In an article titled “Back to basics for safer childbirth,” and subtitled “Too many doctors and hospitals are overusing high-tech procedures,” Consumer Reports finds the same problems with modern birth practices for low-risk women that natural-birth advocates have been reporting for years: overuse of high-tech, often invasive measures, and underuse of high-touch, usually non-invasive measures.
Overuse of high-tech measures
- Inducing labor. The percentage of women whose labor was induced more than doubled between 1990 and 2005
- Use of epidural painkillers, which might cause adverse effects, including rapid fetal heart rate and poor performance on newborn assessment tests
- Delivery by Caesarean section, which is estimated to account for one-third of all U.S births in 2008, will far exceed the World Health Organization’s recommended national rate of 5 to 10 percent
- Electronic fetal monitoring, unnecessarily adding to delivery costs
- Rupturing membranes (“breaking the waters”), intending to hasten onset of labor
- Episiotomy, which is often unnecessary
Underuse of high-touch, noninvasive measures
- Prenatal vitamins
- Use of midwife or family physician
- Continuous presence of a companion for the mother during labor
- Upright and side-lying positions during labor and delivery, which are associated with less severe pain than lying down on one’s back
- Vaginal birth (VBAC) for most women who have had a previous Caesarean section
- Early mother-baby skin-to-skin contact
They also have a link to a true-false quiz on maternity care (I scored 100%).
Now that Consumer Reports has jumped on the natural-birth bandwagon, maybe, just maybe, all those people who denigrate natural birth advocates will shut up. Hey, I can dream, can’t I? 🙂
My thanks to Empowering Birth for the link to the article!
Filed under: studies & stuff Tagged: | AROM, baby, birth, caesarean section, cesarean section, consumer reports, efm, electronic fetal monitoring, epidural, episiotomy, health, inducing labor, labor induction, maternal, maternity, maternity care, midwife, midwifery, midwives, pregnancy, pregnant, rupturing membranes, VBAC