An example of one of these unsupported practices is that of routine gestational diabetes testing in the absence symptoms or risk factors. A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth states, “The available data provides no evidence to support the wide recommendation that all pregnant women should be screened for ‘gestational diabetes’...” (pp. 59), and for good reason. In Understanding Diagnostic Tests in the Childbearing Year we find that this test is not reproducible 70 out of 100 times! It’s not accurate; it’s harmful to women (in that it is a ‘fasting’ blood sugar test, requiring a pregnant woman to go without food for 8-12 hours, and then ingest pure sugar syrup despite the fact that her pregnancy physiology makes her less able to cope with this unnatural overload), yet it is the ‘standard of care.’
Another example of nonsensical thinking is the story of a friend who broke her tailbone four days past her estimated due date.
She obviously was in a great deal of pain. At the hospital, she was told all they could give her for the pain was a commonly available pain reliever because anything stronger would be bad for the baby. BUT…if she went into labor, (or if they just would let them induce her), she could have an epidural or Demerol. She responded with, “Excuse me? Why is it not OK to relieve the pain of a pathological condition that is by its very nature painful, but it is OK for a normal, physiological process that can be quite comfortable without drugs?” (More on that later!) If she went into labor in 10-minutes she could have the drug, but not now? How does the difference of 10 minutes make the drug less dangerous? The same rationale makes it not OK for a mother to have narcotics/opiates in her system if she puts it there, but it is OK if the anesthesiologist does? I am not advocating illicit drug use here. I’m simply pointing out officially an estimated 76% (Sakala & Corry, 2008) of our babies are born under the influence of epidurals. Some admit that in their hospitals, the numbers are closer to 90%. (Mothering, 2010) Epidurals are comprised of narcotics and ‘caine drugs.
We ignore the nonsensical, the lack of evidence and the disingenuousness in our maternity care system at our own peril. If we do, we make our decisions and base our behavior based on misinformation. If choosing the interventions means choosing the consequences that’s a costly mistake to make. If we aren’t willing to demand accountability those mistakes are repeated, improving nothing. I hope to help those that expect more of themselves and for their children.