Thursday, July 10, 2014

Antenatal Class 2

This past Saturday we had our second class. It was a terribly cold and rainy day as far as the weather was concerned. The snow on the mountains made for lovely scenery but the wind was chilly. Luckily the class was nice and cozy and we had some premium coffee and yummy scones to warm us up.

The topic of the lesson was The Birth. They explained the stages of labour and also the different birth options. We are lucky that we know exactly what we want and also that our plans seems to be in order. I do realise that sometimes things do not go as expected, but at least we are prepared for any surprises as well. The couple in class with us on the other hand are very confused. They are much younger than us and seeing them struggling with this actually makes me glad that we are more mature and in a better position to make informative decisions. They live on a farm and have quite a drive to the hospital. They do not like or trust their gynecologist, but he is the nearest one to them and they also don't want to change doctors in fear of offending him.. He insists on her having a c-section as it will be very inconvenient for them to have to rush from the farm to the hospital when she goes in to labour - I think very inconvenient for him to be waken up in the middle of the night maybe? 

It is a sad fact that South Africa has one of the highest c-section rates in the world at 76% of all deliveries performed via c-section. I believe that this has its place as an emergency procedure or where natural birth is not possible. Unfortunately we are bombarded with media and doctors trying to convince us that this is the "safer" option. 

So I was extremely disappointed by the videos shown to us portraying the different kinds of births. The videos came as a package and was sponsored by a well known diaper company. The natural birth shown a black lady, all alone giving birth in a state hospital. By the looks of the room not one of the "better" ones (also a sad fact that our state hospitals are in a terrible state).. The delivery itself was ok to look at but one could not help but notice the shabby bedding, stained walls and run-down look of the room and obviously the fact that she had no support but for the nurse attending to the delivery. 
The c-section on the other hand was filmed at a private up-market hospital in Sandton. It was a white couple having their second baby and they were all happy and smiley, the husband being very supportive and being at his wife's side during the whole procedure, the team of doctors very professional and the theater spotless with all the high quality machinery. 

Why they could not show a woman having a natural birth in a private hospital, being supported by her husband goes beyond me. No wonder our South African woman are afraid to go for this option, if this is the kind of educational material distributed by trusted companies. 

Although the 2 nurses running our baby clinic are encouraging natural birth, I am almost convinced that the other couple will now definitely opt for the c-section. Sad, I believe that woman should be proud of their bodies and should be comfortable in making a decision to opt for a natural birth, without having fear drive them to make other choices. 


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