Sunday, January 03, 2010

"We are dealing with human biology, so ...

... inevitably things will not always go to plan."

This statement is attributed to Professor Euan Wallace, head of obstetric services at Southern Health (Melbourne) in a recent special report, 'Birth Pains' in the Age.

This seemingly innocuous comment by a respected obstetrician is in fact a significant example of a major difference in the philosophy of obstetric/medical maternity care, compared with midwife led maternity care.

It's an interesting perspective.
"inevitably" - there's nothing you can do about the inevitable
"things will not always go to plan" - nothing specific to human biology there!

My comment would be, "We are dealing with human biology (in birth), so our skills and systems need to be finely tuned to working with, and not against, the natural physiological process."

Medically managed maternity care treats the birthing woman+child as a potential disaster area. Strict surveillance is relied upon, using technology rather than 'fallible' human feelings. As the woman was told in Monty Python's classic 'The Meaning of Life', she can't do anything, because "You're not qualified."

It is no wonder, under these conditions, that human biology in childbearing can not be trusted.

The midwife who is skilled in promoting and protecting normal physiological (biological) processes in the birthing continuum engages in a partnership with the woman+child/ mother+baby, and seeks to work in harmony with human biology. This midwife knows that on occasion "things will not always go to plan-A", and has plan-B within reach. But the midwife does not have a defeatist attitude: there is nothing inevitable at all about the change of plans from A to B. That's just the way it works.

In childbearing we are dealing with human life, at its most basic and most rewarding.

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