Wednesday, 14 September 2011

One born every minute - USA

After reading the inspiring book by Ina May Gaskin (Guide to Childbirth) I thought I would check out the TV Programme One born every minute - USA. Oh my goodness! It really was a pregnant woman's worse nightmare. There were no midwives at all present in the hospital, only obstetric nurses and doctors. The women did not stand a chance of anything like a normal delivery as we understand it in England. As soon as they were in the delivery room they were made to lie down on a bed and strapped to a CTG machine to observe the fetal heartbeat, and these were low risk primips. See the post 'Staying Upright' and 'Why Labour Hurts 4' and 'Hazards to a pain free labour 4' for why this is a bad idea. Next they were cannulated and an IV started and then when the nurses had made sure that they were in as much pain as possible, they were offered an epidural. A doctor came in for the birth, only 10% of women in America are delivered by midwives. They had to deliver with their legs up in stirrups in the lithotomy position, which as we all know is not a good position for an easy natural birth. The doctor then performed an episiotomy and applied forceps to deliver the baby. Oh my goodness, if this is what American women have to put up with then no wonder Ida May is so popular. I think she should be put up for election as President of the USA. I would vote for her. Maybe then you could see normal midwifery back in the US of A. Seriously, you cannot put up with this treatment, you would give more respect to a pregnant animal than they gave to the women in their care. The really sad part was that the women were so compliant and never questioned their treatment. Tell us how it really is, leave a message. Ann x.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ina May, now thats what I call midwifery

Have been on anual leave this week and have just read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to childbirth - wow. Just finished drying my eyes and my make up isn't even waterproof, there should be a warning on the front of the book. It was lovely, the first half of the book is birthing stories. Ina May lives in a village in the USA called The Farm. All her women either give birth at home or in a birthing centre. Her CS rate is less than 2% and instrumental rate is 0.05%. Wow. Ina May recognises that adrenalin is bad in labour but she does not state why. I think women today want to know why and how something happens and that is why I have revealed why labour hurts in this blog. She refers to contractions as rushes, that is so sweet. As least she doesn't call them "pains" like the majority of midwives I know do.
One thing in the book that did shock me is the way American women are expected to give birth within the usual health structure there. OMG times 10. They have to book with an obstetrician who they will see throughout their pregnancy and birth. In England only high risk women have care throughout with a doctor. At the birth the American women are expected to have continuous CTG monitorin, IV access and an episiotomy as standard, even if they are low risk. They are looked after by obstetric nurses and the doctor is called at the end to deliver the baby.
No wonder women are afraid to give birth, there is nothing even remotely natural about these births. I always look at America as pioneers who show us the way but in midwifery they are way behind. I can see why Ina May is so popular. There is no way anyone could have a pain free labour under the American way, how on earth do you put up with it? Leave a message and let us know.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pain free labour for Tailor, sorted.

I was caring for a young lady having her fourth baby, a girl after 3 boys just like me. On taking over her care from the night staff I found Tailor sat on a birthing ball leaning forward on the bed using entonox. She was very tense and when she had a contraction she was crying with the pain. I knelt down next to her and started talking her through the contractions, teaching her how to relax her shoulders and then the rest of her body. It took her about 15 min to master the relaxing and she was amazed at how the contractions did not cause her any more pain. She was able to remain relaxed and started laughing and joking with her family who were very supportive. We got to 10 cm dilated in no time at all now that her cervix was not being held shut by adrenalin (see why labour hurts 3).
I cannot pretend that the second stage of labour is pain free cos you have a bony head stretching your perineum, have you ever had a Chinese burn? It is something like that! Tailor got onto the bed and adopted a hands and knees position. It is always so much easier to give birth in this way as the pelvic outlet is bigger and there is less pressure on the perineum, an English burn instead of a Chinese one, maybe? Taylor was brilliant throughout and soon gave birth to a beautiful bouncing baby girl delivered by my lovely student Jo. Awwww.