This is very important. Each of these practices may be helpful or life-saving in a small number of labors. All of them can be dangerous, when applied to every laboring woman regardless of her condition or the condition of her baby. This is exactly what happens in almost every L&D unit in almost every hospital. And if these standard practices are used and something goes wrong? The doctor or hospital are rarely held responsible. They did “everything they could, which is all the insurance company cares about.
I teach my students to question everything and make sure they understand the answers. I teach them that they have the final say in any treatment, even if they have to sign a form declaring they are going against doctor or hospital policy.
Examples of birth practices that are not supported by evidence include:
- Routine intravenous fluids
- Restricting a woman’s movement during labor
- Prohibiting food or drink during labor
- Routine electronic fetal monitoring
- Artificial breaking of the waters
- Acceleration of labor with Pitocin.