Saturday, 17 October 2009

Science & Sensibility » Beyond Due Dates: How Late is Too Late?

The following is a quote on the Science and Sensibility blog by Rosie:

"Harmanni Boerhaave, a botanist who in 1744 came up with a method of calculating the EDD based upon evidence in the Bible that human gestation lasts approximately 10 lunar months. The formula was publicized around 1812 by German obstetrician Franz Naegele. There is one glaring flaw in Naegele's rule. Strictly speaking, a lunar (or synodic from new moon to new moon) month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we've been lead to believe is average."

The comment above is so important to think about. How do we right this crazy wrong?

The way that that the normal, physiological span for when labour begins has been contracted to the due date is unacceptable and wrong. The 'due date' was always an estimation, not a set in concrete date.

The feverishness with which the medical model approach to childbearing seeks to control women with babies on the inside is simply astonishing and, when you really think about it, deplorable.

We menstruate at different ages, we go through menopause at different ages. Children learn to speak, to crawl and to walk within wildly varying time frames. These time frames are normal. Everyone is different.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we suddenly imposed restrictions and curtailments on what was considered normal and acceptable in those domains of human development?

Such restriction would lead to inhuman and cruel procedures.

The medical control of birthing women's processes is often inhumane and cruel, although it positions itself as 'lifesaving', heroic and really, the only field which really cares about the baby. The medical model view has positioned mother and baby as competing entities and medicine is the advocate of the baby. Barbara Duden is a German historian who has written a great book called Disembodying Women. Barbara talks about how women have been depicted as a faulty ecosystem and the baby is depicted as an endangered species in modern medical discourse.

The rise in the rate of surgical birth, maternal depression and admissions of babies to neonatal intensive care units is the fallout from this crazy making 'emperor has no clothes' medical model approach to try to control women and childbearing.

The childbearing process has to be worked with, not worked on.

Science & Sensibility: Beyond Due Dates: How Late is Too Late?

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