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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 Goersitemail@aol.com.

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    Oct 25
    2008

    What do they mean by "orgasmic"?

    Archived User

    I am puzzled by the recent claims of birth being "orgasmic". Considering that "orgasm" implies stricture of the lower pelvis, isn't that the worst thing that could happen during birth?

     

    Henci Goer

    I believe you are talking about the documentary Orgasmic Birth. Female orgasm involves the same hormones as are produced during labor and involves muscular contractions of the uterus as well. Under the right circumstances, some women experience orgasm during the final stages of the birth. I'm not sure what you mean by "stricture of the lower pelvis," but there is no impediment to the birth from having this happen. If you want to find out more or locate a film showing you can go to the Orgasmic Birth website.

    -- Henci

    Archived User

    So what makes it different from any other birth? If it's only sound and thought, why is it called an orgasm?

    I've already looked at the website, and it sounds like they're saying the circumstance is to stubbornly avoid all medical assistance. Why would this be recommended?

    What good would it do to see the film? For all we know, it could be a hoax.

    Archived User

    It's not a hoax. I had an orgasm with my first birth. Quite the experience. My first words as my son came out were: "Wow, can I do this again?"

    I don't think that being in a medical environment would necessarily prevent an orgasm, but I think it would depend on how in your face and interventive the nurses and doctors are. A sense of safety, being relaxed and enjoying the labor would be more necessary ingredients.

    maria.

    Henci Goer
    Posted By n/a on 11/06/2008 3:14 PM

    So what makes it different from any other birth? If it's only sound and thought, why is it called an orgasm?

    I've already looked at the website, and it sounds like they're saying the circumstance is to stubbornly avoid all medical assistance. Why would this be recommended?

    What good would it do to see the film? For all we know, it could be a hoax.


    The filmmakers are not saying to avoid all medical intervention under any circumstances. They are using an attention getter to make the point that conventional obstetric management goes against everything we know about what best promotes healthy, satisfying births.

    -- Henci

    Archived User

    That hinges on how you define "conventional". There are many factors at work in the obstetric environment, and the money-driven negatives get a lot of publicity.

    That doesn't change the fact that obstetrics is based on scientific facts. If doctors had no money to gain or lose, hospital birth would be much safer than home birth.

    The discussion of how to break the link between obstetrics and money is very difficult and not at all fun, but that's the heart of the issue.

    Henci Goer

    Actually, obstetrics isn't based on scientific facts. Obstetrics as a specialty predated by decades the idea that medical practice should be based on research evidence, and when the research was done, it consistently has shown virtually all elements of typical obstetric management to be unsafe, ineffective, and usually both. Archie Cochrane, for whom the Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews is named, awarded the specialty the Wooden Spoon for being the least scientific of all the medical disciplines.

    As for the superior safety of hospital birth, from the 1920s, the time period when birth began moving into the hospital and under the supervision of obstetricians, right up to the present day, studies have shown and continue to show hospital birth to be the less safe option when similar groups of women are compared. It could not be otherwise so long as hospitals operate (pun intended) on principles of obstetric management rather than those of physiologic care. Obstetrics is founded on the belief that the routine or frequent use of tests, procedures, drugs, and restrictions will improve outcomes by averting the supposed dangers inherently common to childbirth. But obstetric interventions all have potential harms as well as benefits. If you subject women to them who either don't have a problem or who have a problem that could be solved by lesser means, then you expose women and their babies to the risks with no counterbalancing benefits. The vast majority of women fall into these two categories.

    Money and other nonmedical factors such as convenience, fear of litigation, hanging on to prestige and power explain why obstetric practices and policies have not changed to conform with what the evidence finds to be safe, effective, satisfying care and why the obstetric profession as a whole continues to fight reform tooth and nail.

    -- Henci

    Archived User

    Well said Henci!  I think it also goes to say that in many other developed countries around the world, obstetricians would feel very annoyed to handle low risk pregnancies and births.  Midwives are the norm for much of the world, and midwifery as a whole does not lean on interventions, testing, and other common practices in America that add risk, rather than remove it. Here in America, we got ourselves caught up into the whole, "Keeping up with the Jones's" movement where we had to have the shiniest and biggest everything.  In this case, we wanted the "top level of care".  This is going to seem a little silly, but its kind of like using a missile for deer hunting.  Sure, you might get the deer, but you'll cause a lot of other problems, too.  It is recommended by the World Health Organization that you seek the appropriate level of care to your risk level, because seeking a higher level of care will add, not reduce, risk. 

    Archived User

    It is important to distinguish between positive and normative claims. Science does not make normative claims. The scientific facts I was referring to are things like the structure of the human body, the stages of labor, and the effects of drugs. Science says only what they are, not whether they are good or bad.

    When I say that obstetrics is based on scientific facts, that doesn't imply that I'm praising it. Obstetrics does not reason properly from the facts to the normative policies. The things it does wrong are doubly wrong because it has the knowledge that could have avoided them.

    Replacing knowledge with guesswork helps nobody. A fact cannot be disproven by improper use; it can only be imprisoned. We must liberate the medical facts from the chains of the bad practices they have become associated with.

    When there are Direct Entry Midwives, with little or no knowledge of what matters in attending to a birth, appealing for a license as if they do, that is not improving anything. This is not a war between two professions. This is a war of reason against money. And if we don't stand up for reason, nobody will.

