FROG IN A PAN
Some years ago, Al Gore, in his documentary on climate change, introduced me to the concept or metaphor for the way humans behave - by looking at a frog in a pot of water. If one tossed a frog into to boiling water, it would jump straight out! But if one turned up the heat slowly after placing the frog in cold water, the frog would remain in the water until it died!
As I was emerging from sleep this morning, I was reminded of the above scenario in relationship to labour and birth; maternity care. From the time that 9 million midwives and healers wer burned at the stake as witches in the middle Ages, where the male medicine men took over the ‘care’ of women during their ‘confinements’, more and more interventions have been introduced at a gradual but steady rate.
Ever so slowly it became ‘fashionable’ for women to be delivered of their babies in hospital on their backs so that it was easier for doctors to see what was going on in the area where the baby would be exiting its mother’s body. Then, because men had never been involved in labour and birth/delivery and were unknowledgeable and unable to read the external signs of the progress of a woman’s labour, these clueless doctors began putting their dirty fingers into the vagina in order to determine how far dilated the woman’s cervix was.
Thus began the more and more slippery path that women find themselves on when they feel coerced or obliged or brainwashed into believing they ‘need’ to be delivered in a hospital by doctors and medically-trained midwives who are obliged to follow doctors’ orders and protocols (even if they have some understanding of the physiological process of labour and birth), which involve multiple interventions. It has taken 300-400 years for this rather unpleasant present state of affairs to develop…. Many women are now so convinced that these many interventions are absolutely necessary that, on finding that they are pregnant, they immediately opt for a caesarean section!
If many women had found themselves forced to have caesarean sections 3 or 4 hundred years ago, there would have been an uproar of note, and women would again have reverted to midwife-lead care that women had been used to! They would have jumped out of the boiling hot water, but as we can see today, most women stay in the situation of every-increasing interventions because they have been gradually, over a very long period of time, lead to believe that being delivered by someone else apparently more qualified and experiencing all the many interventions is for their own good and the good of their baby! (As Evidence-based Maternity Care is now showing, hospitalized care is NOT for mother or baby’s own good….to be continued later)
Women in some parts of the world have become so convinced that natural vaginal birth/delivery is ‘bad’ for their bodies, that the caesarean section rate in private hospitals has reached the ridiculous rate of over 90%! Unfortunately, they don’t realize or understand that it is because of the many interventions that it has become ‘bad’ for women’s bodies.
Let’s look at one intervention in particular. Most women would not think of this one as an intervention because it has been part of the ‘delivery’ process for many decades. Even hospital midwives wouldn’t consider this an intervention.
The intervention I am considering is called “purple pushing”. With the intervention and introduction into the labour room of the Cardio-Tocograph machine that monitors the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions, doctors and midwives have been able to see exactly when, in the 2nd stage of labour, the pushing contractions begin and end. So, instead of waiting for these women to begin pushing when they feel the natural urge, they are instructed, usually very loudly and very forcefully (no consideration for the instinctive hypothalamic-oxytocin-driven process of childbirth), to begin pushing from the moment the ignorant hospital midwife can see the next contraction beginning. Contractions during the pushing stage can last well over a minute, which means that most women are pushing for up to 45 seconds per contraction!!!!
When a woman is supported to follow her own instinctive inner urges, still will only push for NO MORE than 8 seconds!
One can see the disparity here! There has to be some side effect to this ‘purple pushing’ one would be correct in assuming!
Picture, from the mother’s perspective, a baby’s relatively hard head being forced against the soft tissue and muscle of the pelvic floor while the mother is lying on her back with her legs forced upwards into a kind of non-gravitational squat, frequently with her feet in lithotomy stirrups, pushing her baby with immense pressure uphill around the curve of the sacral bone for 45 seconds at a time with the odd breath in between.
Insert a picture of this ….
Surely, this is one of the major reasons that Gynaecologists have a never-ending clientele. The pressure and circumstances/position during the pushing stage has to have a direct impact on the muscles and soft tissue that hold organs like the bladder, uterus and rectum in place!
Obstetricians are keeping Gynaecologists in business, and will do so for as long as this ridiculous practice continues. And, because Obstetricians usually practice as Gynaecologists, whose pockets are they lining when they continue to support this practice?! For them, the other alternative would be – have a caesarean section! This is what I heard come out of the mouth of a Dutch Professor who had been lecturing at UCT for a very long time! Caesareans also line their pockets…
There are a growing number of women who understand that they and their babies need something more…
A natural picture of this process would look something like this: after a few minutes or longer where it appears that their contractions have stopped (transition), the labouring woman may become somewhat frantic for a few moments until she feels the urge to go to the toilet. This is the most classic indication that the baby’s head is deep enough into the pelvis and onto the pelvic floor muscles and ready for the final stage of its journey out of its mother’s body. The mother has the sense that the contractions have changed in intensity and feel. At this time, the mother may be urged by her own body to continue breathing through the contractions, or to push like she would if she was pushing out a hard stool, and usually for less than 8 seconds or she might just.
There is no need to rush anything, and the mother understands this!
She also has the inner knowing that when she is up-right, both she and her baby can assist the process. Gravity and an unimpeded and more open birth canal make the journey much easier for the baby and less painful for its mother.
At the moment of crowning, where the baby’s head retracts no more into the birth canal, the mother may lay down on her side and breath the baby’s head out over an ever-stretching perineum, or she may choose to be upright in a squatting position where she reaches down to receive and greet her own baby, placing it against the warmth of her body and breasts, or on her hands and knees, where her midwife or partner would be there to gently receive her baby, before she turns to sit against her partner to take her baby from her midwife.
After a period of quiet calm as both parents greet their new baby, the mother feels her uterus contract once more, to release the baby’s placenta from her body.
The baby nuzzles the breast and finds its own way to the nipple to take its first drink.
The baby’s skin is left undisturbed so that the white cream can absorb into its skin.
The eyes are not blurred over with ointment (the doctors do not trust that baby’s eyes are safe going through the, apparently, germ-ridden vagina of the mother), so that it can make eye-contact with its parents.
No unnecessary medication is injected into mother or baby, as the birth has been undisturbed, thus allowing the Love Hormone – Oxytocin – to continue to do its job of keeping the uterus contracted once the placenta is out, and the baby has received all its blood and nutrients form the placenta and cord. All this because the umbilical cord was not severed at the moment of its birth.
All is well! All is calm! All is Love!
So, now is time for women to make some real choices about what it means to be a Parent! Are we having babies for our own gratification, or are we willing to put ourselves out for what our birthing babies TRULY need?
Just because our OBGYN SAYS it is OK, doesn’t necessarily mean that the multiple interventions in the birth process are okay - unless there are true medical complications in pregnancy, labour and birth. But, complications as a result of an intervention or many interventions are not true medical complications. Childbirth is not a medical emergency – it is a natural every-day process of life!
Authentic Midwives and Yourself are the Best Midwives. Find one and trust your own Inner Midwife. Between your Partner, your Midwife and Yourself, you will welcome your baby and its Soul into 3-Dimensionality in a beautiful, loving and peaceful way.
Remember the Frog…. If you are serious about the future life of your children, take full responsibility for Consciously Conceiving your Children. They are coming to assist us co-create a whole New Earth!