Birth Videos, Cesarean Rage, Atul Gawande and the End of Vaginal Birth

Some articles to enjoy on Monday morning.


The New York Times article Lights, Camera, Contraction! discusses the demand for and the censoring of birth videos on YouTube. Eugene Declercq was quoted in the article.

Women logging onto YouTube to watch birth is a natural inclination, said Eugene Declercq, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. “A hundred and fifty years ago women viewed birth on a pretty regular basis — they saw their sisters or neighbors giving birth,” he said, adding that it wasn’t until the late 19th century that birthing moved out of living rooms and bedrooms and into hospitals. “But now, with YouTube, we’ve come back around and women have this opportunity to view births again.”



Maternity leave - or reprieve? A Brisbane Times article by Julia Baird, an Aussie ex-pat living in Manhattan, examines the cultural trend of mothers seemingly ditching all evidence of pregnancy and motherhood as soon as possible.

What you can judge, however, is a cultural compulsion to leave behind as quickly as possible what in many societies has been considered a sacred space between a mother and child. In our race to prove our brains still function while our bodies respond to infant cries, we trample on something deeper than we acknowledge.



The Live Journal community Cesarean Rage is full of frank and uncensored accounts of cesareans.



A sublimely researched post on Science and Sensibility:

The Maternity Conundrum: One Thing Atul Gawande Doesn’t Get About Health Care Reform



The authors of Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse have a blog called Survivor Moms Speak Out. Here’s an excerpt from one of the stories:

The only complication with this pregnancy was the baby’s position. He was footling breach. I kept telling my doctor that something was different about this baby, and that it felt like with each kick I was going to drop him. No wonder – that was a foot against my cervix, not a head! The doctor wanted to do a c-section right away, but I told her that I wanted to wait until I went into labor to see if he had turned. Everyone prayed for me and the baby, and sure enough, the baby turned. I went to the doctor the next week and told her the baby had turned, but she wanted to do an ultrasound, just to check. Just then, the baby tap-danced across my belly with little feet sticking out just below my ribs. She believed me then.



From the 2002 article entitled “Normal Birth as the Standard Versus Cesarean as a ‘Deserved’ Choice” published in The Journal of Perinatal Education:

An example of the support for the second trend is obstetrician David Campbell Walters’ book, Just Take It Out! : The Ethics and Economics of Cesarean Section and Hysterectomy(1999). Dr. Walters examines the high malpractice insurance rates of obstetricians. He thinks more cesareans could mean fewer lawsuits. He also claims that, in five years, births will almost certainly be 50% cesareans and, in 20 years, there will be no more vaginal births.



Also, thank you for all of the thought-provoking comments and e-mails lately. I appreciate them all.


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