This article from Consumer Reports is a great piece on the ten most “overused” procedures in childbirth:
1. C Section in low risk first birth
2. Automatic repeat C Section
3. Elective early delivery
4. Induction without medical reason
5. Ultrasound after 24 weeks
6. Early epidural
7. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring during labor
8. Routine artificial rupture of membranes (“breaking the bag of waters”)
9. Routine episiotomy
10. Sending baby to the nursery
The article, of course, goes into greater detail about how each of these is overused and what the alternatives are. I like this piece because it’s a great reminder to everyone of a few really crucial points
1. When you’re there, in the hospital in labor? You’re still a consumer, and entitled to excellent customer service.
2. Health care is a product we pay for and it is important to think about whether each thing you do is necessary/worthwhile.
3. You, as an adult, are competent to evaluate whether you need an induction/episiotomy/c-section/ultrasound, just like you evaluate whether you need the other things you pay for. You don’t need to be a medical expert to do this. You do need a medical expert *with you* to talk you through the benefits/risks/alternatives, but after that the decision is yours.
4. Not all of the things that doctors do routinely are helpful or necessary.
Ask questions. Get to know your caregiver. Be the customer. Get good care.