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    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Jul 15

    Birth Getting More High-Tech with Birth Track

    Archived User

    Move over, EFM!  There's a new show in town

    I tend to overlook the powerful role that the med-tech industry plays in maternity care.  The evidence-based Doppler simply doesn't rack in the dough anymore . . .

    I'm especially amused by how they talk about "incorporating" the gizmo into the fetus' scalp.  It sounds so much better than poking or drilling!

    I'll be interested in what the coming research says about this gadget. 

    I just wanted to share this piece of info with a sympathetic audience!


    Henci Goer

    To paraphrase the movie line, "Research? We don't need no stinkin' research!" Did you also notice that "active participation" for the expectant couple means following the progress of the data print out. Years ago, when I first heard about centralized monitoring systems, I said, sarcastically, "If they could figure out how to measure dilation, women could labor without any human contact from staff." Who knew I was a prophet. 

    -- Henci  

    Archived User
    In a roundabout way, this may be safer if you are giving birth in a hospital. No VE=no infection.
    Henci Goer

    Not in this case because you've had your membranes ruptured, if they weren't already, and you've got internal leads helpfully making a pathway for infection to ascend into the uterus. And, of course, the cesarean surgery when their gizmo indicates that you aren't progressing according to its graph increases the likelihood of infection even with prophylactic antibiotics. I am reminded of a wonderful British home birth midwife I knew years ago, may she rest in peace, who said, "I don't do vaginal exams. They're rude." Somehow the women under her care managed to give birth anyway without them.

    -- Henci

    Archived User
    You may need to pull me down from my naive fog but . . . isn't there some kind of regulatory oversight over all of the hospital gadgets and machines-that-go-ping?  Pharmaceutical interventions legally (at least "on paper") need to be research-based.  Why should this doo-hicky and others like it be any exception? 
    Henci Goer

    Ahh, if that were only the case. This doo-hickey isn't the exception; it is the rule. Four words: continuous electronic fetal monitoring. Ineffective, harmful, and used nearly universally despite reams of evidence establishing those facts. The research that catapulted EFM onto the scene was carried out by doctors who were major shareholders in Corometrics, the company that manufactured the equipment. The company funneled them million-dollar research grants, which was big bucks back in the 1960s. To add insult to injury, they went around the country testifying as expert witnesses in malpractice cases--for which, I might add, they got well paid -- that had EFM been used, the baby would have been born healthy.* I rest my case. As long as there is money to be made, and the drug companies and device companies are sponsoring the research, we will see care practices that are in the best interests of moms and babes about the same time the lion lies down with the lamb.

    -- Henci

    *This will all be in the chapter on EFM in the new edition of Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities.

    All Times America/New_York

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