HOSPITAL AND DOCTOR FOR YOUR BIRTH CRAZY CONCEPT?
We have a culture in this country (and many others) where women go to a place called a hospital to have a baby. Is this a crazy concept?
What are hospitals?
Some dictionary definitions include:
‘an institution in which sick or injured persons are given medical or surgical treatment’
‘a facility that provides emergency, inpatient, and usually outpatient care for sick or injured people’
‘a building designed to diagnose and treat the sick, injured or dying. Usually has a staff of doctors and nurses to aid in the treatment of patients’
Definition of a doctor?
‘a person who is qualified to treat people who are ill’
‘a person who is skilled in the science of medicine: a person who is trained and licensed to treat sick and injured people’
So if hospitals and doctors are there to diagnose and treat the sick, ill and dying ‘patient’, why is it that this NORMAL event called having a baby, generally happens in a hospital and often with a doctor?
It is understandable that women/couples don’t ‘think’ about their choices, because the doctor/hospital option is ‘sold’ on a national scale, as being the norm. The majority of women know someone, a friend or family member, who went to a doctor for their pregnancy, labour and birth. A minority, know someone who has been cared for by a midwife and birthed in a birthing centre or at home.
What is a midwife?
Some dictionary definitions include:
‘a person qualified to deliver babies and to care for women before, during and after childbirth’
‘a midwife is a professional in midwifery. In addition to providing care to women during pregnancy and birth, midwives may also provide primary care related to reproductive health, including annual gynaecological exams, family planning and menopausal care’
‘midwives are specialists in childbirth, postpartum, and well-woman care’
It is perhaps surprising that many in the community are not aware that a midwife is trained, and indeed does, look after women for their pregnancy, labour, birth, baby and post-natally.
I met a couple, recently, who were pregnant with their first baby, well educated and had chosen a public hospital and midwifery care. I became aware that whilst she understood the role of a midwife, he clearly, did not. He was quite horrified to discover that it was unlikely that a doctor would be present during the birth of his baby. I asked him what he understood a midwife to be? His answer was quite shocking: ‘she hands the doctor all the instruments during birth’!! His partner was in disbelief. Now we did all have a laugh after a lengthy discussion about pregnancy and birthing being a ‘normal’ event, but sadly, this is not an isolated story. Many obstetricians find it very uncomfortable when a woman says she wants a normal birth. Afterall, what are they going to do? How will they earn their fee if they don’t use some medical intervention often presented as necessary to save mother and baby. A doctor is trained to cure the disease, fix the medical problem, diagnose and treat. This is what they specialise in, trained in, and what they go into medicine to do. So this position of being in the background (just in case), or sitting on their hands and not touching, fixing, doing, treating, is a foreign concept and perhaps an unrealistic expectation.
Changing our Culture
It is never easy to change ‘thinking’ in a culture where something has been in place for a very long time. Many women simply don’t think about shopping around for a caregiver or place to birth as they just assume that doctor/hospital is the right thing to do.
There is nothing that needs diagnosing, treating or fixing about growing and birthing a baby. Pregnancy and birthing are what women are designed to do, without medical interference. So shop around and TRUST in your amazing birthing body.