Friday, August 28, 2009

Celebrating.... with Exasperation: ACOG's New Policy on Liquids in Labor

Most people have already blogged on this one, but I couldn't resist adding my own two cents....

Recommendations Relax on Liquid Intake During Labor

The long and short of it - ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists) has reversed its previous policy and now conceeds that laboring women may be "allowed" to drink during labor. No solid foods, because, after all,

"As for the continued restriction on food, the reality is that eating is the last thing most women are going to want to do since nausea and vomiting during labor is quite common."

However, liquids by mouth are now no-longer forbidden.

So.... Good or bad?

Both, I suppose. It is progress in the right direction, at least, which is more than one can say for a lot of ACOG's decisions.

However, the following come to mind:

(1) Ummm..... Sorry to inform you guys of this, but midwives have known this for years. Decades. Centuries. Millenia. In fact, I don't think midwives (on the whole) have ever been foolish enough to restrict liquids from laboring women. Not to mention the fact that many sensible doctors and nurses have also promoted liquids by mouth for years. You're sadly behind the times, my friends.

(2) Similarly, midwives (on the whole) are way ahead of you on solid foods... Midwives do (and always have) encouraged eating during labor when the mother wants to eat. (Same goes for forward-thinking docs and nurses.) No athletic feat (especially one that can span hours or days) should be attempted on a fast, least of all labor.

(3) To tell a laboring woman what she is "allowed" and "not allowed" to do is absolutely demeaning, degrading and despicable. I personally would not be abiding by these rules just because "doctor said" any more than other unreasonable rules.

(4) Most women, being sensible beings, are already ahead of you on this one - they simply bring their own food and drink to the hospital and eat when caregivers are out of the room, or they eat before going to the hospital.

Of course, laboring women don't always want to eat during labor. I didn't. But some do, and they shouldn't be restricted from doing so.

So... This is a call both for a pat on the back and a slap upside the head. Thanks for your efforts, ACOG - but I know you can do better!

Thoughts, anyone?

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