AIMS has been at the forefront of the childbirth movement for more than forty years.
* Working towards normal birth
* Providing independent support and information about maternity choices
* Raising awareness of current research on childbirth and related issues
Although AIMS is based in the UK, many of the challenges in maternity services are the same in Australia, and globally.
excerpts from AIMS Informed Consent
An analysis of enquiries to the AIMS Helpline reveals that almost without exception women who intend to birth at home are given a long list of the ‘risks’ the staff perceive them to be taking. We have yet to hear from any woman who was also given a list of the risks of a hospital birth, so we have produced our own and suggest that this should be handed out to all women who intend delivering in hospital.
INFORMED CONSENT FOR GIVING BIRTH IN HOSPITAL
This Trust supports the view that women have choice and in order properly to exercise that choice they need to be fully informed of the risks in association with childbirth.
The following are the risks of a hospital delivery:
This hospital operates a shift system which means it is unlikely that you will be attended by the same midwife throughout your labour.
Because [the hospital is] short of staff you are unlikely to have the continuous support of a midwife as she will probably be trying to attend to at least two other women.
As this hospital has a 25% [to 30%] caesarean operation rate this means that you have at least a 1 in 4 chance of having a caesarean. Please be aware that this is major abdominal surgery that:
- doubles the risks of maternal mortality,
- increases the risk of damage to other internal organs and blood vessels,
- carries a risk of infection, which may prolong a hospital stay,
- interferes with the establishment of breastfeeding and
- delays post operative recovery.
Research has also shown that this type of surgery:
- produces harmful side effects according to which anaesthetic is used,
- lowers fertility rates in women,
- may increase the incidents of post natal depression,
- adversely affects the baby because of the anaesthetic used,
- can accidentally cut the baby as the incision is made,
- produces babies who are less likely to breastfeed,
- results in babies with breathing difficulties because they haven't received the benefits of being squeezed through the vaginal canal,
- increases the risk of miscarriage in future pregnancies,
- produces a greater risk of childhood asthma and
- results in a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
As the World Health Organisation has stated that there is no improvement to maternal or infant health when the caesarean operation rates exceeds 10% you should
understand that we are tr ying to reduce our caesarean rate.
You should understand that in this hospital, which is a high technology obstetric unit, only 1 in 6 women expecting their first baby and only 1 in 3 women expecting their subsequent babies will have a normal, straightforward, birth.
This hospital applies a time limit on the second stage of labour, this is not applied for your benefit it is imposed in order to ensure that you deliver as quickly as possible so that we can use your bed for another woman.
At this hospital the midwives will cut the cord as soon as the baby is delivered, this has adverse effects on the baby, but you need not worry we have resuscitation equipment at hand to help the baby breathe.
At this hospital the majority of women will give birth on their backs, despite the research indicating how this position increases the difficulty in pushing the baby out and causes trauma to both mother and baby.
This hospital prefers women to be quiet when they are in labour ... Therefore, in order to maintain a more subdued atmosphere, you will regularly be offered a range of opiate-based drugs ... Please be aware that this can lead to an increased chance of your child becoming a drug addict in later life and if administered at the wrong time during labour, will result in your baby being born in a dangerously stupefied state.
Do not worry, as the medical staff will inject the baby with an antidote as soon as it is born.
Source: AIMS JOURNAL VOL:19 NO:4 2007