Thursday, 18 March 2010

Intrusive medicalisation of childbirth

A continuing Hungarian tradition

George McDowell alerts me to the following –

Be sure to tread the comments too:

He just thought that this might interest me.

Thanks George, it does. It might interest others too.


  1. This lady used to appear a lot in the news in Hungary. I agree that she has a point and that she should not be witch-hunted. It is true that current practices regarding childbirth in Hungarian hospitals are outdated and certain medical interventions are used whether they're needed or no.
    However, I don't think it's wise to promote home birth in Hungary, with our lack of high-quality midwifery, remote villages and bad roads.
    "Normal birth is not a medical problem, but it can turn into a life-threatening medical problem with no advance warning". "A woman can hemorrhage and bleed out in a matter of minutes." The risk is, of course, small, but it is even smaller in a hospital. While home births can be made quite safe, it's the techniques of modern medicine that make it safe, high quality midwives, modern, safe drugs and equipment, hygiene, oxygen on site, and so on. If it's done the 'middle ages' way, we can expect 'middle ages' mortality rates (every 5th birth resulted in death of child or mom). Who in their right mind wants to die of childbirth or wants their baby die just because it's "natural"? Childbirth is indeed a natural process, as the article states, but dying of birth or giving birth are also natural. It's nature's way of getting rid of the weak and imperfect. Nature is cruel. The (otherwise indefinable) label "natural" does not equal "desirable". Appeal to nature (as in the article) is a logical fallacy.
    Modern medicine has drastically reduced mortality rates for newborns and their mothers, so I believe we want to keep it that way, but we would certainly like to improve on hospital standards. The solution is not to climb back onto the tree, but to improve on what we have achieved already. "There is... no reason midwives could not deliver most babies within the hospital in a patient-friendly homelike environment with expert emergency backup right next door. That would be the best of both worlds."


  2. Obstetrics and gynaecology are not really my end of the trade, but my daughter is a midwife at University College Hospital in London so I know what is possible outside of hospital and the benefits of high-class hospital back-up when it is needed (rarely).

    Good luck to every one in sorting it out this matter in a civilised manner for the benefit of mothers and babies, be this in the quainter parts of Central/Eastern Europe or in the US of A.

    Facinating to see the community of entrenched medical self-interest in two such different contexts, which illustrates yet again how professional culture and its economic base can transcend national boundaries.

    My primary concern in writing this posting was to paint in a tiny little of the social background out of which so much of of Conductive Education springs. Perhaps I should do this more often.