One minute class on how "not" to catch a baby

I debated about the title of this post.  The other contender was “a one minute advertisement for why women birth unassisted”.  I don’t know how to get those nice little TV sets with a google video right on my blog so you’ll have to go to this link to watch the one minute Youtube clip. All offers to teach me how to get WordPress to show videos gratefully accepted.

Watch it once and then come back and see what’s wrong with that scenario.

1. “chin on chest”–her baby’s coming out, for heaven’s sake, why would she put her chin on her chest?  Women are quite capable of knowing how to throw their heads back, forward, sideways or any direction they want.  These pushing comments show a practitioner who is not tuned in to what is happening in the moment.  She’s simply reciting her schtick that worked once, so let’s apply it to every birth.

2. “good girl!”–again, words have power.  If you need to open your mouth and say something when a baby’s head is on the perineum, please, make it something helpful.  Even “good woman” would be better than “good girl” but is any of it really helpful? How about urging her to slow down and pant the head out to avoid a tear.

3. “big one”, “PUSH”:  see 2 above

4. digging into the mother’s perineum and gripping the top of the baby’s head.  Who taught this practitioner to do this?  It is counter productive.  Hands off the perineum.  Only the mother’s own hands should be touching her baby’s head and vulva, if she so chooses.  Digging fingers can bruise the blood filled tissue and cause tears.  Primum non nocere–it does harm and does no good so don’t do it.

5. pulling on the baby’s head and twisting the neck instead of waiting for the contraction that will rotate the baby’s shoulders spontaneously.  Very bad practise.  One would  never twist on a baby’s head like this after it’s been born so don’t do it at this point either.  

6. announce “It’s a boy” -this news does not need to be announced by practitioners.  Each family will find it’s own expression of greeting a baby.  Learning to keep your mouth shut should be the first class in obstetrics courses.

It’s amazing to me that a one minute video can encapsulate so many errors. Now, go back and watch it a second time and see if you can see these blunders. 

10 thoughts on “One minute class on how "not" to catch a baby

  1. Here’s how to imbed youtube videos in wordpress:
    -when writing/editing the post, just below the Title in the middle it will say “add media”; the 2nd icon over looks like a little film strip — click that. A new window will open; scroll down to where it says “From URL” and paste the youtube video’s url — *not* the “embed video” link!! — into that box, then click “insert into post”. The video will be put wherever the cursor is at that point. You can “preview post” to make sure it’s there right, and in the right spot.

  2. great post! there are lots of natural and unassisted childbirth videos on youtube which is great, but then there are those like the one you linked to. uggh. i recently watched one on there that was titled natural homebirth or something like that and the womyn was laying down in bed surrounded by at least a dozen people who were all yelling at her to PUSH! i felt so sorry for her.
    i cringe when i see practitioners yanking and twisting at poor baby like that.
    i also dislike the “its a boy!” announcement. thats going to be one of my rules when i’m giving birth myself- don’t make a peep about stuff like that!

  3. Ok I admit to being a pansy-arse & reading your post all the way before deciding I didnt want to see the video!
    My imagination (and alas, personal experiences of other midwives and OB’s practices I would rather forget) filled in the rest.
    Well done for posting it though, there needs to be intelligent critique of these portrayals of *normal* (ok Im laughing until I cry now) birth.
    Love ya work.

  4. Good move, Jennifairy. I got sucked into watching it by reading a doula discussion under the subject heading of “Favourite Youtube Videos”. I guess doulas must be seeing some pretty bad births if their “favourites” look like this.

  5. I loved your comment about the fact that no one could think of pulling and twisting a baby in that manner, after birth, so why during birth?

    That is so much truth and clearly states our society’s ignorance (and not a blissfull one) about our childrens’ consciousness, wither they are born or yet to be. As if there is a difference in their being and awareness in those seconds from being shoulders out of mommas tummy, to being on top of mommas tummy.

    It seems so senseless to me that those few seconds of a child’s life, can make such a huge difference in the way we, as a society, percieve and handle them (well, if a child is lucky and won’t be genitally mutilated etc.)

    Love your work and your blog. You are such an inspiration.

  6. I began to watch the video, (not picking up on your lesson title “How NOT…” that it wasn’t going to be a positive example of birth/birthing assistance) before I’d read any of your comments on it. I don’t watch scary movies simply because I prefer not to have unwanted images floating around in my head and as an expectant woman with first child this video would be (while educational I’m sure) right in the category of ‘scary’. It wasn’t more than 2 seconds into the clip before I was searching to exit the page in a panic – the voices of the two assistants already grating in my ears.
    I was quite satisfied with missing the video and instead just reading the comments. These are points I can put towards creating my own requests/standards for the assistants of all my future births without having to learn the hard way.

  7. I was actually very disappointed (unlike Miwa) because I clicked on link but it did not bring me to the birth video to visually see what she is referencing. I did find that the commentary on the video was extremely informative and I’m very thankful for it.

  8. Hi Gloria! Not that I *need* to see the video you link here, but I’d like to for teaching purposes… It’s no longer working though… Can you give me the link or otherwise point me to it? I’d be grateful! Thanks for your wonderful site and classes!

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