The Myths of Midwifery
15 Lies Your Midwife Told You
Myth #1: Informed Consent. Just because you spend hours reading the internet propaganda that circulates among Natural Childbirthers and watch a Ricki Lake documentary, DOES NOT mean you are actually informed of the RISKS associated with birthing outside of a hospital. Midwives downplay the risks of homebirth; otherwise, they would not have clients.
Myth #2: Orgasmic Birth. For those who have seen the documentary, 'nuff said. It is quite possibly the most selfish birth plan to date. Not only will there be candles, hot tubs, and new age playing quietly in the background, but you will find sexual gratification in birth. NOTHING about something the size of a watermelon emerging from something the size of a lemon is going to feel good- nor should it. Just the idea of this registers as child abuse in my book.
Myth #3: Your body won't grow a baby too large to birth vaginally. There are many indications to doctors that the baby is simply too big to fit safely through the pelvis. Lack of dilation, lack of progression, pushing with no results for hours- your body can only handle so much. And the risk of infection once your water breaks grows with each hour, as does the danger to the neonate. Thankfully, with medical technology, you may not get the birth experience you desired, but you will get a live baby.
Myth #4: When the fruit is ripe, it falls. Midwives use this proverb to convince post due mamas that induction is not necessary for the health and safety of their baby. It is an absolute lie. In most cases, babies are usually born close to their due date. But in others, lack of dilation after the due date can be an indicator of many dangerous things, including a baby who has grown too large to fit through the pelvis, or a malpresentation in which the baby is not correctly applied in the cervix. Babies post due are at a higher risk of meconium aspiration and mortality than babies who are moderately pre term.
Myth #5: Home is cleaner than a hospital because you are surrounded by "your" germs. Riiiight. Not just your germs, but those tracked in by your pets, your shoes, the air, your midwife and her attendants. NOTHING is sterile about your home- not the clothes your midwife is wearing, not the sink she is washing her hands at, not the bed you are lying on. The hospital is under very strict sanitation codes that allow them to operate on patients safely- one of the cleanest places besides the O.R. is the nursery and maternity ward.
Myth # 6: We have a physician on back-up in case of emergency. It's comforting, isn't it? Too bad it is a lie. Physician back up means there may be a sympathetic doctor meeting you in the E.R. to help speed up the admission process when you transfer in an emergency. What they fail to tell you is they still have to get you to the hospital in an emergency- a process that can take as long as thirty minutes- or longer.
Myth #7: We have a Plan B with the local hospital. Again, comforting, but not true. The hospital is the dumping ground for a homebirth gone awry. The hospital will not deny you care- if you get there in time. But there is no plan, other than drive like a bat out of hell to the emergency room. From there, your midwife may act as a doula, but in most cases, she simply leaves.
Myth #8: A Doppler is better than an Electriconic Fetal Monitor (EFM), because it safely monitors the baby and you are free to move as you please during labor. An electronic fetal monitor keeps track of your baby's fetal tones and the length/strength and time between your contractions. With a Doppler, you can hear fetal heart tones if you know the location of the fetus, but you aren't going to know if there is a deceleration in heart tones without monitoring for a certain amount of time. Also, with just a Doppler, you run the risk of not knowing the true position of the fetus.
Myth #9: Castor Oil/Acupressure/Acupuncture/Walks/Sex/Yoga/Spicy Food/Stripping Membranes/Prenatal Chiropractor/Tarot Cards/Toe Readings/Lack of Fear/Patience will start labor. It is a tragic irony that the midwives who convince you to put so much faith in your body will drive you to such extreme and unfounded measures to simply avoid an induction. There is not a single shred of evidence that any of these actions will influence labor.
Myth #10: Meconium is normal and nothing to fear. Meconium, while common in roughly 12% of labors, is an urgent indicator that the baby needs out. NOW. Every second the baby stays in is a greater risk of meconium aspiration. Babies at the highest risk of meconium aspiration are post due babies. Meconium in the lungs of a fetus prevents oxygen from passing through to them and can cause chemical pneumonitis, pneumothorax, fetal asphyxia, and death.
Myth #11: Group B Strep can be effectively combatted with garlic and Hibiclens. There is absolutely no evidence of this whatsoever $6, and believing in such a regimine can cost LIVES. If you are Group B positive, you have a heavy colony of bacteria and the only thing to prevent your baby from contracting it at birth is antibiotics every 4 hours during labor until delivery. That. Is. It. Nothing else to it. No getting around it. Shoving garlic up your vagina will not work. Douching with Hibiclens will not work. Antibiotics are the only method analyzed and statistically proven to prevent your baby from contracting GBS and dying. If you want a live baby, you must have antibiotics.
Myth #12: OBs would rather cut you open because it saves them time, energy and effort. Even planned c-sections are somewhat stressful. They require precision and expertise. That's why OBs have years of college, med school, internships, and residencies while your midwife may not even have a highschool diploma. Anyone can catch a baby.
Myth #13: Water birth is the most gentle way to be born into the world. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend water births, and who can blame them? It's not sterile or safe for human babies to be put at risk at drowning, inhaling water and fecal matter. Humans- we don't live in water. We shouldn't birth in water.
Myth #14: Placentas should be eaten to ease PPD. Despite the ew factor, there are no studies that suggest if you ingest your placenta, you won't have the baby blues. None.
Myth #15: If you birth in a hospital, you will be confined to a bed, forced to labor a certain way, forced into drugs, forced into immunizations, forced to formula feed, and forced to circumcise your son. In the hospital, nurses actually encourage you to move around if that makes you more comfortable, some have walk in tubs you can labor in (LABOR, not birth), you will have to sign consent for interventions like the epidural, the adult pertussis and Hep B vaccines, breastfeeding is encouraged, and circumcision isn't performed in most hospitals any more.Labor and Delivery nurses are very attentive to your needs- while most hospitals do require a certain amount of time of electronic fetal monitoring, you will be allowed- even encouraged to move around during labor and all measures will be taken to make you comfortable. You will be allowed water, ice chips, even food in early labor. It is what YOU want. Make your wishes known to the hospital staff, be it through a doula, your partner, a birth plan, or simply yourself.