|Partial extract only -
For the full article, buy the November 2000 issue of
natural birth guide
There's no right way to have a baby - there's only your way .....
DON'T WANT A HIGH-TECH BIRTH?
Here are some
things you want to avoid.....
Induced birth is usually more painful than a labour that starts spontaneously. Once labour has started, the artificial stimulation of labour (to speed things up) often hurts a lot too. The drugs used to produced strong, frequent contractions that have no gentle build-up, so you're more likely to need an epidural to cope with the pain. You don't have to agree to induction or acceleration of labour unless a convincing case is made for it.
An epidural that works well (not all epidurals do) is the most effective kind of pain relief - but at a price: you're more likely to need a forceps or ventouse delivery. A ventouse sucks out the baby's head like a vacuum cleaner; forceps are like hinged salad servers that grip the head and pull it out. Epidurals may lead to a caesarean - this is not just 'the sun roof option', but a major abdominal operation, and it takes up to six weeks to recover.
These are opiates - derivatives of morphine. Pethidine is the most common and it makes you feel drunk and confused. Unless another drug is mixed with it you may feel nauseous. Women who've had pethidine often say they felt out of control and still had pain. Some can't remember what happened - even, sometimes, holding their baby for the first time. Pethidine is not good for the baby.
|Continuous electronic fetal monitoring
There's no real evidence that continuous fetal monitoring saves babies lives - and research shows that women who have it may be more likely to have a caesarean. The monitor often raises a false alarm, for example if the baby's asleep, drowsy from drugs in the mother's bloodstream, or if his head is being squeezed because it's low in the birth canal. You can ask for intermittent monitoring with a hand-held Sonicaid instead.
|Lying in bed
It may seem harmless, but lying down is the worst position for labour - research shows that labour takes longer and is more painful. Being flat on your back may interfere with the supply of oxygen to the baby, but if you have electronic fetal monitoring, an intravenous drip in your arm, and perhaps a clip on the baby's scalp to record its heartbeat, you can't move freely. You may be asked to lie still so the electronics can work properly. But it's you giving birth, not the machinery.
This is a surgical cut that enlarges the vaginal opening and speeds delivery of the baby and it can cause pain in the weeks after birth. It doesn't make a tear less likely, 'preserve' your pelvic floor muscles, or prevent urinary incontinence - good muscle tone and exercise do that. It may make sex difficult for months after the birth. The only good reason for performing an episiotomy is to get the baby out fast who needs to be born without delay. You can say you don't want one.