I was thinking about my blog regarding my niece’s birth and I felt the need to clarify some things. Women need to make informed decisions about their births. Their births will be affecting them the rest of their lives… that experience is paramount according to the studies on how they will mother that infant and see themselves as strong or weak later on.
A woman is not classified in active labor until she is dilated to three centimeters and contracting regularly- stronger, longer and closer together. Usually that means at least an hour of contractions lasting at least a minute for at least an hour. Now I don’t know what my niece’s labor was like. But I do know that the studies show that when a mom stays at the hospital with her water intact and under 3 centimeters dilated, she increases her chances of a cesarean by 30%. So the intervention train is boarded- after all, you are at the hospital to have the baby. So, their job is to help you get the job done. What? At what cost?
A woman making a decision to have her water broken and have an epidural and get pitocin is her right. But did she know the risks? Did anyone tell her that cord prolapse could occur? That epidurals drop a mom’s blood pressure and therefore the babies? Do you realize that when all of a sudden they need to continually monitor you that means there is some risks associated with that procedure? But moms are not told those risks many times. And without a childbirth class to educate her- she is likely to not have understood the options going into labor.
Many times even the childbirth educators are forced when they work for the medical model to teach certain things without telling the whole truth. Their jobs are at risk otherwise. It is a hard choice to work for someone who builds your curriculum for you and makes you hold to it. There are teachers who seem to give homework and encourage folks to find the truth out on their own though.
One bottle of formula may not seem like it is tragic. But if you read this you will understand it is a tragic situation: http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/bf/supplement.asp
My neice was told prior to being discharged after only two days that she did not have enough milk to satisfy her son. Why would a mom have any milk before day three? If a baby needed formula or milk during those first three days then God would have given the mom the ability to make milk quicker. The baby’s stomach is only the size of a marble! Colostrum is so wonderful- in and of itself to fill that small void and provide the rich wealth of antibodies that newborn needs. So why is it that a mom instead of getting proper help to breastfeed instead is given totally untrue information? And why is it that most new moms feel they are not the authority and some medical staff member knows best?
Where was the lactation specialist who could teach her to properly latch her baby- to keep him at her breasts skin to skin so to enhance her milk production? But we can not make the whole responsibility the medical staffs. We have to see that women need to take back their births and babies. We spend more time planning our weddings than we do planning our births and newborn experiences. And as a society we must start sharing more truth. The women of the seventies having natural births need to be sharing our experiences with the younger women- letting them know it is a lie that you don’t get a prize for natural births- you most certainly do!
The prize is a healthier mom- the recovery is wonderful- the baby is more alert and nurses better. The breasts don’t have edema issues from the long use of an IV with fluids- neccessary with epidurals- and the nipples are ready to be nursed from. The labors are more active certainly but that activity helps facilitate a baby’s movement down and out- with less episiotomies, forceps, vaccum and most certainly less ceasarean births.
If nursing moms were more accepted in our society… if we saw more moms nursing their babies in public.. then women would see that as natural and normal. The talks amoung women regarding what helped their babies nurse well and the normalcy of the nursling and mom would be discussed. So, we must take some responsibility as well.
It is sad that women don’t understand the truth- don’t know their options- without knowing their choices they have no choices at all.