I have seen the same fear mongering argument waged by OB docs against the dangers of using home-birth midwives, but this instance lacks any basis. A midwife who is trained and experienced can recognize the signs of a normal birth gone wrong way before it becomes a dangerous liability. She also comes with emergency tools and is usually close to an emergency room or can have an ambulance on standby just in case.
However, unassisted childbirths no matter how informed, prepared and empowered parents may be, may be sending the wrong message to people. This is a very interesting summit but I think that parents should have all the information to make informed decision about how they give births. I don’t think its responsible to only give one message that you can do it at home easily. They say on their website that they have been considered “heros to thousands of followers”, for defying the medical system. Don’t drink the kool-aid bay area, I know its hard to resist. I would suggest always having somebody there with medical training on standby. In the words of comedian Chris rock, “you can steer your car with your feet but it doesn’t make it a good [expletive] idea!” I think this holds true here. Lots of women have given birth alone, but 5% of all births have complications, and many women before surgical procedures died of complications of labor. I would hate for a solo birthing trend to develop and see the maternal and infant mortality increase, it is already too high in the U.S. with all that we spend on technology and health care. So don’t play Russian roulette with statistics that are in your favor unless you have a failproof plan B.
Always evaluate the risks using game theory, or common sense, by weighing the progressive, idealistic birth against a lifetime of regret if death ensues. I think about this every time I want to jaywalk or pass a car or speed pass the red light… is what I gain, a few seconds really worth the worst case scenario. If you look at things from a broader perspective its easy to see that its really quite foolish. If you have risk seeking behavior and frequently employ moral hazard perhaps you derive a certain utility from living on the edge. At the end of the day its all about what you stand to gain versus the everything you have to lose.
I am reading the baby catcher and I will write a synopsis on it, but she says there is a midwife adage about birth unpredictability: “the first time is hard, the second time easy, the third unpredictable.” She was surprised with her own birthing outcomes. She said there was no rhyme or reason to it, no universal thing to count on to get her through each one. The pain and the natural birth methodology she tried to apply to all of them, she learned that each pregnancy is different and each coping mechanism is unique. Standardizing labor techniques, such as the proper application of the different breathing patterns for each stage, etc. was a fool’s errand.
However, since this is bay area buzz right now in the birthing community, I would be remiss to share it. So below is a link to the online summit and embedded is a link to their video showing their inspiration for going unassisted.
Vodpod videos no longer available.