Originally Posted by SympatheticDad
And this is where we can see the fundamental misunderstanding in action.
Mothers do not need intervention ... except when they do.
Babies can be born without problems ... except when they can't.
An OB's primary job is not to respond to emergencies, although they do that too. An OB's primary job is to prevent the emergency from developing in the first place. That's worth saying again: Obstrectic medicine is primarily preventive in nature. The reason OB's engage in so many (so-called) "unnecessary" interventions is because, ideally, they're intervening before an emergency develops. So instead of waiting until your baby has been suffocating for an extended period of time, they respond to changes in fetal monitoring that indicate that a problem may be developing. After the fact, it's easy to look back and say "Well, that was unnecessary, because nothing bad happened," but that's not how one properly uses statistical analysis. You don't claim that wearing your seat belt was unnecessary just because on a given car trip you didn't crash.
I find this line of reasoning preposterous at best and dangerous at worst.
As a parent, my primary job is to keep my children out of harm’s way. Parenting is primarily preventive in nature, so I’ll go ahead and make my children wear helmets at all times (you never know when a head injury could occur), eat only at home (you never know when a disgruntled employee could spit in their food and spread an infectious disease), lock them inside (to shield them from such outdoor dangers as pedophiles and West Nile virus), lock them outside (less chance of dying from household fire or suffering from indoor contaminants), and above all, avoid letting them ride in the car, which poses a 1 in 6500 chance of certain death.
To use a more fitting analogy, I could take the preventive approach of surgically removing both of my breasts and uterus. Such interventions, after all, literally cut out the risk of cancers targeting those areas.
There’s prevention, and then there’s overkill. And even the world's most well-reputed, independent researchers know what constitutes overkill.
As to your fetal monitoring example, ideally doctors and hospitals would ditch the anti-evidence EFM for low-risk women and employ intermittent auscultation. But AT LEAST they could respond to that eyebrow-raising reading with back-up confirmation by auscultation before wheeling a woman in to get her belly sliced open. (Struck through until I can find the source).
Sympathic dad, perhaps you would be *more* sympathetic if you would consider the plight of women forced to lie down to give birth (when other positions may help turn a baby, speed labor, or at very least feel more comfortable), forced to have painful labor augmenting drugs for no medical reason other than “failure to progress,” forced to fast or eat the almighty ice chips when they actually need caloric intake to what could be their most athletic endeavor. You say that you can refuse an intervention. It's not that simple. Unaware of their legal and fundamental rights, most women sign hospital consent forms, while in the throes of labor, that give hospital staff carte blanche to intervene whenever and however they wish. And as a guy, you're never going to know what it's like to be in transition. It's a whole new world in which you can barely utter the one-syllable, four-letter words that are on your mind....let alone argue with a doctor about a pending intervention.
Finally, your argument begs the question; it rests on the underlying assumption that OB's always know what they're doing. That would be nice. If only it were true.
Edited by Turquesa - 9/18/11 at 4:54pm