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"It's good for women to suffer the pain of a natural birth"

(76 Posts)
Qally Sun 12-Jul-09 05:51:44

...says a Professor of Midwifery.

"A large number of women want to avoid pain. Some just don't fancy the pain [of childbirth]. More women should be prepared to withstand pain. Pain in labour is a purposeful, useful thing, which has quite a number of benefits, such as preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby."

Apparently epidurals on demand are bad. The correct person to determine the amount of pain a woman is in is not the woman herself.

"The NHS should abandon routine pain relief and embrace a new "working with pain" approach which would encourage women to use yoga, hypnosis, massage, support from their partners, hydrotherapy and birthing pools as natural ways of alleviating their pain"

All said by a man, who has no idea what actually birthing is like. hmm It's not so appalling for people with easy labours, but what about people who have a terrible time? Induced labours? Who the hell is he to tell people whose pain was severe enough to leave them with PTSD that it's good for them?

It's obviously great to offer the kind of support he's advocating, and to make sure women are properly informed about the risks of a cascade of intervention. But offering those alternative methods instead, instead of as well? How is that supporting women's choices? And why is lessening acute pain only this controversial for birthing women?

LeninGrad Sun 12-Jul-09 06:11:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Qally Sun 12-Jul-09 06:20:51

It's the abandoning routine pain relief that got to me. I was lucky and had a very easy labour, but even I needed Entonox for the last couple of hours. They tried to make me use less, but when I did a wall of pain hit me, so I ignored them. I was in water, in a MLU, after 3 days at home with irregular but quite strong contractions which I handled with distraction, visualisation and a TENS, so I'm pretty aware of alternative methods of coping - they just stopped cutting it by the end. I do not need some numpty man to say that that blessed gas and air was me failing in my maternal role - it meant I enjoyed the birth - how is that a bad thing? And what about people who really suffer excruciatingly painful labours? Why is that good for them?

Astrophe Sun 12-Jul-09 06:27:57

The only real benefit I can see of pain in labour is that it can tell you when to push/what position you ned to be in etc...as in 'listening' to your body and doing what your body is 'telling' you can be helpful...for some mothers.

How does pain prepare mothers for the responsibility of nurturing though?????? If this is true, we must certainly install some torture devices in labour wards so that fathers can also be sufficiently prepared for their new role....maybe give Dad a quick stretch on the rack whilst Mum is in labour.

"embrace a new "working with pain" approach which would encourage women to use yoga, hypnosis, massage, support from their partners, hydrotherapy and birthing pools as natural ways of alleviating their pain""

I totally, totally agree with this, women in labour should have much more support during their labour.

However the rest of it doesn't really deserve a considered response, basically he can fuck right off.

The problem is some of what he says is true it's just mixed in with a lot of bollocks and until the birthing pools, massages, hypnosis, yoga are provided to every pregnant woman free of charge (which I personally think would reduce the epidural rate in some cases) then I don't think taking away epidurals is the answer.

spinspinsugar Sun 12-Jul-09 06:56:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Astrophe Sun 12-Jul-09 06:59:43

bet you have no idea about the responsibility of nurturing then, do you spinspinsugar? wink

Yes spinsugar go and stand in the corner with all those women who had pain relief, the social worker will be round shortly to take your children away to give to a PROPER woman who felt PAIN during her labour and therefore is BETTER QUALIFIED to be a mother.

Qally Sun 12-Jul-09 07:03:40

Libra, totally agree - I was lucky enough to have an excellent MLBU, and I'm certain it contributed to my lovely labour. But if I'd been unlucky and had been in hellish pain anyway, I'd still have wanted an epidural.

I spent 2 days in the MLBU ward, as DS couldn't latch. I was the only woman to give birth there - the rest all headed to the main consultant-led unit, presumably for an epidural as you could have pethidene in the MLU, too. So it clearly wasn't enough - they were trying the natural route, with pool, focus object, home from home atmosphere, mood lighting, stools, beanbags, the works - but it didn't work for them. That doesn't make them wimps; it makes labour hell for some people, however well prepared. Physiological Lotto.

It's the either/or approach that's so galling. Why can't we have a staircase of pain management methods, from visualisation and breathing, right up to an epidural, and let women determine how high up it they need to climb? It would have to be cost effective if it drastically reduced sections/spinals, surely.

MavisG Sun 12-Jul-09 07:03:51

He comes across as a superstitious misogynist. What were his rites of passage? Did they hurt? If he has missed out, can I help?

StealthPolarBear Sun 12-Jul-09 07:06:09

Agree with LBOF about his suggestions of working with pain being a good thing, but as always if you don't want to or hypnosis and yoga's not cutting it, more traditional pain relief should be available!
The MW in our AN classes said to work with the pain as "you need lots of regular, painful contractions to open up your cervix". That did help, as what she was saying was the regular pain was achieving a purpose and would end!

Qally Sun 12-Jul-09 07:11:46

So - the only good mother is one who suffers?

This man sounds just like my grandmother. Only less martyred. (We could fix that by getting him to trial Astrophe's torture device for dads - bags me on the controls.)

Qally Sun 12-Jul-09 07:12:48

SPB, not aimed at you! X post.

StealthPolarBear Sun 12-Jul-09 07:29:18

That's OK Qally, I shed a few tears at your post anyway - it'll help make me a better mum

StealthPolarBear Sun 12-Jul-09 07:29:43

wink just in case that wasn't obvious

pipsy76 Sun 12-Jul-09 07:32:56

hmmmm, I had a totally pain free csection but I challenge the professor to stand within arms reach of me and tell me I'm not bonded to my baby!

justlookatthatbooty Sun 12-Jul-09 07:35:02

What is the name of this professor? Just interested...

thanks

StealthPolarBear Sun 12-Jul-09 07:35:29

you may have bonded you just have no idea about nurturing a newborn.
Is his /her nappy on backwards? Pictures on the FRONT

StealthPolarBear Sun 12-Jul-09 07:36:19

Dr Denis Walsh

pipsy76 Sun 12-Jul-09 07:36:58

what nappy? grin

"Is his /her nappy on backwards? Pictures on the FRONT"

OH! that's why I got it wrong because I had a c-section. I thought it was because I had never put a nappy on before.

StealthPolarBear Sun 12-Jul-09 07:39:25

I'm actually reading the Hypnobirthing book. While I'm hopefully going to use some of it, I find it a bit extreme. So far it seems to be linked to Grantly Dick Read's theory about pain being linked to fear, and while I agree with that to a certain extent (in that fear makes pain worse or seem worse) I still think that a fear free childbirth is going to sting a bit. It says there are no stages of labour, and there shouldn't be any pain, just waves, pressure etc. So I assume these women also will suffer the same "lack of preparation" as women who have epidurals (that work!) or CSs.

SPB I actually can't praise hypnobirthing enough, however personally I would disregard all the actual hypnosis stuff and read and practice the breathing. The breathing, for me, was key (and it is different from yoga breathing).

Qally Sun 12-Jul-09 07:43:33

This is totally off topic, but it so cracked me up that the Grauniad felt the need to caption the photo for the piece, "A newborn baby". Just in case anyone thought it was a lemming, or Professor Walsh.

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