my midwives.... well, you listen, right? They are the professionals, right? So I went against my instinctual urge and panted and did what ever I could to NOT push.... But when the urge became a primal force that could not be ignored, I was incapable of NOT pushing...

...and low and behold, my son's head descended through my "inflamed and swollen" cervix with no trouble what so ever.

I managed to beat the odds and have my VBA3C birth. I managed to do this without the whole hearted support of the medical personnel who were present at Kael's birth. BUT..... how much easier would his birth have been if they had allowed me the freedom to push as my body instinctually wanted, if they had allowed me to be the guide to my birthing, trusting that as the birthing mother I KNEW what to do- that my body knew exactly what to do. If they had allowed me that logical freedom, I wouldn't have had the epidural that almost ruined everything. I would have pushed how I wanted, when I wanted, and I would have been the one in control, instead of the one being controlled.

...If Wishes were Fishes, right?

Please read the article- please tell everyone you know about it- talk to your midwives and doctors about it!! It is only when women take back control of their bodies and their births that we can make permanent changes to how the field of Obstetrics treats women, and make hospitals set up their policies to enable women, instead of disabling them.

You are woman. Let them hear you roar!