If you look at scientific literature, you find over and over again that many interventions increase risk to mother and child instead of decreasing it.
When I ask my medical students to describe their image of a woman who elects to birth with a midwife rather than with an obstetrician, they generally describe a woman who wears long cotton skirts, braids her hair, eats only organic vegan food, does yoga, and maybe drives a VW microbus. What they don’t envision is the omnivorous, pants-wearing science geek standing before them.
Indeed, they become downright confused when I go on to explain that there was really only one reason why my mate — an academic internist — and I decided to ditch our obstetrician and move to a midwife: Our midwife could be trusted to be scientific, whereas our obstetrician could not.
(click link at the top to read the rest of the article on TheAtlantic.com)
10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy
Despite a healthcare system that outspends those in the rest of the world, infants and mothers fare worse in the U.S. than in many other industrialized nations. Infants in this country are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday as those in Japan and Finland. And America now ranks behind 59 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth and is one of only eight countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and El Salvador, whose maternal mortality rate is rising.
Why? Partly because mothers in the U.S. tend to be less healthy than in the past, “which contributes to a higher-risk pregnancy,” says Diane Ashton, M.D., deputy medical director of the March of Dimes.
But another key reason may be that medical expediency appears to be taking a priority over the best outcomes. The U.S. healthcare system has developed into a labor-and-delivery machine, often operating according to its own timetable rather than the less predictable schedule of mothers and babies. Keeping things chugging along are technological interventions that can be lifesaving in some situations but also interfere with healthy, natural processes and increase risk when used inappropriately.
(click link at the top to read on Consumerreports.org)
“There is a popular misconception that a doula, someone who provides professional labor support, is only useful for women who are planning an unmedicated or natural childbirth. As a long time doula, I can tell you that nothing is further from the truth.” (click link to read on pregnancy.about.com)