Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We are not short on Natural Childbirth...

In the documentary, The Business Of Being Born, the interviewer asks 3 OB residents when was the last time they have seen natural labor/birth and the answer was Rarely, Almost never!!!! Wow! I was shocked and freaked out! What kind of training are they getting? What is going to happen to all us? To our babies? To my children? Just WOW!!!!
I started asking the same question to the hospital labor and delivery room staff when I get invited (or I invite myself) to give a talk or have some sharing,
"When was the last time you have seen/ witnessed/ assisted Natural Labor and Birth?" 
And so far the answers have been, with in the week or in less than a week a mother got admitted while in labor and gave birth with out drugs. So my follow up question is how did you help this mother cope? What was done?
And the staff's answer was somewhere in the line/thought of:
"Ma'am its okay just hold on and push as best as you can when its time because an epidural will sky rocket your bill to PXXXX or more.

This answer has been given jokingly, seriously and questioningly. And from these words of encouragement, all goes as it should. Baby is born drug free and hopefully breastfeeding is initiated following the Department of Health's Essential Intrapartum and Newborn Care Protocol.
So, unlike the US based documentary, from my very small informal survey of labor and delivery room staff here in Davao City (or at least in the 3 hospitals I have visited), they do get to witness natural birth unfold. However, we might have a situation where women who can afford epidurals are offered or oriented (not specifically during labor , and not necessarily by the labor and delivery room staff) to avail of it. Meanwhile, women who desperately feel like they need it are dismissed simply because they can't afford it, which to a sense could be a blessing? It seems irrelevant for me, at the moment, to put in time and resources to figure out this hunch. The better and more effective questions to ask and address, for now, are:
1. How to better support women in labor who have no choice for pain meds?/
2. How do women who can afford pain meds but choose not to, be better supported?
3. And why should hospital staff and patients aim for drug free birth?

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