Posted by Saraline , Monday, September 1, 2008 4:26 PM
I plan on having a natural birth. That means no cesarean, no forceps, and no epidural. At first I wanted to have an epidural, but then I read in Henci Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth that an epidural, which numbs you from the waist down, interferes with pushing, and a woman who has one is more likely to need a cesarean or an episiotomy.
This book and a natural birth forum that I have been following give the impression that you cannot have a natural birth in a hospital. They give the message that a hospital will not respect a pregnant woman's wishes while a mid-wife who assists with a home birth is more focused on the woman's needs. The doctors and nurses in hospitals are mean and will bombard you with pro-epidural propaganda and try to "save you" from having a baby. They will not even inform you first if they give you an episiotomy and they will do their best to convince to you that you should have a cesarean. They will even sneak formula to your exclusively breastfed newborn when you are not looking.
I am wondering if this view is more American than Canadian. When I went for my first appointment at the Royal Victoria Hospital here in Montreal, the nurse asked me if I wanted to have a natural birth. I said "Yes" and she made a check mark on her clipboard. Now that I have read Henci Goer's book I will have a lot more questions to ask at my next appointment, but since they asked me first if I want to have a natural birth, I am assuming that it will not be a problem when the time comes.
The cesarean rate in Canada is lower than that of the U.S. although it is still quite high. (In 2005, the cesarean rate was 26.3% compared to 30.2% in the U.S. although the rates in Canada varied drastically between different regions.) Goer mentioned in her book that hospitals are paid more money for a cesarean than they are for a natural birth. I doubt that this is true for Canadian hospitals since our health care system is significantly different from health care in the States.
I wonder if the high cesarean rate in Canada has something to do with the mentality of the women as much as the mentality of the people who work in hospitals. Some women are scared of childbirth. The hospitals do not have to convince every woman who comes in to have an epidural. Some women really do want them. As I mentioned before, a woman who has an epidural is more likely to have a cesarean, and some women do not take much convincing to have a cesarean either. Maybe some hospitals try to convince women to have procedures while giving birth that they do not want, but I do not think that it is to the same extent as what happens in the U.S.
You may wonder why I would want to give birth in a hospital if I want to have a natural birth. Why not just stick with a mid-wife who I know will respect my wishes to have a natural birth? I have my own reasons for not wanting to give birth at home.
First of all, at one of my appointments I was told that I tested positive for Group B Strep. The nurse explained to me that this is bacteria similar to that which causes strep throat, but it is located in your vagina instead of your throat. She told me that it is very common and that you can catch it from a swimming pool. The only time it causes anyone any harm is when a woman gives birth to a baby. The bacteria can be transferred to the infant, and it is very dangerous for a newborn infant.
The doctor prescribed antibiotics for me for a week, and while the antibiotics will kill the Group B Strep, there is no guarantee that they will get rid of it permanently. Most likely I will need to be hooked up to an IV with antibiotics while I am in labour. I do not want an IV for fluids, but this Group B Strep sounds like something not to fool around with, and I would rather have the IV with antibiotics than risk the bacteria being transferred to my child. I feel that this problem will be cleared up more efficiently and more effectively at the hospital than it would be at home.
Also, I live by myself. Who will clean up the mess afterwards if I give birth at home? My cat?