If We Can't Make It Illegal...

Approx. read time: 3 minutes 30 seconds
It's no surprise with the increase interest in homebirth and unmedicated birth that the ACOG and AMA have reiterated their "long-standing opposition to home births"

On August 19, 2009, though, the American Association of Anesthesiologists came out with a "What Every Expectant Woman Should Know" 'fact' sheet.

Craig Palmer, M.D., Chair of the Committee on Obstetrical Anesthesia, American Society of Anesthesiologists states,
“While the Internet has vastly increased the quantity and accessibility of medical information, it has also fostered the spread of misinformation about pain management and childbirth. The goal of this campaign is to provide the public with accurate, impartial, and scientifically-supported information to help expectant mothers make choices that are right for them.”
(emphasis mine)

'Misinformation' abounds on the internet, according to this statement. It also states that the general public has more access to medical information... so... does that mean that the medical information out there is wrong? It seems that this statement is a little errant. The information that childbirth professionals interested in true and informed consent would like to share with every woman, such as doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives, is rooted in medical studies and their conclusions that, because of the internet, are more readily accessible to the public.

I also have a bit of a problem with the comment that the ASA is offering impartial information. If you have a financial interest in something, it cannot be impartial.

If the increased exposure on alternative pregnancy/childbirth options decreases the number of women seeking medicated births, especially since national findings put average hospital revenue for hospital-based births at 66%, it is no surprise that the ASA is rallying with their 'fact sheet'. I mean, if you can't take away their options the next best thing is to give nice blanket statements on the safety of your source of income, right?

Here are some of their 'FACTS':
'Fact': Pain management during labor and delivery is a personal choice for women. Women should not feel pressured to either accept or refuse pain management treatment during labor.
I agree... but then why I have I been to numerous births where doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists continually attempt to coerce women into using medication during their labors even when they have made it abundantly clear they don't want it?
'Fact': Pain during labor is different for every woman and depends on a variety of factors. Some women need little or no pain relief medication, while others find that pain relief medication gives them better control over their labor and delivery.
Better control for the mother? I, and anyone who has ever been in the labor room, can tell you that having medication introduced to the process takes away a woman's control of the process. She might have better control of her pain, but not the process; she gives up her autonomy, being confined to the bed, the bedpan or catheter, the IV pole, the EFM or IFM and blood pressure cuff.
'Fact': Except in rare and exceptional cases, pain management has no impact on labor. In the overwhelming majority of cases, there is no impact on the mother, the baby or the labor delivery process. The decision whether to use pain management treatments is largely a question of the comfort of the mother. Furthermore, contrary to myths frequently cited on the Internet, there is no credible evidence to show that epidurals (or other pain management procedures) slow labor, cause C-sections or lead to a higher incidence of depressed babies.
hmmm.. for my response on that, see the medical sources cited below showing complete contrary information.

FACTS, with cited sources, can be found on:
Again, I'm not out to make every woman have the birth I would choose, it is about making informed, non-coerced, educated decisions. And ultimately, healthier, safer, beginnings.

FACT: I would like well-rounded and all information to be provided to women so that they can make fully educated and informed choices for their, and their babies, health.


Sheridan said...

Great points. I so agree that if a mom chooses an epidural, she gives control of her birth to the nurses, OBs, etc. She may be more comfortable, but has a lot less control.

Lindsay said...

I was just telling a client and good friend of mine this today as she was thinking about having an epidural, I will send her to your blog!


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