Monday, March 28, 2011

Familiar environment, less birth stress

Latest research from University of Technology, Sydney indicates a connection between the design of rooms where mothers give birth, their stress levels and the potential risk of such stress to newborns. In fact, those UTS researchers have received almost $250 million in Australian Research Council funds to explore how the features of a birthplace including design, objects, materials and colours could influence the outcome of a woman's labour.

Dohhhh, does anybody stop to review and ponder what has gone before? For 30 years I’ve been seeing studies showing that the place in which a woman feels most comfortable is the place where she is most likely to labour efficiently and effectively! Michel Odent and others have written extensively about the adverse effects of adrenaline (potential result of a move to hospital, admission and examination procedures and strange environment and attendants) on the efficiency of a woman’s contractions. Adrenaline directly counteracts the effects of oxytocin which makes the uterus contract, so my question is...  

Why oh why do we need another study? Surely to goodness the money would be better spent providing these wonderful environments - surely we need birth centres not more studies! Anyway, intuition or good old common sense should probably tell you the same thing - if you ever stopped to think about it! But here we go again, trying to prove the benefits of a natural, non-interventionist approach when the non-natural, interventionist approach gets put forward as the gold-standard that must be bettered! Flea wagging the dog I reckon! Anyway if you want a really sympathetic birthing environment, try your home turf - can’t be beaten!

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