I am a midwife, childbirth educator, lecturer, doula, and natural mother of eight children. This is not a medical reference; I do not proclaim to give medical advice. Anything stated here is from personal experience, research, study, and opinion. Each woman has the responsibility to do her own research, consult with her own medical team, and make her own decisions about pregnancy and birth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthing Takes Common Sense!

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
 Haider, 9 Months

A friend of mine who blogs sent me a link to a story written by "Sarah C," another birth-blogger located in California.  I asked "Sarah C's" permission to copy her story here.  You can check out her blog directly at http://mamabirth.blogspot.com/, however I've added some of my own comments throughout her article in red italics.

I hope you enjoy reading this article.  Please let me know if you have a story idea or would like to share your birth story. Now on to the article...Birthing Takes Common Sense!...

I read the most horrific anti-natural childbirth blog recently. There were half-truths, lies, fear mongering, wild accusations and the like. All were neatly packaged, spell-checked, and horror of horrors, written by somebody who is not just a female obstetrician, but went to HARVARD!   
(Although I respect doctors and recognize their importance in the birth process, I feel that they should act as careful watchers for abnormality and intervene ONLY if the health of the mother or baby is truly at stake.  Unfortunately, I believe that doctors are over educated in abnormality to the point that some have lost their sense of normality in birth.   I have not personally read the blog this article is referring to, but her degree from Harvard only makes me all the more leery of her training regarding the NATURAL process of birth.)

It made me wonder how many people read that garbage and believe it. I don't know if the author even believes what she is saying, though she probably does. But I would say that without a doubt she is trying to be particularly offensive on purpose in order to drive traffic to her blog.

(I try to keep an open mind and consider that doctor's do believe what they do to us in birth is the best for us.  Unfortunately, they are trained in abnormality and taught that their job is to "do something" without realizing that birth is usually normal and nothing really needs to be done!  I don't blame them for their perspective.  However I pity the women who wholeheartedly trust them and just hand their bodies over to the doctor like their car to a mechanic!) 

I love to blog and I get that. The posts that I write that are the most angry or offensive are by far the ones that get the most attention. And, attention feels pretty good. The truth is though that this blogger (despite her degrees) and I and any other blogger have no need to actually back up our information with facts. Nobody is going to stop us. People might call us on it but bloggers are welcome to write whatever they like, even call their skewed and biased opinions fact.

(Boy, isn't this the truth!  I try to be careful to avoid saying "research shows" unless I have a link to the research to back myself up.  Although I am a new blogger and I may have done that in a few early articles.  I should put a disclaimer on my blog that I'm blogging based on my personal opinions and experience and every woman needs to do her own research and come to her own conclusions.)

But it all made me think. Who should we trust when it comes to information? I also recently read a fantastic article about the lies and accidental misinformation so common in totally accepted medical research. You can read it here.

(Great link and a wake up call to all of us!  Thanks to "Sarah C." for providing the link!)

I talk about lots of issues in my childbirth classes. I present them as pros and cons despite my opinions on all of them. I also tell my students that they can find not only studies but opinions on both sides of every issue. There are people who HATE circumcision and there are people who seriously believe it is good for you. When it comes down to it they need to make an educated choice that they feel comfortable with. There will always be people who disagree.

(So true that you can probably find statistics and research to back up any angle.  I don't think I'm as good as "Sarah C." at keeping my opinions out of my childbirth classes.  I'll have to consider that as I teach because I do realize that every woman must make her own choices and I do not want to force my opinions on anyone...even thought I know I'm right!)

So if you can't trust bloggers, medical research (our societies gold standard for truth ) is often biased and money driven, and virtually everything has adamant supporters on both sides, who can you trust?(How about Allah, the Creator of woman and the birthing process!  I honestly don't see how any Muslima can abandon the fact that Allah created her to birth NATURALLY.  How could we even consider that some medical intervention improves on HIS perfect design?)

I think the answer just might be, no one.(Okay, no one "human," I can agree to that!)

This flies in the face of current medical patriarchal "I'll take care of you honey, just do what I say" convention. This means you actually have to research your choices. It means you have to go one step further (because there are studies talking about the benefits of epidurals and doctors who think c-sections are great) and use some COMMON SENSE.(This is even more true in the Middle East, where woman are still being put under general anesthesia for second stage labor, a practice of fifty years ago in the United States.) 

Yes- I said it- COMMON SENSE. I see a total absence of this in so much of what we do.
(Go, Girl!  Say it!  Especially in birth, women need to think for themselves and realize they have the RESPONSIBILITY to make INFORMED CHOICES!) 

Think about these "issues" in birth and motherhood. Do they even make sense, at all?(Lay it out for them!)

Formula feeding is just as good as breast milk.(Biting my tongue!)

You can find studies touting the benefits of breast milk. You can also find articles talking about there being little difference. You can also find plenty of doctors who think formula is better and encourage it.

(Ugh...it kills me to see a mother stick a bottle into her newborn baby's mouth!  How could she?  As for doctors "recommending" it...I'd like to know if that doctor SERIOUSLY believes that!)

But when we step back and use our brains we find this:(Now there's a thought...use our BRAINS and think about it!  Allah gave us the perfect provision for our babies.  You don't see animals feeding their babies off another species.  Barring maternal death or involuntary separation from mother, why in the world would we?)

