Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Pregnancy Courts Debate

Pregnancy is smitten by debate. Pregnancy is a sucker for debate. Pregnancy just can’t get enough of debate.

And that’s usually okay with me, for as pregnancy courts debate I am encouraged to think laterally and broaden my perspective. Only occasionally when the debate in question concerns copious baby retail options (i.e. what are the relative merits of baby mattress types?....gag me and fast!) or the sweeping scythe of the nanny state do I want to bang my head against a wall and renounce all deliberation as painful and/or confusing and/or insane.

Today debate was so “hot to trot” that pregnancy managed to finagle two dates. I’d like to share the details and my take:

Debate #1: A Council in Wales hands out pink badges to heavily pregnant ladies so they can bag favourable parking spaces. An online news blogger decries this as yet another policy that will be abused. 

My father-in-law brought my attention this afternoon’s BBC Radio 2 report. I can’t find anything in print on this story, so please let me know if you can. Without more information it’s hard to pass judgement, but my gut instinct is that walking an extra 50 extra feet might do a pregnant woman good. Badges like this most likely would be abused unless monitored, which I don’t see as the best use of Council resources.

Debate #2: Are Doula’s “helping hands or stepping on toes?” The BBC today reports anaesthetist Dr Abhijoy Chakladar’s view that the increasing trend of women hiring doulas (birth assistants that offer emotional support before, during labour and postnatally) is a side effect of lapses in midwifery care that often hinders clinical decisions by disturbing the relationship between the mother and medical team.
I beg your pardon? My understanding is that doulas offer mothers and their birthing partners emotional support and encouragement in preparation for and through birth, as well as during the early days of parenthood. Doulas are not medically trained and unlike midwives, are not responsible for the physical care of the woman through her birth. While it’s important that doulas don’t overstep this boundary (and perhaps some do), to suggest that their presence upsets the clinical side of birth wreaks of practitioner speak to me! Many women hire doulas to develop firm emotional support and coping strategies that help them approach labor as naturally as possible and don’t want a clinical birth. Doulas should not be berated for helping women participate actively in their birthing experience - having said that, should medical care be needed, it is not their place to argue with practitioners but to support their client through whatever shape the birthing experience takes.
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