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Posts Tagged ‘ina may gaskin’

I am a product of East Coast skeptics, I have no faith in many of the healing charms of the” New Age “. However, the Western tradition of treating all problems as if they were only a matter of manipulating matter annoys me no end. The needs and nature of women, particularly in birthing, is so completely foreign to the western medical community, by and large, it is I believe one of the main reason we have such poor maternal and neonatal health statistics. Here is an article addressing our need for a relaxing ambience in labor rooms and the dramatic improvement in birth outcomes as a result. This relates to Ina May Gaskins ” sphincter law” actually… we do not have voluntary controll over the muscles involved in birth, we need to be ” in the mood” so to speak.

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In parts of Africa, Mozambique among them, the maternal mortality rate is grotesquely high, primarily because when a c section is needed to save lives in a complicated birth , there is no one out in the bush qualified to do it and many women and babies are lost. There is a concerted effort to train women as midwives with cesarean skills to go into the villages and help. This program is having a terrific positive impact on the health of both women and babies.

Conversely, in the United States, the most common birth practice has become a medically orchestrated sequence of  drugs and interventions which often negatively affect the labor process and the baby,  leading to a c section which, being major surgery , contributes to raised maternal and infant death rates.  This is how a scheduled induction goes; Application of cytotek or cervadil to force open the cervix, followed by pitocin to force start uterine contractions and an epidural to mask the unnatural level of pain these chemical applications incur. The epidural frequently leads to slowed labor and unstable blood pressure issues in the mother, fetal distress and failure of labor to progress. Then, in order to salvage the situation,  voila, a c section is required.. Natural birth has a few risks that modern medicine can profoundly impact positively, but it is a natural process that “preventive” medical intervention more often than not tangles up and ruins.  Dr. Michael Klien ( of University British Columbia ) writes ” In our hospital, for women having their first baby and who labor on their own, the c-section rate is 8 percent. If they’re induced, it’s 44 percent. And that’s not a subtle difference. ” No. It’s not. For those of you having their first child, I strongly encourage you to become well informed about birth and then once you know what your options are, choose your Dr. very, very carefully.

To research this further, I recommend anything by Ina May Gaskin, a highly regarded midwife. Here is link to an interview with her from Time magazine.

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