I have come to the realization the many medical professionals in the birth field very rarely see a birth without some sort of medical intervention. An even more difficult thing to swallow, is that they view a woman laboring with a sense of horror. They have a great distaste for the noises made and the movements of swaying or rocking that help a woman cope are seen as strange. When a woman is laboring they see all they happens as a sign of distress, not effective coping.
I don't think this is true of all medical professionals, but if a normal birth is no longer the norm, then how can they know or understand what is truly normal and not a cause for alarm or rejection.
Many of the clients I have worked with have run into this in some shape or form. The question is, how do we educate on what is normal when it isn't seen anymore. Then even more problematic, how do we create a culture that can accept what is normal.
Many nursing students go through their clinics having never seen a labor without interventions. Many doctors go through their rotations without feeling the pressure to somehow "do" something with the lady that is moaning or making noises.
When I went through my own orientation in Labor and Delivery, I was not taught what a normal labor looks like. I was not taught how to assess where a woman is at in labor by her movements or actions. I was not taught that noises are normal or acceptable. I was not taught how to help facilitate a normal labor for a woman who may need more monitoring. I was not taught that a woman who is a little spacey during labor is ok. I was not taught that a woman who is laboring without medication needs less light and distractions. I was not taught that a woman may need more help to make decisions. I was not taught that it's ok to be out of it during labor. I was not taught that grunting is a sign of pushing. I was not taught that a normal labor does not have to be distressing.
An interesting thing happened with the last woman I was laboring with. The heart rate started to have late decelerations...those are the ones you don't want. She had been trying to rest, but was a little too far on her back, so the nurse wanted to move her on her left side. This was the side that she hated the most because she felt so uncomfortable. So I asked the nurse if my client could go on her hands and knees. She adamantly refused. She said she had to be on her side because the heart rate needed to be fixed. I agreed that the heart rate looked bad but that being on her hands and knees would accomplish the same thing. The nurse looked at me like I had no idea what I was talking about.
It dawned on me that nurses are not taught correctly why they intervene the way they do. They never see natural births, so most women are on their backs and can't go on their stomachs, thus turning them on their sides is the easiest way to get the uterus off the aorta(which is what happens when you are on your back, causing a problem with the blood pressure and thus oxygenation). They are taught, therefore, just to turn them on their sides and things will get better. What they need to be taught is the basic principles...get the pressure off the aorta any way possible. For a natural birth, this can be accomplished in numerous ways, not just by laying them on their sides. Thus two purposes can be fulfilled: comfort and safety.
Nurses need so much more experience in dealing with normal physiological birth than they receive in order to safely and effectively help a woman labor....any suggestions on how to help do this?:)