Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Post: Three Things Nurses Wish You Knew About Childbirth

An article has been circulating, bearing the same title as this post. I encourage you to read it, by clicking on the title above. Here is what Joni Edelman, former Labor & Delivery nurse, had to say in response to it. I found her comments quite insightful, and am reposting them with her permission, fascinated to see her view from the "inside".

Here's what I wish my patients knew:

1. Doulas. Yes. The statistics don't lie and a good doula is an asset to the RN too.

2. REAL childbirth prep. Yes.

3. Birth plans. Yes. But be flexible. Only because in my experience, the more rigid the birth plan, the more likely you'll end up in surgery. I can't explain it but it's true.

4. Pain medication is available and we are happy to give it to you. However, sometimes it's too late for the epidural or that last shot. Labor hurts. Sorry. We can't always make it pain free. Frankly I'm shocked at the number of women who expect this.

5. YOU have the right (and responsibility) to make choices for your baby and yourself. You can refuse intervention and treatment you don't want. (IV, induction, etc) Your RN or OB might be mad or even mean to you but it's your baby and your body.

But what I REALLY wish people knew is that the statistics are true AND scary. The hospital creates as many problems as it solves. Where else can you walk in healthy and still have a 32% chance of having major surgery? Also pitocin, whether they'll acknowledge it or not, makes for complicated deliveries. OB's like pitocin. They like to exert control when they can because unfortunately they are all terrified of a lawsuit. Most OB's pay more in malpractice insurance than most people make in a year. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE OB's. They have an important role to play when NEEDED. Otherwise they really aren't acquainted with normal, unaltered labor. They rely on quantified information which is great, when necessary, but usually is unnecessary.

So what I wish people knew is it's safe, and often safer, to have your baby at home with a skilled midwife. I just did and even with a delivery complicated by a severe shoulder dystocia, I'm still glad I had my 10 lb 6 oz baby in my kitchen. It's a long story but because of my experience I know what likely would have happened in the hospital making me that much happier I wasn't there."

Thank you for sharing with us, Joni!


  1. You're welcome! I should add that I left L&D because I was so constantly frustrated. I started with the intent to become a midwife myself but the area I live in just can't support the kind of midwife I need to be. I wanted to affect change but I felt like I was constantly just banging my head against a wall. However, my years there gave me an invaluable perspective and the gift of knowing, even after 3 "medically necessary" induced hospital births, that I could trust myself, my body and birth.

    Because of that I went into labor at home, baked a cake and then my husband and I welcomed our sweet baby into the world in our kitchen, surrounded by people we love. Then we ate the aforementioned cake and snuggled together in our bed and went to sleep. And that was it.

    Blessings~ Joni

  2. I was really & truly going to email Joni to ask if I could blog her response, too! Just haven't gotten around to it. :-)