Old Wives' Tales & Other Rubbish      

I suspect the title for this page will cause a stir but it will get you to open it, so take a deep breath and read carefully.  I don't have an absolute belief that mother nature is benign and I have seen too many 'natural',  'non-intervention' pregnancies and deliveries go bad to ever adopt this view.  

Don't believe everything you read online or in books. Even the Cochrane Data Base can change its opinion overnight, when a new study comes out.

Of course, some of  you won't believe what I write, but that's OK too.

A healthy degree of scepticism does go a long way.

Disclaimer:
Please note that the opinions expressed below are my own. You may not agree with them, your doctor may not agree with them and your friends may not agree with them. They may not pertain to your pregnancy and where a conflict exists, please see your doctor. I may even be wrong, but that's just my opinion.

1.    Do I really like doing Caesarean sections? - Not all the time. I do not get paid more for doing a caesarean. On the whole, it takes more of  my time, it  stops me doing other operations on my lists and if there is a problem, I have less to blame God for. Medicare lists an elective caesarean section, where there are no other complicating factors, as a low risk delivery. I always prefer delivering the baby you want over the delivery you may have preferred.
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2.   Do I always cut an episiotomy? - NO.     Doing an episiotomy is not my idea of fun and doesn't make my life easier, so I don't just do them to suit myself. It takes time to sew someone up and I do not want to create unnecessary pain for women or work for myself for that matter.  

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3.   Water Births? - People who are keen on this should not come to my practice. I believe it is rubbish, an unnecessary risk to the baby and it in no way, to quote a water birth website, 'enhances your primordial feminine powers'. I particularly object to the pseudo-science claptrap used to peddle this idea.  No one can adequately treat emergencies, which may appear at the time of delivery (shoulder dystocia), when you are immersed in a tub of contaminated water. But, go ahead if you must. I am sure you will just shop around, until you find someone to agree with you, just not me. Water BIRTH is a completely different proposition to using water for pain relief during labour. Water is great, (showers, bath) and I firmly believe in its use with and without ruptured membranes.
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4.   'I don't want Syntocinon given to hasten delivery of the placenta'.- Syntocinon, an injection given in your leg as the baby comes out,  is not given to deliver the placenta. It is given to prevent postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). PPH was one of the biggest killers of women before the age of modern obstetrics. Before this, hospitals purchased shrouds, for the dead mothers, in bundles of 60. Syntocinon and Syntometrum dramatically changed that and although a PPH may still occur, they are much less frequent and devastating. So, have the injection.

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5.   Vitamin K injections for your baby are safe. All newborn infants have low levels of vitamin K and are at risk of developing haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN). HDN may occur within 24 hours of birth (early HDN), between day 1 and day 7 of life (classic HDN) or between 2 and 12 weeks of life (late HDN). Late HDN can result in significant morbidity and mortality (25%) due to intracranial bleeds, and has resulted in most developed countries having in place a protocol for the giving of supplemental vitamin K to all new born babies.

One injection protects. Why mess around with oral formulas, which may be missed or not absorbed, when the injections have been proven safe. Just do it.
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6.   'Don't cut the cord until it stops pulsating' -  When conducting a normal delivery I have always taken plenty of time before getting the partner to cut the cord. There is rarely a need to rush this part. 

But for heavens sake!......................If you cut the cord and then feel at its base, you realise the reason it pulsates is that the babies heart is beating. The further up the cord you go away from the baby, the less you notice it but the actual beat won't stop unless the babies heart does. 

So, where do you hold the cord before you decide it has stopped beating? 

Also, the baby does not need all the blood in the cord. It already has a full load (80ml /Kg) so wait a few minutes and get it done. If you do delay cutting the cord you have an increased risk of Jaundice in the baby and the baby may spend time under phototherapy as their body tries to metabolise the excess blood.

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7.   'I won't bond with my baby if I have a caesarean' - You bond with a baby because you love and want them. I have yet to have any baby tell me that one method of delivery leads to more contentment than any other. I understand that some people believe this but that doesn't make it true. However, a contented mother always leads to a contented baby (and husband) regardless of the method of delivery.
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8.   No child, to my knowledge, 20 years later, has ever said ' I wouldn't be this way if I had been breast fed'.
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9.   Ditto for 'had I been delivered vaginally'.
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10.   Hanging up the washing or putting your arms above your head DOES NOT lead to the cord wrapping around the babies neck. 
In fact about 20% of all babies have cord around the neck.
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11.   Braxton Hicks contractions can hurt.....a lot.
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12.   You are only a low risk pregnancy after the baby is out.
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13.   Breast is best unless it isn't.
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14.   Rasberry leaf tea has not been shown to make any difference to labour. It remains unproven, but If it did work, then don't take it before 36 weeks.
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15.   Birth Plans are not essential. The length of your birth plan is inversely proportional to your chance of a vaginal delivery. If your birth plan is more than 1 Written (not typed) page, then you probably have unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations, fatigue and pressure from 'friends' or 'well-meaning' relatives is more likely to cause postnatal depression than any particular aspect of delivery. 
It is amazing how many times the word "I" appears in birth plans in comparison to mentioning the best interests of the baby.
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16.   Using the foetal heart rate (< or > 140bpm), the wedding ring test or the presence or absence of indigestion to determine the sex of your baby has a 50% chance of being right.
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17.   Carrying high and carrying low means nothing. Neither does the comment ' you have dropped'. The general public have foot in mouth disease when it comes to pregnancy.
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18.   Does Perineal Stretching Work? - I don't know. I do not think masage works. I am sure wheat germ (oil or otherwise) won't work and I am not sure that expansion of the vaginal entrance with a balloon is a good idea. But if you want to try it, let me know how it goes as I am quite keen to find out.
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19. Delayed Cord Clamping: Not to be confused with the whole pulsating thing.

When conducting a normal delivery I have always taken plenty of time before getting the partner to cut the cord. There is rarely a need to rush this part. 
You really need to read the actual literature  http://www.who.int/entity/rhl/reviews/CD004074sp.pdf
as opposed to the hype and pseudoscience, which is really to what I object.

This information should also be interpreted in relation to Term births and not confused with literature related to preterm babies.
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20.  Any claim that something May have an effect / benefit means that it also May Not.








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