lots of citations and documented empirical research.
And TONS of useful info for pregnancy and birth choices.
GIVING BIRTH NATURALLY
(posted by danelle)
I never cease to be amazed at the ignorance surrounding this topic among parents about to give birth. Cutting off the organ of an infant seems to cry out to a parent to RESEARCH it before making the decision... But too many people (56%) in the U.S. still blindly go into this choice with no background knowledge on the extreme decision they are about to make... I ignore and delete most list-serv messages sent my way (constantly annoyed at the ignorance and pettiness of the conversations) but this particular topic is just too important to ignore. So here is my response from today's list-serv round-robin:
I would HIGHLY suggest people investigate ALL aspects of circumcision -- AND the many purposes and functions of the foreskin BEFORE their baby arrives. There is a LOT of good information out there -- as well as videos you can watch of circ being done. The U.S. is thee ONLY nation in the world that circumcises for NO medical reason. Our rate is now 56% of baby boys in the U.S. being circumcised (as of Jan 2008) but this is still far more than Canada (9%) England (3%) and most other developed countries (1-2%).
NO HEALTH ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD recommends this procedure be done. And there are many, many reasons for this.
It is a very painful procedure for a brand new baby boy when he has just entered the world and cannot be administered numbing drugs. Working in L&D, many babies are seen crying so hard that they slip into comas. They cannot handle this terror.
The tissue removed (tissue that is exactly the same as if we cut off a baby girl's clitoral hood at birth) HAS purpose and function both in infancy (lubrication, natural antibodies, protection of the glans/head, tactile stimulation) and in adulthood (lubrication, antibodies, glans protection, and increased sexual stimulation with partners).
Circ removes the skin with the highest concentration of nerve endings of ANY male body part. It constitutes 1/3 of the newborn penis. And it can never be replaced.
If a boy/man wishes to be circumcised later in life, he is then able to CHOOSE this for himself, and be fully numbed for the procedure.
As more and more parents learn just what is involved, it is not surprising that people come to see this as a human rights violation, genital mutilation, and infant abuse. It is simply NOT something most parents would choose to do to their newly loved infant if they were fully informed and aware of the implications.
Some websites for more information on this topic include:
http://www.noharmm.org/raising.htm (this site includes fathers who were circumcised who are choosing to keep their sons intact)
http://www.mothering.com/ (the latest issue of Mothering magazine has full length research articles on the newest data, procedures, and research findings upon this topic)
THIS IS A VIDEO of the genital cutting being performed (recent U.S. hospital) with statistics from the outstanding film, "Birth As We Know It"
PLEASE research this for the sake of your new little loved one.
Yet what are the "givens" for the human who births not in a barn, but in a "modern and advanced" hospital? In many cases, 100% the opposite! Usually a minimum of a dozen strangers pass through the world of the laboring mother in her first 12 hours in the hospital—security officer, patient transporter, triage secretary, admission clerk, triage nurse, resident and/or doctor on call, admitting nurse, first shift nurse, break nurse, additional nurse at delivery, doctor or midwife plus possibly students, anesthesiologist, pediatrician, etc. Bright lights in the triage and labor rooms are challenging to dim. Mothers are tethered to monitors or IV poles and are moved through a bright hall with unfamiliar sounds to a new room in a building devoted to illness/trauma that most have visited once briefly if at all. They receive poor quality "clear liquids only." They are exposed to voices of others in the hall or chatting by the attendants during contractions and endless disruptions throughout! But then, do we ever find that we have an offspring experience "unexplained distress?" Of course, and at frightening rates! Yet, oddly, many of these disruptions are promoted as minor inconveniences or necessary to "protect" the baby.
