Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Americanized Birth

Oh, America.  You've given us lots of awesome stuff, and some not so awesome.  Two of the saddest things have to be the infatuation with food, and the medicalization of birth.

I was watching "Outrageous Births:  Tales from the Crib" on TLC.  While a few of the stories are truly outrageous, so many are actually more like how birth should be happening.  The problem though, is that people have become so far removed from "normal" birth, that what is normal is now considered "outrageous".

A woman was getting induced, two days past her due date because she was "overdue" and worried about the size since her last baby had been born a week early and was 7lb 14oz, and she didn't want to have a big baby!  Due dates are estimates.  The doctor uses a standardized due date "wheel" that is based on a 28 day cycle, with ovulation happening on day 14.  Not that many women actually have this cycle!  So the due date is actually considered an estimate.  Doctors generally consider a 2 week period on either side of the due date to be "normal".

The average newborn weight is 7lb12oz-7lb14oz.  At the end of pregnancy, a baby typically puts on 1/2lb per week.  So, even if her first baby was early by a week, he would have been 8lb6oz by the due date.  Not a "large" baby by any means.

The next few things really made me shake my head though.  She gets checked, and it is determined she is 5cm.  That means she's in active labour.  Yet, the nurse says "Let's start the induction with pitocin to get this labour going."  If the nurse doesn't understand the point of an induction, what hope does the patient have?

Okay, there was the small issue of a tornado heading towards the hospital. But the mom got an epidural and was unable to assist in her move to safety...they knew about the tornado when they gave the epidural.  I don't know why they thought they needed to speed up the birth to "beat the tornado" since they don't have any control over either.

Anyway.  Ladies.  If your nurse says you're 5cm and they're going to induce you, ask for a new nurse.

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