Don't Birth Like A Dummy

My newest hobby is finding obstetric training  products for sale online.  Maybe I am reading into things a little bit too much, but it scares me how birth is taught.  Check out the product  picture and description for this "teaching tool."

From the product description:

"This comprehensive teaching system combines the best of our patient care simulators with the Advanced Childbirth Simulator. It is designed to provide a complete birthing experience before, during, and after delivery.

NOELLE Maternal and Neonatal Simulator with PEDI® Blue Neonate Features:

  • articulating full-body female manikin

  • intubatable airway with chest rise

  • IV arm for meds/fluids

  • removable stomach cover

  • practice C-section and forceps delivery"

  • Even if I ignore the c-section and forceps delivery practice stuff (yes I realize that they do in fact need to practice these things in order to do them properly) what is most disturbing is the second sentence which I highlighted.

    This one sentence is most telling because it shows how commonly it is believed withing medicine that birth is just a physical act.  And, since it is just a physical process, it can be practiced on a mannequin.  Yes, a silent DUMMY can "provide a complete birthing experience."

    WHAT?!  You can learn about the complete birth experience with this "tool"?  I think not. 

    Any woman who has given birth knows that the body is just a tiny part of the experience.  Birth is the ultimate mind/body/spiritual experience.  It is sacred and powerfully emotional.  And when it goes wrong or is forced to go wrong, the effects are not gone when the physical body heals.

    Yes, one of the biggest problems in obstetrics today is that the act of birthing is not held in reverence.  Instead this powerful and beautiful journey is viewed just like this picture and product description describe.  It is just something to get done with the least amount of fuss and noise.  Is it any wonder that they want women to just lay back and get an epidural?


    me said…
    that's funny, I thought the biggest problem in obstetrics today was that the majority are MEN! No wonder they dont understand that birth is a hugely powerful experience and want to reduce it to being nothing but a mechanistic experience so they can control it. I had to laugh at Star Wars depiction of birth (still flat on the back in the whateverth century!!)
    Anonymous said…
    one word..LUDICROUS!
    Katie said…
    We used "Noelle" in nursing school. I was mostly horrified for the same reasons you mentioned, but I gotta put my two cents in about the benefits:

    The students who had never seen birth in real life could at least see the sequence of events before being surprised in the actual clinical setting.
    Actual emergencies, that may not be experienced during clinicals, can be simulated.
    It provided a segue for the birth advocates in class to pipe up about laboring on her back, purple pushing, EFM, the sacred emotional/spiritual aspects, etc.

    So, no, it doesn't even come close to a complete birthing experience as it boasts. It did help facilitate learning about birth.
    Mama Birth said…
    Thanks Katie- I totally see the benefit and NEED for a tool like that- but I think it is sad too the way birth is portrayed. It is almost impossible to realize how different it SHOULD be unless you are somehow really involved in the NB community because the portrayal of birth supine, quick placenta delivery, etc, is so common.
    I kind of helps explain a little bit why things are so expected to fit into a box when we give birth-
    it's just a sad time for women.
    CK said…
    Amen Sis-tah!!!
    Lou S said…
    For Katie, I personally am *glad* there are birth advocates who can and will speak up... Without you - - ugh. :-/ :S

    CBC's program - The Story From Here - had a piece [ - first sound clip] about Noelle and so I looked her up on the Gaumard site (couldn't get through the demo :-/ ) but the news piece I found disturbing. Also, a comment made by the program's host a couple nights ago... :(