President Of ACOG Says We Should All Back Off Pregnant Women And ‘Let Nature Take Its Course’

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shutterstock_52133626The President of the American Congress Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement yesterday. It basically says, “Can we all back off of pregnant women please?” Well, I’m paraphrasing – but close. James T. Breeden, MD has practiced ob-gyn for 35 years – so he has a little experience in the field. It seems he thinks we should trust natural labor a little more. He believes when it comes to the onset of labor, we should let nature take its course:

“’Let nature take its course.’ Over the years, I’ve found this saying particularly applies to the process of giving birth. My personal experience as an ob-gyn and reams of scientific research demonstrate that Mother Nature knows best when a child is ready to be born. The start of natural labor is the main sign, but we’re not always patient enough to wait for it.”

He is speaking of course, about the medically community’s rush to perform inductions and c-sections when a woman is perceived as not laboring fast enough. An average of one in three babies is born by caesarean in America today. According to Breeden:

“The rate of labor induction is also at an all-time high. Unfortunately, many of these births occur before the pregnancy is considered ‘term’ at 39 weeks. These upward trends have long been a source of concern in the medical community, especially considering the increased risks to a baby who may not be fully developed at delivery.”

Any time I write a post about my own concerns about being rushed into a c-section or induction, I inevitably get attacked for not trusting my doctor enough, or trying to “Google” my own healthcare. I didn’t get these ideas out of nowhere. In my experience, an induction-free labor is hard to come by.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I asked my OB what the best way to assure that I would have no interventions with my birth was. He said, “arrive at the hospital when you’re crowning.” I laughed. He wasn’t kidding. I stopped laughing, and said, “really?” He explained that while I ultimately had control over my health-care, I had to be really careful about voicing my desires to not be induced in the hospital because they are trained to use some kind of induction techniques – almost every time.

Certain urgent situations—such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, multiple fetuses, fetal growth restriction, and poorly controlled diabetes—may make it necessary to deliver the baby before the onset of natural labor. However, newly issued guidelines from ACOGremind women and ob-gyns that in uncomplicated pregnancies, a vaginal birth that occurs after the natural onset of labor is ideal. Additional new ACOG guidelines reaffirm that cesareans and labor inductions should only be performed when medically-necessary.

I guess the problem now is – who defines “medically necessary?” It’s incredibly difficult to secure a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) where I now live in Florida because hospitals and insurance companies will say that a caesarean is always medically necessary after you have already had one – a stance that is not supported by studies. The medical community needs to catch up with these studies so they can best inform women of their options – rather than scaring them into inductions and surgeries.

I hope that the statement by a well-respected doctor in the field of ob-gyn is a start to a wider acceptance of the role of nature in childbirth. Yes, intervention is necessary sometimes – but it should be the exception – not the rule.

(photo: Gladskikh Tatiana/