President Of ACOG Says We Should All Back Off Pregnant Women And ‘Let Nature Take Its Course’
The 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.Â James T. Breeden, MD has practiced ob-gynÂ 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:
â€œ’Let nature take its course.’ Over the years, Iâ€™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 weâ€™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 situationsâ€”such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, multiple fetuses, fetal growth restriction, and poorly controlled diabetesâ€”may make it necessary to deliver the baby before the onset of natural labor. However,Â 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. AdditionalÂ new ACOG guidelinesÂ 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.