Things We Thought We Knew But Didn’t #3

Posted in , on 8-20-12

Things We Thought We Knew But Didn’t #3

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.


We thought babies didn’t feel pain. If a baby that was in the neonatal intensive care unit was too sick to move we would perform surgery on their bed without anesthesia.

We said all babies need to be circumcised to prevent urinary track infections. We saw no benefit of the foreskin.  No anesthetic was used.

We put alcohol on babies cord to prevent infection. We now know if cord it left alone, keeping it clean and dry it will heal faster.

We gave the live polio vaccine to infants. More babies got polio from the live polio vaccine then from polio itself.

We instructed mothers to always put babies to sleep on the stomach so if they spit they wouldn’t aspirated. We know know putting you baby to sleep on there back decrease the incidence of SIDS sudden infant death syndrome.

Moms were routinely x-rayed when in labor to see if the baby would fit.  We then found out the radiation increased the risk of childhood leukemia.

We said alcohol was fine for moms to drink while pregnant. Then later found it causes fatal alcohol syndrome.

We thought if was ok to smoke while pregnant.  We now know it harms the growing baby.

When a mom got to the hospital in labor we would “prep” her.  Meaning we would shave her pubic hair and give her an enema.   We now know freshly shaven area (where a microscopic nick may occur) is a good way for bacteria to enter the boy and studies now show the enema had no purpose.

Every baby got a “trial feeding”. We would give the baby at least 1/2 oz of formula to be sure he could suck and swallow before the baby could nurse.

We would stick a tube down each baby’s nostril to make sure it was open, and then down its mouth to suck out (aspirate) the contents of her stomach  (in case there was mucous in the baby’s stomach that she may have swallowed during birth –  so she wouldn’t be “spitty”).  It served no purpose for most newborns. We then would take the same tube and stick in in the babies rectum to make sure it was open as well.

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