Sunday, January 31, 2010
Hospital Births May Finally Get It - You Needn't Starve and Be Thirsty During Labor
The medical community may be reversing itself on a practice that came about after the rise of hospital births but which has long been unnecessary. Women who give birth in hospital are routinely denied food and water when in labor, and only allowed to suck on ice chips. The justification for this policy is that a woman might need to have an emergency c-section (perhaps 1-2% of current births) in which there wouldn't be time for regional anaesthesia, requiring the use of general anaesthesia, and in such cases there can be a rare but potentially fatal complication (which is why you have to fast before you have any surgery). But recent studies are showing no difference in outcome, which may lead to a reversal of this long standing policy that is based on birth and anaesthesia procedures dating back nearly 70 years. Some hospitals are (gasp) now permitting clear fluids for women in labor. The midwife/home birth community has long known that this restriction is ridiculous, and unnecessarily adds to a woman's discomfort and stress. Maybe in another year or so the world of hospital births will catch up and allow women to eat, and drink, or not, as they desire, during labor.