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Natural childbirth is cruel???

Posted by Sandra on November 18, 2008

So I was nursing Ayla to sleep last night in my bed and was watching a show on ID about an obstetrician who had his license revoked because of patient complaints against him.

I don’t know enough of the story to say whether or not he should’ve stopped practicing medicine.  Whether or not he was negligent isn’t something I will judge.  He was judged, and I’m not sure I agree.  It’s a he-said, she-said for a couple of things, and to me only a handful of complaints over 25 years is pretty amazing – I mean, whether a “botched” childbirth was his fault or not, a mother who loses a child will want to blame someone, and that’s why doctors have malpractice insurance.  I don’t want to diminish the loss of the few people that suffered one at his hands, but doctors are not gods and shouldn’t be considered perfect.  Nature does hold a hand in some birth deaths, there are things doctors can’t prevent.  But I digress.

My understanding is that he practiced for 25 years, had the lowest C-Section rate of any physician in the hospital he practiced in (6% – that’s PHENOMENAL!!), had lower infant mortality, less complications, and *gasp* advocated natural childbirth.  Imagine that, a doctor advocating low intervention.

The exclamation isn’t mine – it seemed like every nurse and doctor at this hearing really found that idea to be awful.  How dare he let the mother control her labor.  He’s a bully, they said.  He demanded his patients be cared for to his standards.  His patients didn’t want interventions, he didn’t want the nurses to push needles in the spine.

In the words of one doctor, “it’s cruel” (to the mother not to give her an epidural). 

I almost jumped out of bed on that one.  WHAT?????  Cruel – not to give her a drug that is used in warfare.  Not to give her a drug that is NOT safe for mother and child, has proven complications, can make labor longer, leads to more interventions, and leads to major surgery (unnecessary c-sections) that causes mortality rates to rocket soooo much higher than natural vaginal deliveries.  This is a drug that shouldn’t be the “norm”, it should be the exception to the rule.  Period.  Not to mention the recovery time afterwards… natural childbirth about an hour, c-section about five days. 

These women chose this doctor because of his beliefs.  They made an educated decision.  They knew that if their doctor didn’t advocate for them when they most needed him, they would cave to the list of unnecessary interventions, done for the convenience of the medical staff, not the mom.


What has our Western Culture come to when natural childbirth is considered evil.  Bad.  Cruel.  I’m mortified. 

It seemed the nurses didn’t care for this Dr. Morgan either, because he didn’t want his patients having all the interventions.  Maybe because then they (the nurses) couldn’t control the situation?  They didn’t have a woman captive in a bed, strapped to monitors and IVs, so they could determine what was best for her?  I mean, God forbid she want to walk, or eat, or labor for hours… we must have the situation under control.  Har har har.  We are the nurses, we are the experts, mom doesn’t know what she needs or wants, it’s not possible.  Daggone it.

Here’s some quotes which are factual and wonderful, but his “peers” find apalling:

On prescribing pain medication to women in labor: “I need to know more than just the patient is being uncomfortable again.”

On computers predicting birth weight, a factor in delivery risk: “There’s no way to anticipate what the size of the baby is going to be.”

On internal electronic fetal monitoring: “I consider sticking a screw into the baby’s head as an invasion of their primary defense for infection, and I try not to do it.”

He added: “I feel like I don’t have to do it.”


Sigh.  Now before I get 100 emails about how awful this doctor was, I’m not debating his guilt or innocence.  I’m wondering why his philosophies are so CRUEL.  They’re not.  They’re beautiful, normal, NATURAL.  There is no cruelty here.


3 Responses to “Natural childbirth is cruel???”

  1. Rixa said

    This doctor sounds fantastic–too bad he was punished for advocating low-intervention births. Is there any other information about this story & doctor that I could read up on? And what is ID btw?

  2. Sandra said

    Rixa, I’m emailing you!

  3. sarah said

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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