|Is NCB literature perhaps more balanced than some would|
care to admit?
It was also a refreshing change of the normal pace of that blog, where most people are just as into their "woo" as they think we are. In light of the series I'm doing on pregnancy books, this conversation really piqued my curiosity.
My eyes were widening. What? Are we willing to admit that perhaps the out-of-the-mainstream pregnancy books might be offering more useful information to women? *gasp!*
I really haven't found any good literature on birth outside of the natural childbirth movement. And I've seriously tried. The natural childbirth people have their problems, but they've reflected on the subject far more, and in far more profound ways, than anyone I've ever found who *doesn't* think that an unmedicated birth is the ideal. I've learned some things by reading real medical journals (the popular websites run by places like Mayo and John Hopkins really don't have enough information to be helpful), but even leaving aside questions of trustworthiness, they just aren't responsive to many of the questions people have about birth. There are no arguments, just claims. They're not actually engaging the natural childbirth people at all.
This blog (the anti-natural birth blog) is about the closest thing I've found to a "popular" medium for opposing the ideals of the natural childbirth movement. That's why I come here sometimes, but frankly, it's not impressive. Even from a scientific standpoint, it doesn't treat a lot of the most pressing questions. For example, one of the biggest obstetric controversies of the last 10-15 years is on misoprostol (Cytotec) induction. Put it in the search bar. I found only one very brief reference to the issue. Useless.
The reason most birth-interested people ultimately favor natural birth is because that's the only viewpoint that's seriously represented in the literature. There are no compelling spokespersons for any other point of view.
Here's another interesting, slightly puzzling, take from another commenter:
No actual experts are writing for lay people on childbirth- at least, not outside of the trite, middle school level stuff in baby books. NCB, on the other hand, has a wealth of accessible, appealing information; it ranges from outright incense burning woo to Henci Goer type psuedoscientific research...
I think the imbalance in available reading material is a problem. It doesn't signify much if all the correct info is in scientific journals for experts, when the people pushing out the babies are flooded with NCB dogma before they even get to the OB's office.(Incense burning woo? Seriously?)
In reference to studies, books and hot-button topics like Cytotec inductions, the first commenter adds this:
It's something the natural childbirth people talk about a *lot*. Maybe that's just them being crazy, but if part of your purpose is to answer the claims of that general camp of people, it's definitely something that should be discussed. When people in those communities discuss it constantly, and people on the other side say nothing, it starts to look like a cover-up, whether or not that's the case.You don't say. *sigh*
She does go on to say that often mainstream books and agendas fail to adequately draw on the psychological and social aspects of birth, and I agree. I find that is often the driving force among women who seek a "birth outside the box." And, in a surprising twist, she offers up this tidbit:
Finally, it's not been my experience that natural birth supporters are uneducated losers with no grip on scientific literature.Thank you! Finally! If only the rest of the world could admit this.
And either this person is delusional, lying or lives in an alternate universe, she thinks natural childbirth books "dominate" the discussion:
I agree that the NCB crowd is dominating the discussion. There are tons of books and websites dedicated to NCB beliefs. These sources are easy to access for laypeople and often compile many issues together (so you don't have to hunt down different sources for epidurals and for c-sections, etc.). I agree that if all you can find is NCB literature you are more inclined to think that the NCB viewpoint has a lot of support.I wish that were the case. Although I do think, as someone else pointed out, that it could be based on geographical area. I pointed out that in my searching the stacks to see what was really out there, I surely never came across more than two or three copies of well-known pro-NCB books, and that was total inventory between two major booksellers.
If "we" have a corner on the discussion, I'm surely not seeing it. Perhaps blogs are getting traction and making waves among the birthing community, which is understandable considering the Internet in all its glory is a big medium for information-gathering. But I'm still not seeing it when I walk into my bookstore, nor when I talk to any of my friends or the public-at-large, who really have no idea what true natural childbirth even means.
The first commenter adds this:
I think the thing...is that the very superficial books are sometimes "mainstream", and most of the practice is basically according to the medical model, but if you want to dig a little deeper and think about the issues more it's all NCB, and there aren't many compelling, intelligent *replies* to the NCB arguments. It mostly seems like the medical establishment is just hoping that the majority of people won't investigate NCB enough to care.Ding! Someone hit the nail on the head. Of course, a delusional response was quick to follow:
I don't think the medical establishment really thinks about NCB much at all. They aren't putting out information to counter NCB rhetoric because such rhetoric is barely on their radar. They put out accurate information.If that were the case, we wouldn't need books like Ina May's. Because doctors and hospitals would be giving much more accurate information through their childbirth classes, or promoting it more heavily during the birth process. I wonder, do the people who really think this way actually talk to real live people who have just given birth to find out what their experiences are?
If the natural childbirth movement really is perceived as more informative in its realistic coverage of birth issues, then that's a definite plus, especially if the "other side" is willing to admit it. I hope that means we're doing something right.