Yesterday, with nothing to watch on television, my sister-in-law and I browsed Netflix to see if there might be something we'd be interested in watching. We browsed for quite some time before this documentary entitled "Pregnant in America" came up. We were both intrigued, so we decided to watch it. After seeing it, I "felt a blog coming on."
First of all, the documentary really was informative in many ways. And I do think it was worth watching. The makers of it have a website called www.pregnantinamerica.com with a wealth of resources for any woman who is thinking of becoming pregnant, pregnant, or interested in learning more about the American health care system.
I had mixed feelings, however, when watching it. They did not necessarily come from an unbiased point-of-view. In fact, most of what the documentary set out to do was point out all of the flaws in hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc. and highlight the positive points of home births, midwives, and more natural methods of childbirth. They attempted to behave as though they were simply trying to find out information, but I didn't care for their angle. With the exception of about 2, most of the doctors and nurses were portrayed in a very negative light. While, on the other hand, all midwives or anyone not in the medical field were described as "great, wonderful, amazing, etc."
One woman on the documentary actually said something along the lines of, "All doctors want to push medicine such as epidurals and pitocin." This actually really upset me. My doctor is NOT pushing any of that. In fact, she is very open to me doing what I want. She said she had all of her children without an epidural. So, I was very annoyed at that blanket statement. I feel the need to stick up for doctors and nurses when I hear negative comments about them because it's as if they're being portrayed as evil.
I know people who are hard-working nurses doing what they can for mothers and babies. My own doctor is an example of someone who does not push views on me, but lets me make my own decisions. Are there people in the system you can't trust? Yes. For example, I was recently touring the labor and delivery with my sister-in-law and one of the nurses. When the nurse asked if there were any questions, I told her that my doctor had recently told me about a birthing bar. So, I wanted to know where it was since I couldn't see it. She showed me where it was and said I need to make sure I request it when I get there. However, she quickly followed that up with, "But most birthing plans go right out the window when you get here." I didn't see any need for that comment. She only needed to answer about the birthing bar. I'm sure she was just going from her experience, but I also do not want somebody telling me that I am not going to do what I plan. If I change my mind at the time, okay. But don't try to push something else on me.
And this is one of the points the documentary was making clear. Many women are being pushed into decisions for the convenience of the doctor. If the doctor doesn't want to stay long, a cesarian can be pushed. Inductions are taking place for the doctor's schedule when they do not need to happen. I do think that these are important things to be informed about. Simultaneously, I think it's important to take a look at both sides. I recently heard of an experience where a midwife told a woman that preeclampsia was not a big deal. The woman and her child ended up in an emergency situation in the hospital. The man and his wife, who filmed the documentary, had their baby at home and ended up having to go to the hospital because the baby's health was quickly fading. She survived because she was treated.
The thing is that women have the right to make their own decisions and ask questions. If the doctor doesn't want to answer the questions or pushes ideas on the patient, switching doctors is an option. In the documentary, the man's sister had to switch doctors because one was pushing an unnecessary c-section. The second doctor allowed her to deliver without it. Ironically, the first doctor was on vacation the day after she delivered her baby. It's also okay to request another nurse if one nurse is not very supportive. A woman has the right to do what she feels is best for her and her baby.
So, my point is, I personally believe that there is no need to pit one side against another. There are caring people and irresponsible people in both areas. And, in the end, it's a matter of educating yourself and taking the initiative to go with somebody who cares be it a doctor or a midwife.