There aren’t enough hours in the day to explain just how corrupt our medical industry has become. For now, we’ll just tackle the birthing aspect of medicine, and how it’s come to be what it is now. Once upon a time, women birthed freely in their own homes or village huts. They were surrounded by midwives, support sisters and neighboring women who were there to welcome their baby into the world and help the new mother in any way they could.
Today, birth is a far cry from that, and women are finding that they must fight to have the birth they desire. Yes, ultimately, a safe mother and baby is the primary goal. No one is advocating that we jeopardize that. Instead, we need to push for a refocusing on birth. It is not a medical event. Low-risk pregnancies have been shown to produce better outcomes when there is less intervention involved. For this reason, studies have shown that midwives may actually be a better support system than obstetricians for these pregnancies.
Still, women are so routinely swept up into society’s picture of birth. They grow up seeing painful birth experiences on television. They assume the best birthing position is on their back when it’s the worst position for most mothers to be in. They believe natural birth is worse than a medicated one. They are led to believe their doctors are in control of their pregnancies and births, when it is very much the other way around. It’s time we push for a shift in the way women are thinking and viewing their bodies and birth. Take control, mommies. Be brave. Fight for that baby and for a safer birth.
Pitocin is a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin. This is the hormone women naturally produce during late pregnancy that triggers contractions to take hold and start dilating the cervix. Over time, and with habitual use of the drug, women have become accustomed to accepting it as being nearly the same thing as our own natural oxytocin when it is not.
Pitocin has been linked to uterine rupture, an increased risk of C-section, ventouse or forceps delivery, and certain developmental disorders in babies. One study published in the Journal of the American Society for Neurochemistry noted that children born to mothers whose labor was induced with Pitocin were more likely to be later diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the study, children with autism were 2.32 times more likely to have been exposed to Pitocin for labor induction than children without autism.
Pitocin is also routinely injected into the mother’s thigh after birth to assist in preventing hemorrhage. The problem here is that this drug can also interfere with the natural cascade of hormones occurring in the mother at that time. This may impede breastfeeding and cause hormonal imbalance in the postpartum mother. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes that women who elect for induction end up having a C-section twice as often as women who go into labor on their own.
Another study published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety noted that Pitocin was linked to a 32 percent increase in postpartum depression among women with no history of the disorder, and a 36 percent increase among those who had suffered from PPD before. These are just a small fraction of the reasons many women refuse Pitocin.
AROM stands or artificial rupturing of the membranes. In other words, the doctor or midwife takes a stick-like tool that looks quite similar to a crochet hook — or they use a glove with a hook on the end of the fingertip — and they use it to poke a hole in your amniotic sac to break your waters. This is known to speed up labor. How? It makes contractions more intense because that cushy ball that was around the baby is no longer there.
This is also known to put moms on the clock. The hospital will start counting down the time that mom’s water has been broken and will want to see her progress in a certain manner on a specific timeline following the procedure. If she doesn’t, they start recommending other interventions, like Pitocin and C-sections.
Aside from being pressured to accept those and having more strenuous contractions, many women will then be pushed to accept internal fetal monitoring. This is because there is an increased risk of fetal distress after AROM. For these reasons and more, many moms say no to AROM.
About 60 percent of laboring women opt for the epidural. This drug cocktail is administered through the spinal cavity. Yes, they inject it into your spine and place a catheter there for ongoing drug administration. Epidurals have been linked to lethargy and breastfeeding woes in babies, as well as paralysis, severe migraines and an increased risk of blood clots.
Epidurals are known to increase the duration of labor. Mothers who opt for them are at a three-fold increased risk of suffering from a severe perineal tear. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology notes that the risk of C-section is multiplied by 2.5 times when an epidural is administered.
The risk of needing Pitocin is tripled when an epidural is used. They also up the chances that mom will need a vacuum or forceps-assisted delivery. Among women with urinary, anal and sexual disorders following birth, the majority were impaired by epidurals during delivery. Sure, they numb all the pain for the hours or day that a woman is in labor, but at what long-term expense?
Roughly one-third of all pregnant women give birth via Cesarean section now in America. This is a touchy topic. Many mothers who have had C-sections feel attacked when others speak of their dismay for them. But they aren’t totally out in left field. C-sections come with serious risks, and while they are absolutely beneficial as an addition to the birth community, they should not be occurring as frequently as they are or for all the reasons that they are.
