I'm a huge advocate against the high c-section rate in the U.S. I'm also against most routine interventions used in childbirth as most of them have been found to be completely unnecessary and usually more harmful than good. I just finished reading The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. The book is great, and extremely informative, but it made me extra-nervous about meeting with the OB. The book also makes me even more pissed about Illinois' laws about midwifery and home birth. Here are some of the main points from the book:
- Cesarean sections increase maternal mortality rates dramatically.
- Labor inductions create further difficulties in labor, increase fetal mortality, and often lead to cesareans. Even non-drug inductions (such as manually breaking the waters).
- Pumping a woman full of IV fluids can lead to anemia in both mother and child because her body is unable to regulate the amount of liquids in the blood. It also restricts movement during labor.
- Midwife attended home births have the lowest rates of maternal and fetal mortality and mothers tend to feel better about them afterwords.
- Obstetricians are trained to distrust the female body's ability to give birth. They're also a trained surgical field, why go to a surgeon for a common bodily function?
- Women and babies perform better when the mother is allowed to eat and drink during labor. There is no danger of aspiration, and even if there was, it's better to choke on food than super-acidic stomach bile that can burn your lungs.
- Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring leads to over-use of cesarean sections, increased maternal stress levels, and distraction from the mother.
- Failure to progress is most often a Failure to Wait.
- Epidurals and narcotics lead to slowed labor, increase in cesarean, lower apgar scores in newborns, and a harder time nursing.
- Episiotomies cause More perineal tearing, they don't prevent them.
- There is absolutely no scientific reason that VBAC's should not be allowed.
- The entirety of the book makes allowances for issues during child birth that make these procedures necessary, but say that these interventions are being used far too often in routine deliveries
The only answer that I really disagreed with was that he said that he would induce labor between 40 and 41 weeks. Keep in mind that 40 weeks is a completely arbitrary number and that first-time mothers average 8 days longer. This means that even if he induced at 41 weeks, he'd still be inducing one day before the AVERAGE length of pregnancy. If I do go over, and with all the debate about my due dates it's very possible, I will be refusing induction until at least 43 weeks unless there is some other reason to worry (i.e. slowed fetal heart-rate, etc).
The other observation I had about the appointment was just the general environment differences between the OB office and the midwife office. At the midwives there are toys and couches in the waiting room and the entire place is colorful and happy feeling, the OB's waiting room was cold with minimal decorations, very few magazines, and a TV with some horrible daytime programming in the background. The nurses and receptionist at the midwives are always really nice and ask us how things are going while the OB's couldn't seem to care less. Where the midwives and their nurses talk to us like we are actually intelligent people and tell us what my BP and the baby's heart rate is, while the people at the OB's office didn't even tell me if my blood pressure was normal or low and seemed to assume that I thought listening to the heartbeat on the doppler was just a novelty instead of an important diagnostic tool.
Otherwise, the appointment will hopefully end up being a complete waste of $150. I'm just sorry that the answer to the question about induction overshadowed what was otherwise a really positive visit. If it does come down to it, I'll be happy to have met the doctor that will cut me open should I need it >.<