Posts tagged intervention

“Pit to Distress”: A Disturbing Reality (via Nursing Birth)

I wanted to share this blog that I came across today. It’s written by a L&D nurse and this particular post deals with the practice of using “pit to distress” in maternity wards.

What really mortifies me the most about this is that the babies’ well-being is on the line, as well as the mothers’. Using Pitocin to induce fetal distress (whether or not the intent is to induce a c-section or whether the doctor is just in a hurry) completely goes against every ethical standard a doctor should stand for. It’s quite disturbing.

Dear NursingBirth,   I just saw a couple of posts about “pit to distress” on Unnecessarean and Keyboard Revolutionary’s blogs. Can you comment on that as an L&D nurse?! Is the intent really to distress the baby in order to “induce” a c-section?  I’m distressed that such things may actually happen, and am holding out a little hope that it’s a misunderstanding in terms….   Thanks!!! Alev  

Dear Alev,

I wish I could put your heart and mind at ease and tell you, from experience, that this type of outrageous activity (i.e. “pit to distress”) does not happen in our country’s maternity wards but unfortunately it does. I know that it does because:

1) I have read and heard stories from other labor and delivery nurses who have worked with birth attendants who practice “pit to distress,”

2) I have read and heard stories from women (and their doulas!) who have personally experienced the consequences of “pit to distress,”

and, most importantly…

3) I personally have worked with attending obstetricians who subscribe to this philosophy.

Before I start my discussion on this topic I would like to quote a blog post I wrote back in April entitled “Don’t Let This Happen To You #25 PART 2 of 2: Sarah & John’s Unnecessary Induction”. This post is actually the first post I ever wrote for my Injustice in Maternity Care Series. It is a TRUE story (although all identifying information has been changed to adhere to HIPPA regulations) about a first time mom who was scheduled for a completely unnecessary labor induction and the following excerpt is a good example of how “pit to distress” is ordered by physicians, EVEN IF they don’t actually write it out as an order (although some actually do!)


“…At 1:30pm, right on schedule, Dr. F came into the room. After some quick small talk he asked Sarah to get into the bed so that he could perform a vaginal exam and break her water.

Sarah: “Umm, I was hoping we could wait a little bit longer to do that, until I am in more active labor.”

Dr. F: “Well, if I break your water it is really going to rev things up and put you into active labor.”

Sarah: “I’d really rather wait.”

Dr. F: (visibly frustrated) “Well I at least have to check you!”

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via Nursing Birth


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Future Posts

I was talking to my dad the other day and he mentioned that I had a passion for homebirth, which got me to thinking. Yes, I had a homebirth and yes, it was a wonderful experience – I hope that every woman can experience in their own way what I did. But it’s not homebirth in and of itself that I’m so passionate about. I’m passionate about the way women and babies are treated, no matter where they are – home, hospital, birthing center. I want birth to be a good experience, the experience it should be, for every mother and baby. Nature works. Our bodies and the birthing process are set up a certain way for a reason and I don’t think we can fully comprehend how important each step of the process really is. Although, we do understand why some things are important and why others harm more than help when they aren’t really necessary.

I feel like it’s all been written about before, but there are some specific interventions and procedures that I would like to talk about in more detail in future posts.

Pitocin use
Internal exams
Manual extraction of the placenta
Misuse of suprapubic pressure
Lying on back vs. changing positions
Purple pushing
IV & no food/drink
Electric Fetal Monitoring (EFM)
Cutting cord immediately
Taking baby away from mother vs. skin-to-skin contact

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Yes, I’m The Brave One

One thing that really annoys me is when someone tells me that I was so brave to have my baby at home. Why, yes, I’m brave…I avoided needles, scalpels, drugs and strange places. Actually, I would have been terrified and so scared in a hospital that my body would probably have sucked that baby up in my throat trying to keep it in my body. So, yes, if that was me being brave, then I’m braver than Superman. I usually respond with a remark about how I think anyone who births their baby in a hospital is brave, not me.

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Infant Formula Marketing Survey

Want to tell someone how you feel about formula? Or about the information (or lack of information) you were given about using formula? Take this survey!

Here is a survey (I found the link on Enjoy Birth) that The Center for Science in the Public Interest is conducting to learn more about your experience with infant formula marketing. Please take this survey if you have had a baby or adopted an infant in the last four years. Formula Survey

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A Few Thoughts About Birth in the US

It amazes me how little people (especially women) really know about childbirth. I say people, because my husband has learned just as much as I have…we were both really clueless. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be amazed or surprised. Just a few short months ago, I was among those people. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I toyed with the idea of just having a C-section so I didn’t have to go through all the awful “tortures” of giving birth (I considered birth to be torturous in my own mind because of all the things a woman typically has to go through – needles, monitors, drugs, espisotomies, lack of respect). I just didn’t realize there was another way.
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Oops…Did That Make Me Sound Biased?

I think (okay, I KNOW) I sometimes come across to my friends and people I talk to as being anti-hospital, anti-intervention and anti-OB (and I’m working on that, really!). And sometimes I really feel that way. Then I have to remind myself that sometimes interventions CAN be helpful. And that not all OBs are Read the rest of this entry »

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