Moms bigger risk takers when birthing than their doctors

Filed under: Your Pregnancy, In The News

Back in the day when the only birthing training available was Lamaze, my husband and I dutifully attended classes to prepare for our first child. It was never openly admitted in class, but I had ascertained from TV and movies that giving birth hurts very, very, very much and the silly-sounding breathing exercises (Hee! Hee! Hee! HAW!) were the best diversionary tactics available to distract one from the pain in her nether regions.

Then I had to have a C-section and all that training went to waste.

A recent study in Sydney, Australia queried mothers on their views on complications ranging as minor as prolonged birth and superficial tears to as major as anal and urinary incontinence, vaginal prolapse and severe tearing and compared these opinions with those of doctors and midwives. The results were that first time birthers were much more willing to take risks in order to have a natural birth than were the doctors or midwives.

One out of every 4 UK pregnancies results in a C-section due to potential complications like the baby lying in the wrong position for natural birth.

According to Philip Steer, editor of the journal where the study was published, the clinical responses may, "indicate that doctors are biased by their inevitable involvement in complex cases, or labors where things have gone wrong."

I think another word for that is "experience." Sure, women have given birth unassisted thousands of years on their own, but it's important to remember that many of them (and their babies) died in the process. Stuff can go wrong, doctors realize what that stuff is, and try to keep it from happening to their patients. I personally didn't have a problem with that when my birthing situation went awry, because at the end of the proceedings, I was alive and so was my baby.

In an era of malpractice lawsuits, it's understandable why a doctor may go ahead and suggest a C-section rather than take risks. As a society, we've essentially backed the medical field into this corner and the result is C-sections that may not all be necessary and even though the mom may be willing to give it the old college try.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.