Curiously, while veterinarians commonly have to defend interventions in light of the additional cost and the risks associated with interfering with nature, providers caring for human mothers within the medical system more commonly are forced to defend why they did NOT intervene! Consider the high rates of inductions, epidurals, artificial rupture of membranes, immediate cord cutting, cesareans and the vigorous defense necessary to fight for anything different, especially if time is involved (time to go into labor, to progress, to push, to allow the cord to stop pulsation or to get "done" bonding). I've recently seen outstanding CNMs and obstetricians sacrifice their own political reputations and suffer departmental reprimands for births with great outcomes where they protected the mothers' yearning for privacy, allowed extended pushing time with great vital signs or, during a healthy normal birth, followed their intuition and honored the mother's begging to check heart tones frequently by hand during pushing instead of what the mother considered the massive intrusion of wearing the monitor belt. Interventions are considered to be the ultimate protection from litigation in human care, yet they contribute mightily to the high rates of distress in mothers and babies!
In animal husbandry, the first line of defense for protecting the unborn is to protect and nurture the nutritional needs and comfort of the birthing female. In the case of institutionalized birth for humans, however, in spite of evidence to the contrary, the norm is to act as if the nutritional needs and the comfort of the birthing mothers are of concern to, at most, the marketing and public relations department! It's an affront to common sense that as a society we are currently more accepting of the needs of foaling mares, whelping poodles and high-producing cows than of our birthing humans. From the high rates of fetal distress, meconium staining and breastfeeding problems, the consequences are clearly devastating to our infants, just as any decent horseman would predict.
I'd take birthing in a barn over birthing in a hospital any day...;-) - Posted by Creeping Starfish on Jul 6, 2008 12:32 PM
(Mom, I love you dearly, but I cannot have the negative energy flow right now even when I know it is from your own care and concern)
So today I was once again confronted with negativity and criticism, doubt, etc. regarding my upcoming homebirth by my mother and uncle.
Today is 39 Weeks, 1 day...the birth tub is set up. Things are ready here on the homefront. And HOPEFULLY my husband will make it home from his duty in the Gulf before this little one decides to arrive. He is a solid rock and supporter of our natural, gentle, peaceful birthing at home - so without him I am a little more lost than normal.
My Mom today said that she and my uncle don't see how my husband and I can be so "technologically advanced" when it comes to computers, cell-phones, our home business, etc. but then we choose to turn the other way (back to the "stone age") when it comes to birth.
I once again (for about the millionth time) tried to explain that birth is natural, normal, healthy, safe and works BEST when it is left to unfold on its own, in its own time. That my body was fully designed and created to birth easily. That my body and my baby instinctively know what to do - at just the right time, in just the right way.
All the "technological advancements" when pushed upon a healthy, normal birth do nothing but interfere with its unfolding, and cause a domino effect of negative consequences -- some of which can be catastrophic. And by simply walking into the doors of a hospital you are taking on the first of many interventions -- knocking over that first domino...
As Dr. Marsden Wagner (former director of Women's & Children's Health for the World Health Organization) said -- "If you want to have a healthy, humanized birth, the best thing to do is GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOSPITAL!"
Unknowing people think that we are endangering the life of this little one. Do you know how many times I have been asked, "Will there be OXYGEN there at your house?!" ...ah! And yes, I have read the literature about this as well... and we will be attended by 2 highly skilled midwives who have been attending births for 28 years at home. They have seen everything and worked thru every situation. I am completely confident in their judgment.
In addition, my pregnancy has been completely healthy. There is no reason to "mess" with it.
SO -- how do I combat this negativity that is repeatedly THROWN at me and pushed upon me when I am this close to my birthing day?
I am not worried about changing their minds - or solving other people's ignorance at this point. What matters is that I am in an optimally healthy state of mind, at peace, relaxed, and confident so that I am able to let things flow and easily unfold on birth day.
Have ANY of you ever had a close relative who tried to discourage you?
Or who bombarded you with pessimism and naive criticism?
I understand that people who have not researched this indepth for themselves -- those who blindly just follow the conveyor belt of hospital protocols and eager-to-intervene surgeon (OB) recommendations, cannot possibly understand what they are doing/not doing for themselves or their babies or their birthing experience. So I understand where the fear comes from. But how do I keep it away from me?
What has helped you the most to stay calm, confident and secure in your gentle birthing?
What has helped you the most in dealing with negative relatives?
I am eager to hear from anyone who has something to share.
Thanks so much!! You wise, homebirthin' woman are truly fabulous and I value the friendships I have made thru this experience.
Responses I have received:
goood nite and pleasant dreams...............