Myth: Hospital Interventions Are Safe and Scientifically Sound
Fact: There is no scientific justification for many standard obstetrical interventions and much of the evidence favors no, or at least cautious, interventive management. Many routine interventions are done primarily for the convenience and legal protection of medical staff. Most of these interventions create risks to the health of both mother and baby. The exception are the approximately five percent of all births that are high-risk, usually recognized long before birth.
Studies show the larger the hospital and the more births per year, the greater the risk of unnecessary intervention and greater the risks to mother and baby. When equipment is available, it is used, even when not necessary, simply because its there.
Technology is not only unnecessary and unsafe for a normal birth, it changes the experience of childbirth for women and babies, with far-reaching results. Technology confers power and control to those who own, apply, and interpret the technology. The mother becomes a spectator at her baby's own birth. - Diana Korte & Roberta Scaer
Routine interventions that disturb the natural process of birthing include rupture of the membranes, induction of labor, stimulation of the uterus with drugs once labor has started, use of large quantities of painkilling drugs, and continuous electronic fetal monitoring. Perhaps the most unquestioned intervention is that of immobilizing the laboring woman and having her lie on her back. While their numbers are declining rapidly with the loss of traditional practices and introduction of modern hospitals, most women throughout most of the world today still labor and deliver in some form of upright or crouching position. The recumbent position leaves women passive and controllable, and offers an excellent view to attendants, but it defies the force of gravity and throws muscles and bones of the body out-of-line for the natural delivery of an infant from the womb, and in the words of Janet Balaskas: "�the joyous independence that comes from naturally and instinctively giving birth actively, on one's own two feet."
The prevalent use of vertical positions can be traced back through thousands of years. The Egyptian hieroglyph meaning "to give birth," shows a mother squatting. The head of a silver pin from Luristan in Persia during the first millennium BCE, depicts a squatting mother. Remains of a clay statue of 5750 BCE from a shrine in �atal H�y�k, Turkey, and an 8 1/2 inch Aztec stone fertility figure from Mexico, show a goddess giving birth in the same position. With or without a birth stool or chair, women giving birth in ancient representations use upright positions. Ethnologists confirm the evidence of historians - whatever the society under observation, upright positions predominate, with a variety of methods of support.
Even the more subtle interventions arising from treating birth as a pathological rather than natural event, can cause a tremendous loss of confidence and morale. Being a "good patient" typically means being passive and obedient - donning a hospital gown, being put to bed as though ill, and doing as instructed without question. (continues)
Impact of Routine Hospital Interventions on a Newborn
Alternative Birthing Practices
Reasons for Cesearean Births