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Drugs in Labor - Why aren't We Screaming?

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

{This is an uncut version of the editorial that ran in Midwifery Today  E-News 1:20, May 14, 99: Drugs in Labor. If you'd like to subscribe to the  E-news, send your email address to enews@midwiferytoday.com. -Donna}

In researching this issue of E-News, I was both overwhelmed by the long lists of side effects that drugs in labor have on both mother and baby, and surprised by how little passion is given the subject as a whole. While much is written about the joys of natural birth, or techniques to use in birth to avoid intervention, or even why to refuse drugs in labor, few authors and practitioners are screaming from the rooftops about the effects of drugs on mothers and babies--and what it means for the future of our world. More than twenty years ago Doris Haire, one of the strongest voices in the wilderness, had this to say about the effects of drugs administered during labor: "One out of every 35 American children will eventually be diagnosed as retarded (in 75 percent of these cases there is no genetic or sociological predisposing factor). One out of every 8 American children has some sort of minimal brain dysfunction or significant learning disability. One out of every 4 American graduates from high school is functionally illiterate. Eighty percent of the 7 year old children who were diagnosed as having abnormal or suspect central nervous system functions were within the normal range of gestational age and weight at birth. We are producing a generation of subnormal Americans. The statistical disasters described above are not limited to the poor but cut across the entire socioeconomic and ethnic strata of the United States."

Of course there is Jacobson's compelling research on the correlation between drugs at birth and drug addiction later in life. Dr. Michel Odent has been researching, writing and lecturing on the events of the primal period and their impact on one's health-or lack of it-in later life. Others have added their urgent messages. But by and large, books about birth don't say enough about drugs in labor when compared to numerous other topics they so lovingly and carefully address.

And what are we doing about it? Has anything changed? Before you answer that, think about the proliferation of epidurals among every social class and in every hospital. Think how easily a labor and delivery nurse sweetly offers a laboring woman "a little something."

So I'm going to list some of those words I've come across that have to do with drugs and labor in hopes the list in its entirety will move some of you to find your vocal cords and start screaming: illiterate, central nervous system depression, mental retardation, delay in respiration, fetal hypoxia, low IQ, cyanosis, prolonged labor, altered neurological development, alteration in sexual behavior, epidemic of learning disorders, asphyxia neonatorum, bardycardia, lowered pH, neurological injury, seizures, incessant crying, depression, flaccidity, death, agitation-hyperirritability, vaginal adenosis, adenocarcinoma, dizziness, disorientation, prolonged labor, respiratory depression, decreased responsiveness, impaired sucking, amphetamine addiction in later life, increased use of instrumental delivery, blurred vision, heart palpitations, prolonged second stage, predisposition to malrotation, hallucinations, suppression of lactation, amnesia, newborn hemorrhage, confusion, changes in blood pressure, drop in body temperature, drug addiction, euphoria, nausea, severe headache, chronic backache, vomiting, slowed digestion, bladder problems, sweating, trembling, tingling and numbness, withdrawal symptoms, reduced uterine activity, elevated temperature, neonatal hypoglycemia, problems with lipid metabolism, postpartum hemorrhage, inhalation of vomited material, poor reflexes, interference with bonding and breastfeeding, low Apgar scores, autism, and on and on and on.

-Cher Mikkola, E-News managing editor, Cherjm@aol.com

This Web page is referenced from other pages containing related information about For Parents - How to Get the Best Care and Bonding and Birth Trauma


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