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How do they get away with it?

(61 Posts)
Rohan Mon 01-Sep-08 12:38:18

OK, so I watched the 'Deliver Me' program last night on Discovery. Did anyone else see it? It's been ages since I've watched that kind of thing and I was totally horrified. I know it's filmed in the US and that's a whole different world when it comes to giving birth. But I would have thought that in such a litigous society someone would see a problem with the show - how do they get away with it? How do they not get sued when they're directly contravening guidelines set down by their academic organisation ON THE TV? In the US it's ACOG, right, like our RCOG? How could they possibly get away with inducing due to size at 38 weeks, or augmenting labour immediately after SROM? Both of these are against the standard practice of their governing body - yet they're supposed to be afraid of being sued?! I'm confused.

Did anyone else see it? Don't get me started on how they sabotaged those poor women's births either angry I wouldn't mind if that's what they signed up for, but so many were going in saying the exact opposite and the docs just put them on the medical fast track for intervention.....

Blergh. Sorry for the rant, I'm not watching that again......sad

slinkiemalinki Mon 01-Sep-08 13:11:48

I will try and look out for a repeat - sounds appalling!

LeonieD Mon 01-Sep-08 14:24:12

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Anglepoise Mon 01-Sep-08 16:13:02

Didn't see it either but my cousin lives in the US and got married two months ago and is planning to ttc soon - when she went to her doctor to ask advice about ttc, apparently the first thing he said was to move back to the UK!

LeonieD Mon 01-Sep-08 17:19:38

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moosemama Mon 01-Sep-08 17:40:17

I've watched a couple of episodes of that before and almost started a thread about it - but I'm too chicken.

Is it me or do they seem to induce every woman get them to lie on their backs for hours and hours, give them an epidural and then say they have to have csections because they are not progressing. (Shudders - reminds me of my first labour/birth!)

That's what happened to just about every woman in the few episodes I saw (kept watching it to see if I was wrong).

notsoslimnow Mon 01-Sep-08 18:25:27

sounds like when i watched the consultant led care on portland babies!!

emskaboo Mon 01-Sep-08 19:09:29

You should read the American Way of Birth by Jessica Mitford and Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf, this, it seems, is just how they do it in America. Naomi Wolf who as a feminist writer ou'd have thought would have had the cajones to insist on things being done her way felt totally railroaded after her fiirst birth. I have two friends in America who recently gave birth and despite wanting minimal intervention both had epidurals and assisted deliveries but their obs were really suprised they were upset with some of the birth process because neither of them had csecs (did both have standard episiotomies!!! One friend was begging for help with bf and being told just to use bottles and she bloody pays for all that care, that's what amazes me I thought the customer was always right!

Tittybangbang Mon 01-Sep-08 19:35:19

Oh go and see 'The Business of Being Born', the new Ricky Lake documentary on US maternity care. It's hugely entertaining - and very disturbing.

I got a lump in my throat watching the bits about scopolamine births in the 1950's


Imagine that - being given a drug that left you with no memory of your labour or the birth of your child. Women were told that scopolamine ('twilight sleep') would take away the pain of labour, but the reality was it just took away the memory of it. Women would be injected with it in labour then strapped to a bed for hours, sometimes days, while they screamed, fought and panicked. shock

When anyone starts to have a go at the natural childbirth movement I think about some of the things that the medical profession have done to labouring women over the past 100 years in the name of safety and progress and it puts it all into perspective.

DeirdreD Mon 01-Sep-08 19:43:16

I think American hospitals and obgyns are way too into medical intervention .. monitoring, epidurals and then all sorts of intervention .. but on the other hand a little medical monitoring would be appreciated here. During my second birth the midwives here sent me home told me that I was not in active labour and refused to let me come back in despite phone calls every two hours and being in labour for 20 hours. Eventually gave birth on a dirty towel in the living room with no one but my husband to catch the baby .. no midwife, no ambulance nothing. I knew I was in labour and repeatedly told the midwives I was. I doubt in the US they would let a woman go through a 20 hour second labour without at least bringing her in for vaginal exam to find out if she was dilating.

