Sunday, August 22, 2010

Preparation is Quite Necessary

I am hearing repeatedly, that providers are discouraging their patients from taking any form of childbirth preparation if they are planning to use an epidural for pain management. I heard it today and then I was asked what to expect. Well, how can you know what to expect if you don't take some kind of class to prepare you? You will never be able to understand the process, how to tell when you are in labor,what to do in early labor ( or until you feel the need to get support ) when to go to the hospital, what it will be like at the hospital, what an epidural is, how the baby will look or what to expect from the bonding experience immediately after the fourth stage of labor.

I think childbirth preparation is quite necessary; that's why I certify, by participating in one hundred and fifty continuing education units every five years so I can teach the latest trends and reassure my patients about what exactly to expect. An epidural is a form of pain management administered via a catheter into the epidural space. Is that all you need to know about labor and delivery? What about Cesarean section, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, care after delivery, symptoms warranting reporting, baby care, sibling support?

Is there some sort of agenda that promotes keeping patients uninformed? Isn't preparation and education supportive of real expectations? Isn't it reassuring to know what to expect, why to expect it and to understand deviations from the norm?
Why would anyone not want to know what to expect and why would anyone advocate for deliberately not knowing what to expect?

Grown-ups having babies have a lot of choices to make. Which provider, doctor or midwife? Water birth? Elective Cesarean section? Which pediatrician? What color nursery? How to install a car seat. Infant CPR. Naming and announcing. Which diaper? Breast or bottle? Collecting stem cells? What kind of stroller. How to swaddle. co-sleeping. Shall I go on? Grown-ups have the right, just like all patients to informed consent. Knowing what to expect so they can make choices and develop realistic expectations and have the reassurance of not going into any situation with-out a clue about how it might be. What's the harm? Who is withholding what and for what reason?