I have been working incessantly to get my Empower Birth Preparation class curriculum designed. I have finally sludged through and made it to Class Four, the class about interventions - when their use is medically indicated, when they might otherwise be suggested and what their risks and benefits are.
I’m all about evidence and benefit-risk. I don’t really care about “natural” or “medical”. “What’s the safest route backed by scientific evidence?” is what I want to know. Whether that route be “medical” or “natural” doesn’t really matter to me.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Reproductive Health Library (RHL) categorizes this kind of thinking in a way I really like. According to these sources, there are:
Beneficial forms of care
Forms of care likely to be beneficial
Forms of care with a trade-off
Forms of care of unknown effectiveness
Forms of care likely to be ineffective
Forms of care likely to be harmful
But as I worked on Class Four, I felt decidedly biased and “natural”. I went through and listed the pros and cons of common interventions such as electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, induction and augmentation. And for every intervention, as hard as I tried to be balanced and even, I found more risks than benefits to interventions. (This assumes mom and baby are healthy.)
Now, I realize that one benefit can easily outweigh all other risks, but I still felt like I was somehow being unfair and “too natural” minded. I brought my dilemma to Unbiased Papa.
“Honey,” he said, “If something with both benefits and risks is perfectly equal, someone isn’t telling the whole truth.”
My job is to present the best, most evidence based information. See what the Atlantic has to say about that here!
As I have been exploring the wide world of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting, I have been confronted by opinions on both extremes of the spectrum. One person thinks an elective c-section is best because they want to avoid trauma to their lady bits (a false assumption, by the way), while another wants to have an unassisted birth at home after two, three or four cesareans.
My point is that a birth educator’s job - my job - is to present the best, most accurate scientific information about birth. What students decide to do with that information is totally up to them. They can take the evidence and choose what is best for them in their situation. Just because taking a hands off approach to birth is often the most scientific route doesn’t mean that’s the birth everyone wants or needs. Evidence must be balanced with personal preference and need.
So let’s hear it for unbiased information. Let’s hear it for knowledgeable parents. Let’s hear it for you, an informed consumer, making the best decisions for you, your baby, your family, your birth.