Monday, January 13, 2014

'Sacred organ', or 'hazardous medical waste'?

I am forwarding this message with permission of it's author, midwife


The trial of 79 people (doctors, midwife and parents) who were accused for environmental pollution from the placenta in homebirths and false medical certification came to an end once and for all !

79 parents, doctors and me (midwife) were acquitted !

In a trial that lasted up to five hours, the only prosecution witness was the president of Midwives Association of Thessaloniki, a court seat that fully respected the accused and a district attorney who in his speech said that this case should ΝΟΤ have reached the court from the beginning !

Filled with rage seeing all these couples who gave birth at home with me sit in the dock, some even with their babies, suffering for the whim of a woman (the president) who is called "midwife" .

I believe that the midwife who considers the Placenta "dangerous medical waste" should not be next to women who give birth, because she considers them as "patients" and the whole process of childbirth a surgery.

Yesterday we put our stepping stone for childbirth at home in Greece.

According to the decision, the placentas from homebirths can be buried or encapsulated or whatever the parents want!  None registrar (illegally) will ask from the fathers receipts from waste management company to declare his child!

When the presiding judge asked one of the witnesses: " Why do you think that was this lawsuit? " Then for the first time in Greek court heard that behind this prosecution hiding major interests of clinical and waste management companies, also heard the high rate of caesarean and how unhappy makes the system the "leak" of people who give birth at home or choose natural childbirth.

At the end of the trial the district attorney said: "It's hard for me to call this sacred organ (placenta) “hazardous medical waste" and the president of the court agreed.

I'm excited to hear these parents talk about their birth with the best words and for their placenta :
"We could not give it to any management company, preferred to bury him and put a tree on top ."

I want to thank all those who stood by us all this time, lawyers ardently defended us, and the court which took the decision to acquit and pave the way for something " unconventional " as the homebirth.

The trial is over and what was left is a punch people even stronger and ready to defend the rights of every woman and every child to be born the way they choose.

Freedom in birth is becoming reality in Greece!

[For more information go to Irene's blogs about Birth Rights in Greece - English and Greek. ]

1 comment:

Joy Johnston said...

Readers who are not familiar with the practices in homebirth may wonder how this happened. Could it happen in Australia?

Yes, I suppose it could. Hospitals dispose of placentas as potentially hazardous medical waste because they contain blood and other human tissue. This is the only acceptable way to deal with human tissue in a health facility. Mothers who give birth in hospital can ask for their baby's placenta to be put in a bag or container and taken home.

When I attend a birth preparation meeting (at about 36 weeks) I have a discussion with the parents about how they plan to care for their baby's placenta. I consider this an important aspect of planning for birth, whether it takes place at home or in a hospital. I advise parents that a placenta should not be discarded in the ordinary household garbage.

There has been a long-standing custom in planned homebirth to bury the placenta and plant a tree over it. If parents tell me that they are not able to bury the placenta - they live in an apartment with no suitable garden, or they have no shovel, or some other reason, I am happy to take the placenta home and bury it. In my garden, over the years, there have probably been a dozen or so placentas buried under or near fruit trees, or rose bushes. Two young pear trees that are bearing their first fruit this year have placentas strategically placed underneath.

Some mothers freeze pieces of placenta, or have the placenta dried and encapsulated, to use as a personal tonic.

Regardless of the custom, mothers who take ownership of their birthing experience are usually keen to also own the decisions made about their baby's placenta. It is a 'sacred organ', which has sustained life and acted as the conduit for nourishment and cleansing between unborn child and mother. While blood borne diseases, such as Hepatitis C, may be transmitted via fresh blood, a mother's and baby's blood in and on a placenta presents no potential hazard to that mother.