|It is my understanding that most women who've had prior births report less pain in subsequent births, regardless of where they happen and who is with them.
I'm talking about women who have had a few at home and a few in the hospital. They say all of the hospital births were more painful than all of the home births. This includes the hospital births that were medicated - medication does not "take" for some people.
About the diet, that advice is outdated (or should be) but some doctors today still follow it. They may "allow" 25 lbs instead of the previous 12, but they don't seem to realize that what's most important is not the amount of weight gained, but the quality of food eaten. I read of a mother on these boards who gained 90 lbs on the highest quality of food and the weight was all gone a week after the birth. "Eat for two" is common sense, yet many OBs prescribe diets that are not enough for one. Some still recommend fasting and diuretiucs, though thankfully (I think) they no longer prescribe amphetamines.
Even fat people need to gain a certain amount of weight. Most likely, if a woman eats high-quality food whenever she is hungry and does not deny herself any food for fear of gaining weight, she will gain the right amount of weight for her. I gained a very small amount of weight last time; this time I'm only halfway there and have already gained more than what I did last time. I know I'm doing it right this time, just as I was last time. Though I know several doctors who would disagree.
Obstetricians are trained as surgeons, and to handle high-risk pregnancy and birth. Most of them have never seen a normal birth, which makes them just as uneducated about birth as any lay person. If I were to have a high risk delivery, I'd want someone who specialized in that. If I had no risk factors, I'd want someone who specialized in normal birth.
There are very few things a MOTHER can do that are wrong and that will complicate her labor. Most of these things are listening to the doctor - believing him when he tells you walking in labor is harmful, that it's best if you don't eat or drink, that you need to be induced after x weeks or x hours in labor, etc. But what can a mother do wrong other than listen to the doctor? I think that's why people say it's the doctor's fault; he's the one giving the bad advice.
I hear a lot of stories about how everything was done right, and yet a c-section or other intervention was still needed. But in these stories, there is also mention of induction, medication, lithotomy position, vaginal exams, IVs, continuous fetal monitors...so how can someone say the baby couldn't have been affected by these interventions? People tell me "natural childbirth" doesn't work since it didn't work for them. I guess we all have different ideas of what natural childbirth is. For me, it doesn't include routine medical interventions. If no interventions or restrictions are used at my homebirth and the baby still goes into distress, I can go to the hospital knowing it's the right thing to do and that it was probably one of those rare cases that couldn't be prevented. I'm glad I have both choices, home and hospital, available to me.
It's common sense that one intervention leads to another. How many women come out of the hospital with only one intervention done to them? (I guess they would have to define what an intervention is for themselves.) Drugs lead to pitocin, monitors restrict movement (I am NOT impressed with the units that are supposedly portable, nor do I think it's OK to restrict movement "just for the strip"), IV solutions are no substitute for real food; you still have a good chance of becoming exhausted and requesting assisted delivery. Forceps and vacuums sometimes require an episiotomy, vaginal exams encourage reliance on arbitrary numbers and a diagnosis of FTP...the best way to avoid a cascade of interventions is to avoid the first one, which is more likely to happen at home.
I had 7 interventions in the hospital, which were all interrelated. I believe if I had been at home I wouldn't have needed any. I guess I'll see how I do next time around.