#1: The hospital is the safest place to have a baby -- study after study has shown that births planned to occur either at home or in a birth-center have the same, if not better, statistics in terms of cesarean rates, medications, interventions and the big one, infant mortality.
#2: Maternity care should be managed only by a physician -- once again, studies never show that outcomes are better when a birth is attended by a physician as opposed to a midwife. Women are more likely to experience unnecessary interventions when the birth is being overseen by a physician including vacuum assisted deliveries, delivery using forceps
#3: The electronic fetal monitoring will save babies -- Outcomes are the same with or without this device. It is basically pointless in low-risk deliveries. What would happen if it isn't used is a nurse would come and intermittently check the baby's heart-tones with her Doppler or stethoscope. When reviewing the statistics in regards to the introduction and use of EFM, all that happens is physicians get anxious and perform unnecessary cesareans. Also, when hooked up to an EFM, a woman is restricted in her movement, slowing labor (sometimes stalling it). Being able to move freely is key in being able to birth normally and naturally.
#4: All babies should be born on or before their due date -- Common sense should rule on this one. Babies do not develop at the same rate and due dates are just estimates as to when a baby might be coming. Babies are full term at 37 weeks and post-term at 42. Expect your baby to come sometime between then. In all reality, due dates are pointless because all they do is create anxiety around the mom if the baby isn't here BY THE DUE DATE. The baby will come when it's good and ready and to electively get induced is only getting the ball rolling for more interventions and stressing a baby by forcing it to be delivered before its ready.
#5: Drugs for pain relief won't hurt the baby -- take a moment and consider this: we spend 9 months (sometimes 10) not even taking a tylenol because we're worried about how it will effect our babies, yet during labor, we somehow believe getting an epidural (which is usually a mix of an anesthetic agent and a narcotic) will not have an effect? rrrrriiight...Here is a little food for thought on this one. Side effects to the baby due to an epidural may include profound disturbances of fetal heart rates (heart rates drop drastically, sometimes not rebounding leading to an emergency cesarean); the baby could become "frozen" into a position where the baby's head gets stuck into an extended position, creating a situation where the baby is unable to descend or drop leading to a prolonged labor and increased risk of a cesarean; babies have been either jittery and nervous or drowsy after birth (as opposed to alert and aware, which is NORMAL) . Effects of an epidural on a baby can last up to six weeks postpartum and can include the baby being less alert, crying more and having poorer visual skills.
Also, keep in mind, and this is VERY IMPORTANT: THERE ARE NO LONG TERM STUDIES (ABSOLUTELY NONE) DONE REGARDING THE SAFETY OF AN EPIDURAL OR ANY OTHER PAIN MEDICATIONS USED DURING LABOR ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR BABIES.
If this stuff scares you, and your worried about needing an epidural, good, it should worry you and create a HUGE pause when you're debating this point.
#6: Once a cesarean, always a cesarean -- Vaginal births after a cesarean (VBAC) have time after time been shown to be safer for mother and baby than a repeat cesarean. A lot of women are nervous of rupturing their suture/scar from the previous cesarean, however, in over 75% of the VBAC, this does NOT happen. Also, there are many warning signs that a rupture is likely in which case, of course a repeat cesarean would be safer and therefore, that is what would happen. Vaginal births are easier on both the mother and baby and therefore should be attempted and preferred whenever possible.
#7: An episiotomy heals better than a tear -- just the idea of an episiotomy makes me queasy, ugh, sorry to any woman who has ever experienced this, but it is the most common obstetrical procedure preformed! They do not heal better than a tear, it just doesn't happen. They also are usually unnecessary since if a woman is give TIME and physicians could just be PATIENT the baby would naturally stretch a woman gently enough that she wouldn't tear in the first place.
#8: It's better not to eat or drink during labor -- are we expecting surgery? Because that is the only reason these two things are limited in a hospital...where are our physicians minds at? In a long labor, a woman needs something to help keep her energies up. From personal experience, during Keller's birth (25+ hours) I didn't even desire food and all I wanted was water, but at least give a woman an option!
#9: Baby boys need to be circumcised -- I get that this one is a very personal decision and that's fine. We personally, did not circumcise. I did a lot of reading and research on the subject and learned for myself that there are seriously no medical indication that circumcision is best or even better than not. In all reality, it is excruciatingly painful for the baby boy; the level of pain can become so overwhelming that the baby goes into a state of shock, stops crying, and becomes almost comatose. Could you imagine having the most highly innervated part of your body sliced off without any sort of anesthetic? yikes..