“I am open to natural birth” said the Obstetrician to Lisa who was discussing what she wanted for her birth.
MIND THE LANGUAGE
Look at this language – “I am open”, there are many different interpretations. Firstly the use of the word “I” so who owns this birth? Surely the birth belongs to Lisa and her baby. “I” would also suggest an intention to be in control, in charge of the birthing. Surely it’s Lisa and her baby who are in control of the birth. “I am open” also indicates the possibility of hearing what you want, therefore I am prepared to listen (maybe) but I, the Doctor have my own agenda, so I will indulge you, whilst you tell me what you think is going to happen, not that you, the woman, would know, because I am the expert here. And what does “natural birth” mean? Does this mean a normal birth, without interference, or is there a hidden agenda. Because for him, the Doctor, a natural birth, without interference, is not very exciting. Is this what he has trained all these years for? To be just hanging around, not using any of his skills, to watch a baby being born normally? People study medicine and become Doctors because they love the drama, and adrenaline rush of a medical emergency. They have trained for many years to perfect these skills. So it’s understandable that an Obstetrician, would prefer some type of emergency, or at the very least something abnormal, where he has the opportunity to use his skills. The ventouse or forceps birth, the emergency Caesarean section. He has also undertaken a medical degree because on some level his personality dictates rescuer or saviour. A Doctor gets satisfaction from saving the day! Or rather saving the mother and baby.
It is understandable that some women find the above statement reassuring, not knowing that as birth becomes imminent there will most likely be some battles that are inevitable with this model of care. A woman, who has not done any shopping around for caregivers or places to birth has nothing to compare. These women, are often the most fearful, unsure and hesitant because they don’t really feel totally supported in having a normal birthing experience, but often can’t articulate that feeling, because they are not quite sure why.
At her next visit at 32wks of pregnancy Lisa’s Obstetrician did an ultrasound why? No reason was given. The Obstetrician then told Lisa that it was very disappointing because her baby appeared to be in a posterior position and he would recommend booking a Caesarean Section! for 37wks so she could avoid a long, painful labour with a baby who was already in the ‘wrong’ position and would not have any chance of turning in labour. (Rescuer, saviour!)
Is their another agenda here? absolutely! And it is not Lisa’s and her baby.
5 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK OF YOUR CAREGIVER
1. What is your personal intervention rate?
2. What is the hospital intervention rate? Research shows private hospitals have much higher medical intervention rates than public hospitals. Some have 70-80% epidural rates and around a 50% Caesarean section rate. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that for a country like Australia, our Caesarean Section rate should be around 10%! Women are not so flawed to warrant this level of intervention.
3. What reasons do you have for induction of labour? This will give you a good indication of a doctors view on due date, in particular.
4. What do you find is the most common position for a woman to give birth? This will give you a good indication of how ‘open’ a doctor is about flexible birthing positions.
5. What would be a reason for an episiotomy. There are many doctors who do routine episiotomies. Important to know this before birth.
So if you want to be assured of a normal birth, do your shopping around and don’t have faith in statements like “I am open to a natural birth”.
Lisa changed her care to a midwifery model at a public hospital and employed a doula. She feels much more relaxed and confident in her choices and really looking forward to her birth. She says for the first time in her pregnancy she feels safe and reassured that her choices will be respected.