Sorry sounds like ranting, but I guess I just feel there isn't much of middle ground anywhere between a full blown medical monitoring and totally hands off deliver the baby yourself.

twinkle3869 Mon 01-Sep-08 22:12:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 01-Sep-08 22:17:44

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AbstractMouse Mon 01-Sep-08 22:36:03

Most American progs about birth are just awful, apart fom one I saw which was a Midwife led birth centre, that was great apart from pressing earrings into newborns without even gloves <shudder>.

twinkle3869 Tue 02-Sep-08 09:18:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sambrads Tue 02-Sep-08 09:30:42

twinkle i swear i hhave watched like every episode of portland babies thought it would eb amazing giving birth there the midwifery team seemed so so nice .

it just shows things are never what they seem

i have watched quite a few episodes of deliver me and i do agree with the fact that these women are all given what ever pain relief they want without being spoke to or advised.

i also seen an episode were they lost a pateint who was on the verge of having a stroke due to pre eclampsia like why would you put that on tv????

Tittybangbang Tue 02-Sep-08 09:31:07

DeirdeD, a lot of the problems women experience here with maternity care are down to a lack of resources, rather than it being a policy to actively neglect labouring mums.

It's not so much 'medical monitoring' that you needed in your second labour - what you needed was to be listened to, treated with respect and to have had proper care from a midwife (which may or may not have involved a vaginal examination).

Tittybangbang Tue 02-Sep-08 09:32:41

Sorry - should have said often down to a lack of resources. Unfortunately in terms of intervention rates and medically managed births we're not doing so great here either. sad

weblette Tue 02-Sep-08 09:37:38

It's not the only place though, from reading pregnancy magazines in France this Summer the situation seems very much the same in terms of intervention and management.

One had an article on how to get your induction sorted if it was "too inconvenient" for you to go to term. Another had an article on these newfangled birth plan things that are so popular in the UK hmm

twinkle3869 Tue 02-Sep-08 10:06:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsHappy Tue 02-Sep-08 10:14:34

I had my baby in a well known NHS maternity hospital.

Before I was admitted, the midwives talked a lot about active labour but it was all talk. The reality was I was told to get on the bed, continuously moitored (even though I repeatedly asked to be "allowed" to move about), pestered until I let them break my waters, I had an epidural 24 hours in (and so had to be given a drip), then hormones magically appeared in my drip (which caused decelerations so they had to put a monitor on my baby's head) and I needed a canula because I was so numb from my "walking epidural" that I couldn't pee.
At one point I looked at the midwife and said "so if I need a cs I am now all ready to go, aren't I?" She looked a bit bashful.
Basically tying a women down in this way is one hell of a good way to make sure she doesn't cause trouble. In my case it also prolongued labour and resulted in a malpositioned baby and cs. If only they ahd let me get on with things and hadn't insisted on the labour progressing in accordance with the NICE Guidelines (which my cervix has not read).

When people talk about how much worse things are in the states I have to laugh. I think I had a pretty typical American birth while having midwife-led care in the UK.

MrsHappy Tue 02-Sep-08 10:15:34

sorry, lots of typos in that, but the whole thing makes me too angry to type (or indeed spell) properly!

PortAndLemon Tue 02-Sep-08 10:19:05

Birth: A History is a fascinating book if you're interested in this area. it's a very even-handed book, applauding the advances in technology that have made birth safer while also looking at the ways in which they've been (mis)applied -- and the older historical stuff also very interesting.

I'm was on a due date group on a US board (yes, a fluffy cuddly-wuddly tickertastic one) this time round and it is very much my impression, looking at the Americans' birth stories that oxytocin was being routinely handed out like sweeties (Birth: A History has some interesting stuff on this as well. Figures that were worked out as the average duration of each stage of normal labour have become misused as targets or limits -- so if your labour isn't progressing faster than average the medical staff start to intervene)

LeonieD Tue 02-Sep-08 10:41:14

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LeonieD Tue 02-Sep-08 10:42:20

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PortAndLemon Tue 02-Sep-08 10:46:36

It is a lot easier to be assertive with a second baby, I think. Second time round I was much more prepared to just flat out say "No" if I didn't want to do something (and had lovely quick trouble-free VBAC with no intervention and virtually no monitoring). In principle you think you're prepared to be assertive first time round, but in practice it's hard to do so effectively when it's the first time you've been in that position (and especially when you're tired from a long labour).

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