So…Dr Gannon (head of the Australian Medical Association or AMA) has been sparking some interesting conversation in my VBAC group with his latest media appearance imploring women to start 'kicking doors down' and demanding early inductions without a medical indication.
There is so much hypocrisy in this article that I just had to pass comment on it. Especially since it is quite upsetting for many women, for a number of reasons.
Not the least of which is the way Dr Gannon, oh so subtly, blames women for stillbirths. Because obviously if we don’t allow an early induction, regardless of whether there is an indication for it, we are to blame if our baby dies. For any reason.
I do wonder who he plans to blame for those babies that die DURING early inductions? Or that experience hypoxia as a result of the syntocinon? Or uterine rupture as a result of hyperstimulation after application of prostaglandin gels? Or catastrophic cord prolapse as a result of AROM? What about the increase in the rate of post partum haemorrhage caused by synto?
Are we going to see the care providers blamed for these? Or will women simply be told either "you should just be grateful that your baby is alive" or "it was just one of those things".
Neither of these is acceptable to me.
"No one knows their baby better than a pregnant woman." Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Then we move on to this quote:
“No one knows their baby better than a pregnant woman. As an obstetrician, I can tell you that I always take the 'gut feelings' or 'hunches' of pregnant women very seriously, and never ignore their fears. Women often know what our extremely limited monitoring techniques cannot tell us.”
I’m really pleased to hear that Dr Gannon will support me to wait past 42 weeks because my “gut feelings” tell me all is fine. Oh…that’s not what he meant? How about if I were choosing a homebirth because I had a “hunch” that was the safest place for my baby to be born? Yes – women do often know what the monitoring cannot tell you. Yet that monitoring is still being used to bully women into surgery that their instincts tell them is unnecessary. I smell a rat.
"Women often know what our extremely limited monitoring techniques cannot tell us." Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Then: “Every baby is precious, and every pregnant woman should be afforded access to the most effective form of antenatal care, and close scrutiny in labour and delivery.”
Like one to one care with a known midwife throughout pregnancy, birth and post partum? Like homebirth with a trusted midwife? Like a midwife who is with woman rather than with CTG machine?
Yet last week Dr Gannon was suggesting that women who are experiencing reduced fetal movements should have a cold glass of water and wait 60 – 90 minutes before going to hospital for monitoring because:
"What we don't want to see is armies of women whose babies are perfectly healthy presenting to hospitals unduly.”
Unless we were going to birth that perfectly healthy baby at home. Then we totally want you to present to hospital regardless of whether you think it necessary or not.
So are we hysterical if we present to hospital with a healthy baby? Or just thinking of our baby’s safety?
Are we selfish if we stay home when we have no concerns? Or just following our gut?
Or is it really not about what choices we are making and simply about the fact that we ARE making choices. Independent, autonomous choices. Without asking for your opinion.
Is it about the fact that there are women out there, “armies of women”, who are basing their decisions on their own intimate knowledge of their bodies and babies rather than basing their decisions on your opinion?
Is it just about power? And the fact that you are losing your grip on it. Women are no longer deferring to you to tell us what to do.
We know. We are.
The birthing power is ours. It always was. It always will be.