    Henci Goer
    Posted By n/a on 11/10/2008 7:18 AM

    Well said Henci!  I think it also goes to say that in many other developed countries around the world, obstetricians would feel very annoyed to handle low risk pregnancies and births.  Midwives are the norm for much of the world, and midwifery as a whole does not lean on interventions, testing, and other common practices in America that add risk, rather than remove it. Here in America, we got ourselves caught up into the whole, "Keeping up with the Jones's" movement where we had to have the shiniest and biggest everything.  In this case, we wanted the "top level of care".  This is going to seem a little silly, but its kind of like using a missile for deer hunting.  Sure, you might get the deer, but you'll cause a lot of other problems, too.  It is recommended by the World Health Organization that you seek the appropriate level of care to your risk level, because seeking a higher level of care will add, not reduce, risk. 



    I love your "missle for deer hunting" analogy! Anyone interested in a brilliant lecture by Gene Declercq, professor of maternal-child health at Boston University's School of Public Health, that includes a discussion of the relationship between cesarean rate and outcomes can listen to "Birth by the Numbers."  It's rather like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: too high a cesarean rate, the situation in some resource poor countries, is as harmful as one that is too low. There is such a thing as a cesarean rate that is "just right.," and it is, as the WHO recommends, in the low teens. He also does a magnificent job of dismantling the myth that the medical model approach produces better outcomes for mothers and babies and that the reasons for the escalating cesarean rate reside in women rather than the system.

    -- Henci

    Henci Goer
    Posted By n/a on 11/10/2008 10:52 AM

    It is important to distinguish between positive and normative claims. Science does not make normative claims. The scientific facts I was referring to are things like the structure of the human body, the stages of labor, and the effects of drugs. Science says only what they are, not whether they are good or bad.

    When I say that obstetrics is based on scientific facts, that doesn't imply that I'm praising it. Obstetrics does not reason properly from the facts to the normative policies. The things it does wrong are doubly wrong because it has the knowledge that could have avoided them.

    Replacing knowledge with guesswork helps nobody. A fact cannot be disproven by improper use; it can only be imprisoned. We must liberate the medical facts from the chains of the bad practices they have become associated with.

    When there are Direct Entry Midwives, with little or no knowledge of what matters in attending to a birth, appealing for a license as if they do, that is not improving anything. This is not a war between two professions. This is a war of reason against money. And if we don't stand up for reason, nobody will.



    Science has provided us with much more than the information you attribute to it. We have a large and consistent body of evidence from both observational and experimental studies that supports physiologic care in labor, that is care that supports the unfolding of the normal process and introduces medical interventions only where there is specific need and lesser measures have failed. Using science to determine care is by no means perfect--I have a presentation entitled "The Limitations of Evidence-Based Medicine" that goes into its weaknesses--nonetheless, it is much superior to the usual alternatives: opinion and anecdote. Lamaze International, BTW, has embodied these evidence-based priciples of physiologic care in  its "Healthy Birth Practices."

    As for direct-entry midwives, the certification process through the North American Registry of Midwives and its sister organization that certifies training institutions, the Midwifery Accreditation Education Council, is quite rigorous. The American College of Nurse-Midwives also trains direct-entery midwives. 

    -- Henci

    Archived User

    Henci, do you get to see IP numbers of those who post?  The tone of that last post is very familiar, if you catch my drift.

    The fact that many women have experienced orgasm during birth is evidence enough that it does happen, so I'm not even going to say anything about that because its not worth arguing.

    I know FROM EXPERIENCE that an epidural can take away every single bit of pain 100%.  I also know that having an epidural DOES slow and stop labor in many, many instances, causing the need for pitocin and dramatically increasing the rate at which a cesarean is performed because the baby doesn't respond well to the unnatural contraction pattern.  How is this better for mom or baby?  Its not.  Very far from it, in fact.  It results in more babies with pneumonia, more moms with infections, and a much more painful and slow process of recovery.....not to mention the reduced likelihood for a subsequent vaginal birth, and if that mom wants several babies over her life, the increased likelihood that she may one day be told she cannot have babies anymore because her scarred uterus just can't take it anymore.  In some instances, the cesarean just simply goes wrong.  I'm working with a couple as their surrogate because her one and only cesarean caused so much scarring she can't carry children anymore.  This happens all the time!

    Perhaps I'm going a bit far into that, but its something that millions (literally) of women are faced with.  When you interrupt nature's design in birth, there are consequences.  Sometimes devastating.

    I normally would have left your message alone because I think you're making generalizations and attacks that do absolutely nothing to back up or validate your point of view.  If you can't be respectful and make a concise point, you need to not be posting here.  This is a forum for open and respectful discussion on normal birth and best practice to facilitate normal birth--- not a place to call people liars and insult the leaders of a movement toward better care for all women in labor and birth.  If you can't show respect, then move on.

    Henci Goer

    Collin: I deleted your post because it transgressed the rules for this Forum in that, as Angela pointed out, it attacked another poster. Angela's post sums things up nicely: "This is a forum for open and respectful discussion on normal birth and best practice to facilitate normal birth." You are free to continue posting, providing you are willing to abide by the rules and post nothing of an objectionable nature.

    Angela: Well put.

    -- Henci 

    P.S. Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, I have also decided to call a moratorium on discussing orgasmic birth on this website. Anyone wanting further information or discussion can do so on their website.

    Archived User

    *blush*

     

    Thank you!

    Archived User

    I apologize for that last post. When I found out about Amy, I criticized her quite extensively for refusing to admit the effect of mental conditioning on the human body, as well as for turning the scientific method into a self-defeating stereotype. She called me crazy, and I have now been banned from her site.

    I have Asperger's Syndrome, as well as a philosophical mind that doesn't take anything at face value. A lot of times this gets me into trouble. For all the 37 years of my life, I have been wondering what it means for me to be a man and to want a relationship with a woman. I don't want to cause anyone pain, but I don't want to stop being an independent thinker either. Please forgive me.


    All Times America/New_York

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