I've heard pregnant women do some pretty crazy things over the years to get a breech baby to flip around in their bellies, all to avoid the dreaded C-section. Ahem, burning mugwort, anyone? But ladies, it seems all that craziness may have been completely unnecessary.
Are you sitting down? Because after years of bullying mamas into believing that we must, we must, we must let them bust open our bellies if baby is butt down, the OB/GYNs are saying "oops, my bad, we may have over-reacted a tad bit." Guidelines released by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada say vaginal delivery of a baby that's descending feet- or butt-first (rather than head-first) is actually ... safe.
Sitting here today, I can't help wondering what the women who did it for centuries before the ol' hacksaw across the belly trick came along would say to these guidelines? "Well, DUH, we could have told you that in 1815? 1705? 1653?"
The fact is, the evidence was there in the form of centuries of babies, and yet women have been forced into C-sections by scalpel-happy, malpractice-shy doctors for decades. Our own feelings, common sense, and historical evidence haven't played into the decisions at all. But I look at the crazy things women do (I say crazy in the sense of how far women go, not crazy in the judgmental sense) to "flip" their breech babies, and I see women who are resolute in their mission to avoid a C-section.
We're crying out in our actions for our caregivers to listen to us, to hear that we don't want unnecessary C-sections, and that everything should be done to avoid them. And yet I know women who were told by their OB/GYNs that they were scheduling a C-section for a breech baby a full month before their due date, despite evidence that most babies will flip in the meantime (only 5 percent are actually born breech). Caregivers are too pushy. Mothers don't always have the power to push back. We're tied by insurance companies. By state regulations over homebirths in some states. By a system that needs changing.
But if American pregnant women are willing to burn mugwort to flip their babies to avoid a C-section, I'm willing to bet they'll fight to bring these Canadian guidelines to America. Is this a victory we can bring to America? Did you deliver a breech baby? How?
Image via isafmedia/Flickr