C-sections should only be used when there is no safe way for a mother to deliver vaginally. But we see it being used all the time by mothers who want to schedule their deliveries, and those who are afraid of what vaginal birth might do to their lady bits. We see doctors pushing it on women who’ve been in labor for a mere eight hours. We see women falling prey to outdated practices by pushy doctors who insist they are too small to birth their own baby.
C-sections have indeed been known to impair the mother-child bond. No, it doesn’t always happen. But it does happen. It ups the risk of postpartum complications. It also increases the risk of postpartum mood disorders. In a study published in the International Scholarly Research Notices: Obstetrics and Gynecology, PPD occurred in 27.6 percent of women who delivered vaginally while it occurred in 31.8 percent of women who elected for a Cesarean and 34.9 percent of those who ended up with one after first attempting a vaginal birth. Point blank, there are times when C-section is necessary, but it is being overutilized, and this is why many women do their own research on what conditions warrant surgery and feel confident in saying no when it doesn’t.
Cytotec — known in generic form as misoprostol — is a medication that was created for the purpose of preventing stomach ulcers in individuals who are on high or frequent doses of NSAID drugs. It has been used off-label in the world of obstetrics to help release prostaglandins that soften and dilate the cervix for the induction of labor.
That being said, the Food and Drug Administration never approved Cytotec for labor induction and the manufacturer has warned against its use for such since a study on the drug produced alarming results, even in small numbers. Despite that, many doctors continue to use this drug to induce their pregnant patients.
So, about that small number of alarming side effects that Cytotec causes? Anyone in the mood for uterine rupture? Didn’t think so. That’s the reason many moms today are saying heck no to Cytotec. Cervadil is an FDA-approved for labor induction alternative that is much safer, though it still comes with the risks of inducing.
My, oh my. For those who have researched the history of episiotomies, it surprises them that any doctor still engages in this practice. There is conclusive evidence on this today that we didn’t have at one time. We do not. Episiotomies are not necessary. If the body needs to expand more rapidly for the baby to exit, it will tear in the exact appropriate places to make that happen. Guess what? Tears heal better and cause less nerve damage than episiotomies.
In addition, there are several things that contribute to tearing that can be avoided. For starters, moms need to get off of their backs. Second, they need to avoid coached pushing. You do not need to wait for your provider to tell you when to push unless you are medicated and cannot feel your body. Women who birth naturally tear less often because they are in more control over the positioning of their bodies and the way they birth. Let gravity help! Squatting is perfect! Hands and knees is a great option, too. Last but not least, allow the fetal ejection reflex to take over and push your baby out for you! No exhaustion necessary!
Fetal monitoring definitely has its place in the birthing world. Before modern technology made it possible for us to keep tabs on our littles ones while in utero, we were left to use fetoscopes and hope for the best. Today, monitoring can be performed externally or internally. Be aware that the internal version does require the doctor to prick the baby’s head.
The problem with fetal monitoring is that some doctors are waaaaaaay too eager to stay on top of every single contraction and position change the mom engages in. Some fluctuation of the baby’s heart rate is normal throughout labor. Contractions should cause some deceleration. We just don’t want it to be too much, too often.
Moms who opt for refusing fetal monitoring altogether usually do so because they believe in a low-intervention birth and think monitoring can lead to the doctor making recommendations for unnecessary interventions. In reality, those recommendations are nothing to fear, because patients can refuse them, too.
More often, it’s continuous fetal monitoring that women don’t like. It requires them to stay in bed sometimes. It can prevent them from using water to manage their labor pains. It’s uncomfortable and a distraction from the labor and birthing experience many are trying to have, and there’s no real need for it from an evidence-based point of view in low-risk moms.
This is a pretty hot topic nowadays. We get it. We’ve been told forever that we have to push a baby out. We’ve seen it in movies and all over television. We’ve heard stories from friends about how many hours they had to push to get their little one Earth side.
So, why the sudden push to stop pushing? Because it was never necessary to begin with, but no one was telling you that before. The more we tell a mom to push, the more exhausted she becomes. The more likely she is to tear. The more likely there will be a cascade of interventions employed. From the standpoint of a hospital looking for more profits, this is the jackpot.
