Monday, September 28, 2009

I Have Some Corrections to Make

In this post regarding my Bradley certification, I said several things that I need to clarify. First of all, I said that the Bradley® Method's® goal was natural childbirth. Though that is indeed true, the 4 days at the workshop impressed in me that the primary goal of this method is a healthy baby, healthy mother and healthy family. The mode by which that is usually accomplished is to not mess with the labor process.

There are times when major interventions like cesarean sections are called for, and though the true necessity is probably one third to one tenth of what is currently practiced (in the U.S. as of 2007, 31.8% of all births are surgical), some cesareans are truly necessary. *Interesting fact: Dr. Bradley attended about 22,000 births and had a 3% cesarean rate and had not one maternal mortality. Of course, he didn't mess with other parts of labor either, not just the birth part.
I thought I should clarify that so I'm not giving Bradley a bad name by cesarean-bashing. It can be a marvelous life-saving surgery. I just believe it should only be reserved for times when the benefits outweigh the risks. Too often this is not the case.

The other thing I wish to clarify is this business of an 80% natural childbirth rate. That number is incorrect. The truth is that, of those Bradley students who go on to have vaginal births, 87% of them are unmedicated. There is another group here that is left out of this count, and that is the cesarean group (who I'm hoping were medicated!).

Anyway, I think that's important to clarify. So, if we included those c-sections into the number, only about 76% of all (reported) Bradley births are vaginal and unmedicated. Bradley advertises the 87% rate, which is more impressive, but not the whole story. My guess is that most students and even some teachers are not aware of this numbers game.

I still challenge anyone to find a better rate with another method or class. Even at that percentage, it's pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. :)

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