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Ms Pregnant

June 14, 2013
Ms Pregnant

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been having some fun with some pregnant ‘characters’.

Ms Average, Ms Standard, Ms Evidence-Based and Ms Cavewoman have all given birth in their own ways.

But what can we learn from their stories?  Let’s compare and contrast…

Birth choices

Our Ms Pregnant characters all had similar characteristics.  They were all ‘low-risk’, having their second baby, and receiving their care in the UK.

Ms Average was an example of the most popular birth choices.

Ms Standard had the default care offered on the NHS.

Ms Evidence-Based made choices based on academic research.

Ms Cavewoman did what came naturally with no other backup or information.

They were all fictional …and some of the details of their lives were more made up than others (read: sometimes I filled in the blanks or made creative connections to tell a story.  So these articles are in the ‘just for fun’ category.  Hold off on awarding me that Doctorate…).

Place of birth

Ms Average and Ms Standard gave birth in a hospital.  Ms Evidence-Based and Ms Cavewomen gave birth at home (or at cave).

Attendants

Everyone except Ms Cavewoman had a Midwife with them.  Ms Evidence-Based had a Doula, and Ms Cavewoman had a friend who acted like a Doula.  All the characters also had their husbands with them (although Ms Cavewoman’s was outside).

Pain Relief

Ms Average used ‘Gas and air’ and breathing exercises.

Ms Standard used ‘Gas and air’ and water when she fancied it.

Ms Evidence-Based used water.

Ms Cavewoman didn’t feel the need to relieve any pain.

Birth position

Ms Average gave birth on her back.

Ms Standard and Ms Evidence-Based found a position which was comfortable (but not lying down).

Ms Cavewoman squatted.

Placenta/’Third Stage’

Ms Standard had an injection in her thigh and the baby’s cord was clamped very quickly after birth.

Ms Evidence-Based and Ms Cavewoman gave birth to the placenta naturally.

Breastfeeding

Ms Average started to breastfeed but switched to formula by the time her baby was six weeks old.

Ms Standard was encouraged to breastfeed.

Ms Evidence-Based and Ms Cavewoman breastfed.

General conclusions (or rash assumptions)

My overall interpretation from all of these characters is that many women in the UK are not having an evidence-based birth.

And the birth which is evidence-based is nearer the experience of Ms Cavewoman’s than Ms Standard (Ms Standard represents care which follows the NICE Guidelines).

It’s also interesting that whilst Ms Average gives birth in hospital, she’s not necessarily getting the care recommended to Ms Standard.

For example, if Ms Standard is encouraged to give birth in a position which is not lying down (and this is also what happens for Ms Evidence-Based and Ms Cavewoman), why are most women in the UK giving birth on their backs and in bed?

And if the evidence shows that cutting and clamping the baby’s cord immediately after birth is not as beneficial as waiting until later, why do the NICE guidelines still recommend that it is done straight away?

And why do most low-risk second time mothers not give birth at home, even though the latest study shows that it has the best outcomes for mother and baby?

Answers on a postcard.  Or better, a comment on the blog!

References and further geekery:

Ms Average

Ms Standard

Ms Evidence-Based

Ms Cavewoman

Birthplace Study

Standard disclaimery type thing: none of this is medical advice.  Please consult your own medical team/intuition when making decisions on your pregnancy care.  Information is as best as I understand it but I could have got entirely the wrong end of the stick.  You know all the rest…

What one thing has surprised you most from the Ms Pregnant series?  Please list it in the comments below, and explain what changes (if any) you’d like to see to the care offered instead.

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From → Birth, Ms Pregnant

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