Moms in the know are aware that the fetal ejection reflex is powerful and will take over for her when it’s time for the baby to enter the world. For those who have experienced it, they call it remarkable, amazing and something all women should experience. Coached pushing is a dying trend. We’re going back to our roots and trusting our bodies to get the job done.
“When is that baby coming? Are you dilated at all?” Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Toward the end of pregnancy, women become restless, tired, uncomfortable, and eager to know if their body is going to show up and rock this birth the way they hope.
Cervical checks enter the picture around 37 weeks along, and more and more women are refusing them from that point onward. Yes, even during labor. Why? Because, as the saying goes, “your cervix is not a crystal ball.” It won’t tell you when labor is coming. A woman can sit at 5 centimeters dilated for a month or more while another woman is at just 1 centimeter and in full blown labor.
Cervical checks can cause premature rupturing of the membranes. They also introduce bacteria that can lead to maternal and infant infection. Besides that, they play with moms’ emotions a lot! The news that a woman is dilated may get her hopes up that something is going to happen soon only for her to remain pregnant for several more weeks. It’s not worth the unnecessary upset.
Enter, the VBAC. That is, vaginal birth after cesarean. For years, women who had C-sections were told they would never be able to have a vaginal birth after that experience. This used to be more pertinent because their C-sections were performed with lengthier and somewhat brutal incisions that risked uterine rupture in subsequent labors when having to endure bouts of contractions for hours on end.
That’s the old way of thinking. Today, women have small, transverse incisions at the bikini line. Most providers do have regulations that stipulate how far apart a new pregnancy has to be in the future from a previous Cesarean before they will agree to a vaginal birth. Usually this is about 18 months, give or take. However, some hospitals won’t even touch a VBAC patient who wants to deliver vaginally if their C-section was any time in the last two or three years!
For this reason, a lot of doctors still push unnecessary repeat C-sections on moms that don’t have to go through that again. They can have the beautiful birth experience they want. They can prove it to themselves that they can birth the way they were intended. They can walk away from the experience feeling empowered and stronger for having done it both ways, and the more women who stand up to their providers with the evidence of VBAC safety, the more normal it will become.
The trend of clamping the umbilical cord has soared to great, new heights in recent years. Moms and dads are eager to make sure this stipulation is on their birth plan. They would be one step wiser to go ahead and discuss it with their midwife or obstetrician beforehand, because some of them will disagree.
Yes, it seems so harmless. I mean, who is it hurting to let the cord go unclamped until it turns white and stops pulsating? What is thirty minutes or so going to take away from the doctor? Well, given that they waited all day for you to labor and birth that baby on your own terms without intervention to speed it all up so they can get home in time for dinner and The Walking Dead, it’s hurting them.
Look, not all doctors and midwives are awful. Some truly want you to have the birth you dream of and produce a healthy baby at the end of it. But others do have a vested interest in their own selfish desires, and they will try to cut corners to make things run more on their schedule. This one is easy. Don’t clamp the cord. You lose all the benefits of baby’s stem cells and one-third of their blood supply remains in the cord for the train. Give it to them.
There are a variety of infections that we can develop at any time. Some require antibiotics and some do not. For example, pediatricians are no longer supposed to recommend antibiotics for the treatment of mild ear infections, but many still do. This is an outdated practice. The same kind of care carries over to midwifery and obstetrics at times.
Moms may develop Group B Strep during pregnancy. This strain of bacteria is always present in the colon. Sometimes it migrates to the vagina. When a swab test detects it there, many providers jump to treating the issue with antibiotics during labor. The problem with this is that is exposes the baby’s brand new microbiome to antibiotics that then wipe out their sensitive and perfect gut flora. Their immune system is being attacked before it has even begun to flourish.
For this reason, many moms refuse these antibiotics. There are other options for treatment, such as hibiclens — which remains fairly controversial. Women can also adhere to the brewer’s diet to attempt to clear the colonization of this bacteria by inserting raw garlic cloves into the vagina along with coconut oil. It’s not a bad idea to ingest these in small amounts, either. Many women, when retested a week or two later, no longer present with the strain.
Sources: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Society for Neurochemistry, Journal for Depression and Anxiety, Fit Pregnancy, AJOG, AJOG, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, AJOG, Acta Obstetrica et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Childbirth Connection, International Scholarly Research Notices: Obstetrics and Gynecology