Monday, November 7, 2011

The Serious Side of Funny

I'm hoping those of you who read my blog will appreciate my sometimes off sense of humour. In a semi-departure from the serious, I came accross this thought-provoking video featuring the "Completely Honest OBGyn".

A couple, obviously expecting their first are meeting with their OBGyn. They confess to him their desire for a "natural birth", the OBGyn then tells them how such an event would likely 'go down'. At the end he asks "So when can I schedule you for a c-section - does 3 or 4 work?" And the couple agrees that 3 is good.

My first thought was "where was that OBGyn when I had my first?".

My second thought was "some of that honesty about birth could be really refreshing."

My third thought was "this couple's experience is not at all unlike women who try to access elective c-sections when the prevailing culture is to attempt a natural birth".

I could entirely re-write the script and it would reflect the experience of many women who attempt to get the birth they want (c-section), only to be talked into something else entirely (natural) without any deference to the reasons behind the request in the first place. It could even be written in the delivery room itself as a woman is denied her request for an epidural.

The video highlights why many women self-select to the care provider who they feel will align most closely with their own philosophies on childbirth. Women who are highly desirous of a 'natural experience' tend to select care providers who are most likely to facilitate that experience (a midwife), meanwhile, women who are open to (or may even desire) a medicalized birth tend to choose a traditional medical provider (an OBGyn or MD). (I note that this is pure speculation, I have no actual survey data or study data to back up this hypothesis - but it makes sense to me so I'm going to run with it).

This video also highlights the information that women may be missing out on depending on which care provider they select. Those care providers most supportive of 'natural birth' tend to minimize the downsides to it and accentuate the upsides, meanwhile, those most supportive of 'medicalized birth' might share a similar bias in the other direction. (Again, this is mere speculation as I have no hard data to support this theory). As result of that kind of bias and self-selection, I can imagine the sort of trauma that might be inflicted should expectations not match up with experience (yet another theory without data, but again, I'm going to run with it).

Of course, if it was an example of what care in maternity SHOULD be like it wouldn't be funny at all...the really, really funny part (actually more sad now that I think of it) is - that the video might actually be a fairly accurate protrayal of what maternity care is like for many women. That needs to change.

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