Laissez-Faire Childbirth?

I just read a fairly expected post over at Cesarean Debate: “‘Shocking’ Cesarean Controvery in Turkey.”  Shocking?  For whom?  It’s as if the only thing that’s debatable is homebirth safety.  What is shocking that the same people who would dare to use the slogan, “Every pregnant woman should be given the chance to give birth in the way she chooses to,” (ugly dangling preposition and all) are often the most polemically critical of birth venue choices such as homebirth, homebirth after cesarean, and unassisted childbirth. 

The slogan, more aptly put would read:

“Every pregnant woman should be given the chance to select the type of hospital birth she desires.”

Therefore, a woman can choose a cesarean, an induction, an epidural, an episiotomy, broken membranes, purple pushing, other drugs, fetal monitoring, and possibly (though unlikely) an unmedicated natural vaginal birth.  Because they’re ALWAYS choices – informed choices.  Does it matter that interventions are unnecessary and that wasteful, careless use of technology negatively affects health outcomes?  Do women honestly believe that surgical specialists are going to know how to support unpredictable, natural labor?  I guess so.  Call me jaded, but I’ve learned way way too much about the medical profession, obstetrics, even nurse-midwifery, and the culture of medico-legal fear running rampant across the United States to just put my trust in a surgical specialist when I know that generally speaking, the best way to labor and birth is naturally (minus the surgeon in the scrubs).

Another big concern is that highly-educated women tend to embrace technology and trust authoritative knowledge moreso than less-educated women.  Of course this does not mean that ALL women with doctorates are ordering cesareans and that ALL women without college degrees stay away from doctors.  But highly-educated women are a group at risk when it comes to acceptance of clinical practices that are not evidence based.

It’s funny how both poles of childbirth philosophy have paraded around versions of the “women’s choice” slogan and so often are completely unwilling to converse respectfully about the REAL issues surrounding childbirth.  At the end of the day it’s really about two things – the health of the mother AND the health of the baby(-ies).  Both parts of the dyad must be healthy to flourish during the babymoon and beyond.

Speaking of laissez-faire – I’m sure glad I don’t need a surgeon to use my vagina!