Pregnant women are generally treated with respect and special care, but the methods of delivery used today can have an adverse effect on mother and baby alike. Before the era of hospital deliveries, the responsibility for handling deliveries was given to competent women. Home was considered the best place for all involved. This had been a common practice around the world for thousands of years. Provided that the appropriate hygienic measures were taken, very few birth complications occurred.
Today, however, with most deliveries being handled by male doctors and taking place in the sterile environment of a hospital room, we have the highest rates of complications at birth. Research from Britain, Switzerland and Holland, published by the British Medical Journal in 1996, found that planned home births were the safest of all options, including hospital deliveries.
In hospitals, delivering mothers are watched over by a number of electronic instruments and machines that monitor every possible change and that signal the need for an operation just in case something goes wrong. One of the most common types of surgery during delivery is known as an episiotomy or ‘cutting’. The procedure helps to widen the vagina so that the baby’s head and shoulders come out more easily. This routine operation is supposed to prevent tearing of the vagina.
Yet if the mother were not induced and/or made numb by drugs and were properly prepared for the delivery, she would know perfectly well how and when and when not to push to release the child from the birth canal at the right time. The pain would tell her exactly what to do during the birth process. This would naturally prevent tearing of the vagina. Even if it did tear, the injury would heal much 紮肚 faster than a cut inflicted by a surgical knife. Because it severs important nerves, ‘cutting’ also lowers the mother’s sexual sensitivity, something that doesn’t happen with ‘natural’ tearing.
The second most unnecessary but most commonly applied operation during delivery is the Caesarean section. If the monitoring electronic instruments indicate a sign of irregularity in the heartbeat of the baby, the mother is often cut open and the baby is pulled from her womb. It is well known that the baby’s heartbeat can react to a sudden loud noise made in the proximity of the mother, something that is more likely to occur in a hospital or operation room than it would at home. An unborn child may increase his heartbeat because of irritating lights shining on the mother’s stomach or strong electromagnetic fields caused by nearby electronic appliances such as monitors. Controlled birth studies have shown that a Caesarean section is performed 3-4 times more frequently if electronic devices were used to monitor the birth rather than a simple stethoscope.
Mothers in the midst of labor often consent to a Caesarean section when they see intensified signals of their baby’s heartbeat flashing on the monitor in front of them. It is quite likely that a baby’s heart activity produces erratic changes when cold electrodes are attached to its head while it is squeezed through the narrow tube of the mother’s womb. The procedure of connecting electrodes to the head of the baby before it is born is itself an invasion that may have serious consequences. A controlled study revealed that 65 percent of all children whose birth had been controlled electronically were at risk for developing growth and behavioral problems later in their lives.
The very setup of a delivery room in the hospital, which looks much like an operation theater, can induce a fear and stress response in a sensitive mother. The sudden release of anxiety-provoking stress hormones by the mother may also affect the fetus and make him fearful. The mother’s worries become his worries, and her fears become his. Recent studies have shown that within a fraction of a second after fear has caused the racing of a mother’s heart, a fetus’s heart begins pounding at double its normal rate. Fear can paralyze many important functions in the body, including those needed for delivering a baby.
Often it is no longer in the hands of the mother to ‘decide’ the time of delivering her baby. Unlike a wild animal, the human mother may be forced to give birth when the doctor tells her it is the ‘correct’ time, even though, as it has been shown, his calculations can be wrong by several days or even weeks. Artificially induced delivery is considered more practical than natural delivery and also fits the doctor’s schedule more conveniently. Induced birth, however, causes nearly three times as much pain to the mother as natural birth does. To deal with the pain she is given strong medications, all with strong side effects. It is a lesser-known fact that many of these mothers and their newly born babies end up in intensive care units.