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Comments made by KarenRubyBrown

Program Offers Women Drug-Free, All-Natural Childbirth

If I may jump in.

This story was about a specific place, the UCSD Birth Center, which offers a specific care option. It was not about 'natural' birth vs....what, 'unnatural' (?) birth. I did not state that the experience of hiking that tall mountain was "better" than taking the tram, only "different." Personally, I love a good tram ride. The hikers whom I see below me are having a different experience. Is it better? No. It's different.
A little fact check: The UCSD Midwives take care of patients on both the Birth Center, and on Labor & Delivery. In fact, 2/3 of our patients are on L&D for various reasons: the desire for anesthesia, or a complication that risks them out of the Birth Center. Regarding anesthesia, we are often the ones who suggest an epidural for women who, after trying what we can offer on the Birth Center (including, yes, IV narcotics) are not coping well with the pain. Kenny asked us if we considered such a transfer a failure, and we replied, "of course not." And it's true; we don't. One thing that's very nice is that, almost always, we will still be able to take care of the woman who does transfer to L&D, which means continuity of care.

What the Birth Center offers–FOR LOW-RISK, HEALTHY WOMEN WHO WANT IT–is the opportunity to labor and birth physiologically, without anesthesia, in positions of their choice, without being connected to the monitor, and without a routine IV. Why does this option, this OPTION, get so many people riled up? How does it define the midwives who are supportive of that care as an option as, "natural birth-ers" getting up on their high horses and implying that a woman who chooses medication to lessen pain is weak..." If we considered the choice of medication to be a sign of weakness would we be attending so many women on L&D with anesthesia? Where does that come from? Now, that's the more interesting question, in my opinion.

I assisted a woman this morning who transferred from the Birth Center to L&D for an epidural and pitocin to make stronger contractions. We had a great time together. It was a beautiful, delightful, joyful birth, probably one of the best times I've ever had in this profession. Does that sound like a guilt-inspiring lie?

But, I digress.

This story was about the Birth Center. Not about L&D, not about the UCSD Midwives per se, not about politicized birth rhetoric, natural or not, epidural or not etc. It was a 4.5 minute piece about a specific place offering a specific option. It's one of the only places of it's kind. Why does that inspire raised hackles and rolling eyes?

October 9, 2009 at 12:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )