Obstetric Lie #96- You NEED Us!

"In my personal experience, doctors are very much needed by about 3% of our patients, to do necessary cesarean sections. They are also needed by another 3% who, for various reasons, require to be delivered or medicated in birth. Of the remaining 94%, after careful prenatal training, the role for the doctor at the moment of birth is so insignificant as to be almost belittling, most of the time we doctors should merely be lifeguards, and be there for support and medical backup."
Dr Robert Bradley
Husband Coached Childbirth

When Dr Bradley was practicing as an obstetrician his c-section rate was around 3%. What is often forgotten is that this was not unusual at the time. All obstetricians had very low c-section rates. What made Dr Bradley especially different was that the vast majority of his patients had their babies without any medication or forced delivery methods.

He goes on to say this:

"We take a lot of kidding from our patients regarding this. 'What am I paying you for? I did all the work!' ....They realize that the most important work of their doctor is to stand by in case of unforeseen complications."

Yes, there are times when medicine and medical personnel are needed, just not near as often as we or they would like to believe.

We are currently looking at c-section rates over 30%.
Induction rates are high- some reports as high as 40%.
Epidural rates appear to be at least 70%.

The perception today, as it was then, is that medical interference was needed often if not always when it came to birth. By default, the medical doctor was needed all the time because only he could dispense that expertise.

What doctor Bradley, and other midwives and doctors like him found, was that women are perfectly capable of "delivering" their own babies. They did not need to be delivered. In fact, they were able to even catch their own babies.

What birthing mothers needed in place of medical expertise and intervention and drugs was confidence, education, a healthy body well prepared with nutrition and exercise, and a loving partner who also believed in them.

Was he a fan of unassisted birth? No- he knew that sometimes things did go wrong. What made him special was that he realized how rare that was, and he had no problem standing in the corner the rest of the time.

Birthing women need peace, confidence, faith, knowledge, health, training and love. They do not need 30% c-section rates nor do they need convenience inductions. Is it wise to have a medically trained person present at birth in case of complications? Yes (though I would never take away a womans right to choose otherwise or know what was best for her, weather that be hospital birth or otherwise).

The tricky part in birth is finding a person to attend your birth who believes in your ability to birth and is happy to NOT be needed.

Birth in peace~


Krista Eger said…
Genius post once again.

Is it even possible for you to NOT be genius? I wish I knew you in real life! haha
Susan said…
My husband delivered my son in a hospital setting while my OB stood there and watched. He says that it is the most amazing thing he has ever done. I am so thankful that he was able to take such a big part in his sons entrance into the world.
Anonymous said…
This is fantastic!
Marcy said…
I love this! It is so true. We had a home birht for our 2nd son, almost 8 weeks ago. I loved having my midwives there... and I loved that they barely did anything, lol! They filled the tub for me, and otherwise just sat back and let me do my thing. It was wonderful, =)
Mama said…
I used the Bradley method to deliver my son naturally at a birth center. I did have an OB throughout my pregnancy because I had pre-term contractions. A midwife was there for my delivery, but my husband "caught" the baby. The Bradley Method rocks and that book you quoted is a great one.
Moira said…
"Birthing women need peace, confidence, faith, knowledge, health, training and love."

Absolutely!!! I feel that as a Labor nurse THAT is my roll, to provide peace, confidence, knowledge, support and a little bit of love. I am really enjoying your blog, and I wish more women had confidence in their bodies to birth babies!