Humans did not survive for thousands upon thousands of years on breast milk just because they were waiting for a better option to get invented in this day and age. Breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby. It is not made of cow milk, or soy milk, or corn syrup or chemicals. It is not dead, cold and powdered. It is literally FOR BABIES. Case closed.
(Not only is it "for babies," but each mother produces milk especially formulated for HER baby.  The breast milk changes with the baby's needs and environment.  Formula can't touch that!)

The epidural is awesome, it does not increase c-sections.

(Ugh, don't get me started!  Sorry, Ladies, I'm totally anti-epidural unless it's for a NECESSARY c-section.)

Many, many women LOVE epidurals. I don't blame them. The idea has sounded pretty good to me on more than one occasion. Many, many doctors encourage their use and claim that they do not increase the risk of c-section. Studies even say that they are fine as long as they are not given too early.(Not only do they increase the liklihood for c-section, they also increase the need for episiotomy and increase the risk of perineal tears!)

But let's use our common sense again.(Yes, let's!)

One of the main things that the epidural does is prevents movement and feeling. You can not walk, dance, sway, bend, or do much of anything when you have one. It absolutely boggles my mind that this would seem like a good idea when you are trying to get a baby OUT OF YOUR VAGINA. Have you ever seen a vagina? They look pretty small, right?! Have you ever heard of the LAW OF GRAVITY?! It pulls things DOWN. Even babies. Unless of course, you are lying on your back. If you are on your back, then down is not out your vagina. Down is towards the bed.
(Well stated!  Ladies, PLEASE do not let them put you flat on your back in labor/delivery!  Not only does this position work against gravity and your labor but it also impairs your blood circulation and can result in a misdiagnosis of "fetal distress."  It's the worse possible position for you, although best for your doctor.  What do you want for YOUR labor---good for you or good for the doctor?)

Not to mention that the powerful sensations of birth might just exist for a purpose. They have always been there right? Could it be they are telling you to MOVE. What purpose does something serve that prevents mobility and feeling at a time when it is obvious that mobility and movement are of paramount importance? I will give you a hint. It's purpose is not to make your birth work better. It is to shut you up and keep you still. (Neither of which will help your birth.)
(Additionally, epidurals are often given too late to really matter and sometimes don't even work!  Not to mention epidural "accidents" and side effects which sometimes can be worse than the actual labor!  Woman who decide ahead of time that they will take the epidural do not prepare themselves for their labor, not realizing they may experience a significant amount of labor BEFORE they are given the epidural .  Without preparation they are left to just suffer with no idea how to cope.  Woman are far better off preparing to cope with labor naturally in the first place!)

C-sections are better for the mom and baby.(OMG! How could anyone buy into that?  How in the world could you believe that MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY is better for you than natural birth?  I'm sorry, I just don't understand the ignorance behind this theory!)

I will be the first to admit that c-sections sometimes are better for mom and baby. But when I hear of men who have more degrees and schooling than me and refer to the c-section as a "vaginal bypass" and perform then on the vast majority of their patients, my mind reels.
(I'm "reeling" with you, Sister!  Of course I am grateful for c-sections that are used when truly NECESSARY and realize it is a life saving procedure.  But it's used far too often.  We must also consider that other "voluntary" and "unnecessary"  medical interventions are often the CAUSE for the NEEDED c-section in the first place (epidurals, inductions, glucose IV, etc).  The "accepted" c-section rate is no more than 10% (and even that is high).  I'd run from any doctor with a c-section rate higher than 10%)

Step back, take a breath, and think about this one.
(I'm breathing, but it's hard not to jump up and down here!)

The current c-section rate is over 30%. If this is actually anywhere near the necessary level, how on earth did human kind survive? If this were needed about 1/3 of women would have died giving birth to their first child. Not after from hemorrhage or exhaustion or malnutrition or bad sanitation. No, they would have died because they could not get their babies out of their vagina's.(Thirty percent is appalling!  I wonder if women even realize the risks associated with cesarean surgery?  Women are far more likely to suffer a complication, including DEATH, from a cesarean than from a natural birth.  What baffles me is ELECTIVE c-sections!  Why risk it?)

And- if you believe in evolution or divine design, this makes no sense. Even if human women once had too small pelvises or constant cord or placenta problems, or anything used to justify this outrageous rate, natural selection would have quickly remedied the situation.(I'm going with divine design.  I trust Allah's design of the female body and the birth process far more than any medical "miracle!")

NO- this is not the case. Childbirth and the childbearing woman are designed to do this with the least amount of fuss and danger. It makes no sense for the very vehicle (birth) that brings children into the world, that spreads genetic code, that is absolutely necessary to sustain human life, to be inherently and constantly dangerous. It makes no sense.(Consider this, every female member of your own family tree, up until your grandmother or maybe great-grandmother, gave birth NATUALLY!  This goes all the way back to Eve!  You exist because NATURAL birth WORKS!) 

Let's step back and look at birth and our bodies with just a tiny bit of calm and sense. We will find what nature has been trying to tell us for thousands of years. Birth is normal. It is supremely normal. It is designed perfectly. So is your body. Trust it.
(AMEEN!  May Allah make it easy for each and every one!  But don't forget to "tie your camel," get EDUCATED and get PREPARED!  You have about nine months warning, use that time wisely!)

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