Things We Thought We Knew But Didn’t #2
Medical opinions change over time. So many methods and care plans, which were accepted as absolute truths in the past, have been completely misproven and rejected since then. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the “things we thought we knew – but didn’t” from time to time.
By looking back and seeing the mistakes and misconceptions of the past, you should be more confident about choosing a unique birth/baby care plan that works for you, instead of blindly following today’s status quo. Because today’s status quo might be tomorrow’s abandoned policy or procedure.
This will sound crazy, but it was only 30 years ago. I always wonder what we are doing now will be considered crazy in thirty years…
Not too long ago this is what an average birth looked like:
Mom would go into labor, show up in a triage room (a room where the medical staff would make sure she was in labor, if not she would go home). Once it was determined she was in labor, the husband would go to admitting and do paper work while they would prep the mom (with an enema and a shave). The nurses would start an IV and mom was not allowed to eat or drink (just ice chips). Then they would then move her to a labor room where only one person could be with her. Depending on the time of day (or if she was admitted at night she might have to wait for the anesthesiologist until early the next morning) she would get a spinal. Once she had her spinal, they would something in her IV to help her sleep so she could get some rest. When she was fully dilated, she would be moved to a delivery room. If her husband had taken birthing classes he could accompany her and sit on a stool by her head. The mother’s arms were strapped down so she wouldn’t touch the sterile field, and her legs in stirrups and an episiotomy was done. Forceps were used to pull the baby out. Many baby’s had forceps marks on there face and many had nerve damage (usually, but not always temporary) from the forceps. The baby was handed to the nursery nurse who took the baby to the warmer bed and stimulated the baby vigorously. She would roughly dry him off, suction his mouth and nose, foot print him and take him to the nursery where he would be assessed by a nurse under a warmer where he stayed up to six hours. Babies had visiting hours. Nurses took them to see there moms every four hours. Moms needed their rest since they had a spinal. It meant she had to lay flat for 24 hours, which made it difficult for her to do anything with her baby. Dads could visit during set visiting hours. All babies stayed in the nursery at night and were fed formula so moms could rest. Moms would stay 4 to 7 days depending how here delivery went.
The mom of the past was a dis-empowered a birthing mom. Our old medical practices told her she couldn’t birth her own baby, she was not equipped, not strong enough. It sabotaged the mother/baby bond. We have come along way from this scenario from the 80’s, but we still have a ways to go to empower women and facilitate the bonding experience.