The agony of modernity? The case of prolonged labor due to modern medicine

It is pretty obvious that obstetricians are not needed to delivery a baby.  Otherwise, we would not be here as a species.  That’s not to say that the high risk pregnancies do not benefit from obstetric attendance during pregnancy and the birth.  But what about everyone else?  Is it possible that mainstream medicine’s hand in the childbirth process creates more harm than benefit?

Clearly there are big issues in today’s society when it comes to fertility, healthy pregnancy, healthy deliveries and healthy babies.  The list of problems is quite long, but a few things are certain:

  1. Vaginal births have less complications
  2. Tylenol is not safe during pregnancy
  3. C-section babies start with altered bacterial flora compared to vaginal birth babies
  4. Antibiotics may increase the risk of preterm birth
  5. Healthier nutrition lowers risk of preterm birth
  6. There are many ways to lower the risk of birth defects
  7. Exposure to certain chemicals drastically increases your risk of losing the pregnancy
  8. Good dental health lowers the risk of preterm birth

 If you look at this short list, you’ll see that none of it has to do with medical care.  A truly healthy pregnancy does not require an obstetrician.  They should only be there if something goes wrong.  Instead, mainstream medicine seems to get an itchy trigger finger, trying to interfere with a normal pregnancy.  Not interfering in pregnancy just seems to be a hard thing to do.  The second that an intervention begins (stripping of the membranes, oxytocin, epidurals) the risk of heading towards a C-section increases.

This particular study puts a slightly different light on what modern obstetrics has done to the length of labor.

While I can’t speak from experience, I can imagine that, the shorter the labor, the better.  Researchers compared pregnancies from 50 years ago to today.  Some frightening facts emerged:

  1.  The epidural rate skyrocketed (55% vs 4%)
  2. Oxytocin use almost tripled (31% vs 12%)
  3. Cesarean delivery rates quadrupled (12% vs 3%)
  4. Labor was longer by 2.6 hours in first pregnancies and 2.0 hours in non first-timers

I would imagine that an extra 2.6 hours in labor would seem like an eternity to the woman waiting to have her first baby.  Clearly, there are times when mainstream medicine does not need to be involved in a natural process that has been ongoing for thousands of generations without a problem.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.