My heart drops into a big ball into my stomach when I hear of women allowing unnecessary intervention in pregnancy - but especially more so when I hear that they allow it from a home birth midwife. Women seem to want to trust birth, and want a safe and healthy birth for their baby, but then allow some of the most arbitrary and unnecessary intervention, not realizing that it can completely shape and transform the rest of their pregnancy.
What are the top two interventions I see with homebirthers?
Routine Vaginal Exams
Why is this done, especially by home birth midwives, starting as early as 36 weeks? Does it make the baby come sooner? Does the body not know what to do unless a midwife has a hand inside of her client's vagina and cervix? Do these midwives explain the risk of infection, accidental ( or purposeful, sadly ) membrane strip or artificial rupture of membranes, disappointment when mom "hasn't made any progress", false hope of a labor soon to come? If the midwife is not explaining these risks, then her clients are NOT giving informed consent. It blows me away when women allow this. It saddens me. It makes me wonder just what their midwife is telling them, or why a mom requests this.
Ladies, there is NO such thing as a natural induction. Either you are trying to force labor to begin before it is happening naturally, or you are not. There's really no in between. Having a healthy sex life in the end of pregnancy is wonderful! But if the goal is to get it done as many times as possible in hopes of causing the cervix to ripen...you may be sorely disappointed. A ripening cervix does NOT guarantee a close labor day. It simply means that it is ripening. There is a lot more to the hormonal dance of labor preparation than a ripening cervix. Doing spicy foods may do nothing more than irritate your uterus, cause you to have diarrhea and heartburn. Pineapple needs to be *fresh* pineapple. You have no idea how many women try the out of the can stuff. LOL And even then, it does *nothing* unless your body is ready anyway....so why not wait until labor starts naturally? Nipple stimulation does indeed release oxytocin in the body, but so does some good love from your spouse. A nice massage, a cuddle and nice long kiss. This releases oxytocin as well. Why aren't more couples cuddling, instead of playing with nipples? Evening Primrose Oil *can* help to soften the cervix, but nothing more.
The problem with trying to do things to induce labor, is that it often will not work. When it doesn't work, you've wasted precious last days/weeks of your pregnancy that you could have been simply enjoying with your partner, instead of stressing out over trying to get labor to begin. Or even if not stressing, *thinking* about getting labor going. Your body knows what to do, and knows exactly the right time to do it in. I won't even go into castor oil induction, as I believe this is highly irresponsible and a waste of time unless it's a true last ditch effort. Inducing labor, no matter what label you want to put on it, is putting yourself before the safety and health of your baby...unless of course it is a TRUE medically warranted induction ( example - pre eclampsia, PIH, etc ).
Women, if you've chosen a home birth, you are in a low-risk pregnancy. If you are in a low-risk, normal pregnancy...why are you allowing intervention? It drove me crazy when I watched Pregnant In America, and saw them advocate for normalcy in pregnancy, believing in birth and trusting the body...and then the producer's wife having her midwife strip her membranes at a mere few days after 40 weeks. I was BAFFLED! How can you claim to be a NATURAL pregnancy and labor advocate, if you allow unnecessary induction techniques? There was no problem. She was simply a few days past 40 weeks. Not even to the high end of the normal gestation period, but smack dab in the middle! It was her first baby, and statistically first time moms will go about 8 days past their EDD, IF ALLOWED TO. :sigh:
In our society, we rush through so many things. We want to rush to get to the end of pregnancy, we want to rush to get into labor, we want to rush to birth the baby. We want to rush to see the baby sit up, eat solid food, crawl, talk, walk...
And when you get to the point of understanding how quickly it all goes by, it's too late to take it back.
Choose wisely, for some decisions are irreversible.