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  #1  
January 25th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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Hi all!!

Just a tiny question: I'm Dutch, and in my country almost everyone has natural birth -unless it's a c-section with a medical reason of course!- but no epidurals or anything else (once again, unless medically necessary).
and when I watch American shows (like Sixteen& Pregnant) or documentaries I almost always see American women getting an epidural! Seems pretty strange to me, as far as I know there are some risks with epidurals , so why do they seem to give it just without questioning in other countries?

I 'm pregnant with my third , my two other births were both natural (21 and 8 hours respectively) and while quite painful, definately not undo-able!

So my question: is Holland so weird?? When I tell an International person I don't want pain-medication during the birth they stare at me as if I'm foolish lol, while the insurance doesn't even cover it here!
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  #2  
January 25th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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I am sure there are many more countries like Holland--at least there should be. But the only other country I'm familiar with is Canada, and in Canada they do it pretty much like in the US for the most part. With my sister's first child, that particular hospital did not have the ability to give epidurals, so that wasn't an option, but they were more than happy to push Demerol, episiotomy, and vacuum extraction.
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  #3  
January 25th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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Wow!! It just seems strange to me! (Each to their own, though, not judging here!) . Why pump all those (often unnecessary ) drugs while the body is made to do it?
But I can imagine when everyone around you considers it's normal, then it's probably easier to choose epidural than when nobody around you does, so once again, surely not judging Just curious
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  #4  
January 25th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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I think New Zealand is very similar to Holland. Maternity care here is totally midwife lead, you only get an OB if there is a medical reason to need one, everyone is encouraged to have a med-free birth - even in hospital. Home births are also pretty normal here, esp in the city I'm in as there is no birth centre (only a large hospital).

I find it amazing (and a little horrifying at times!) at how America is so different!
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  #5  
January 25th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Awesome Kiwi!! Sounds similar indeed! I don't want to have a home birth , I'm kind of scared something'll happen and stuff, hospital has everything set ready but I definately don't want medication!!
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  #6  
January 26th, 2012, 07:19 PM
HopeTea's Avatar Cautiously expecting #1
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Here in Japan natural childbirth is also the norm. You can schedule an epidural in some hospitals, but I get the impression it's a bit difficult - how will you know exactly when you will want it? And what if you want it "after hours"? You wouldn't really have the chance to labor as far as you can without it, or keep it as a "last resort" option.

Thanks for starting this very interesting topic!
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  #7  
January 27th, 2012, 05:12 AM
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Huh, that's interesting to me. I think that should be the norm everywhere, but that's just my opinion. lol. I choose to go as natural as I can with all my pregnancies. But then, my pregnancies have always been very easy.

My first baby, my waters broke at wk 35, so I had to be induced as I had no contractions. But that was the extent of any drugs I had.

My second child was all natural.

My third was induced, but other than that, no other interventions.

I am glad that those who want a choice here in the US have it, but I think it's really neat that in other countries, going natural is the way they do it.
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  #8  
January 27th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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I agree!! Although I think if Dutch women want an epidural they can , but the gyn probably will need a lot of cnovincing, and the insurance doesn't cover it, so it's a hell lot of expensive!
I heard of a friend who got a fever after labor as a consequence of her epidural. She couldn't hold her baby for two days until the fever was passed! Horrible!
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  #9  
January 27th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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I do think that this is something that TOTALLY depends on the country in which you give birth. I'm an American, currently living in China. I have two kids, but I've never given birth in the U.S.! My first son was a hospital birth in Kuwait. My second was a homebirth in the U.S. The culture of prenatal care, birth, etc., has been COMPLETELY different in each of the three countries where I've lived.

Here in China, natural childbirth is NOT the norm. Not by a long stretch. Actually, more than half of women in most cities have elective C-sections. That's for several reasons. One of them is that most women will (by law) have only one child, so they don't worry about the effect of a C-section on subsequent pregnancies. Another is that they want their babies to be born on an 'auspicious' day. In any case, you actually CAN'T just wait to go into labor naturally, because there are over a billion people living in China and there aren't enough beds in the hospitals to leave things unscheduled like that. So, if you plan to have a baby here, you either have to book a C-section or an induction months in advance (if you want to have a bed). I once had a Chinese woman ask me if I had had a 'natural childbirth' for my first son, and when I started explaining that with him I had had gas an air but no epidural, she looked at me like she literally had no idea what I was saying. I figured out later that by 'natural childbirth,' what she actually meant was 'no C-section.' That's as close as they get to 'natural' here! I wouldn't ever choose to give birth here if it was at all within my power to stop it.

In Kuwait, things were different. In some ways closer to natural than in the U.S., but in some ways farther from it. Many (maybe most) of the doctors in Kuwait actually did their training in the UK, so I think the 'birth culture' is similar to what it is there. For example, no one ever mentioned induction to me or made a fuss about my due date. When I asked for pain meds during labor, the first thing they offered me was gas and air (no epidural was ever mentioned). BUT, they also gave me an episiotomy that I didn't need (or consent to). They required Charlie to be kept separately from me in the nursery after birth. They gave eye goop etc. without ever discussing it with me. That was all just standard protocol for them. Birth there wasn't so terrible, but I wouldn't sign up for it again if I had the choice.

For me, at this point in my life, homebirth is the only way to go! It's the only way to make sure that you have complete control over the process. In a hospital, the default assumption is that the decisions will be made by someone other than yourself (in my experience), and that's just not my cup of tea.
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  #10  
January 27th, 2012, 10:05 AM
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@Quantum Leap Fantastic choice, home birth!!!!! Your birth stories, especially the Chinese one, sounds absolutely awful to me! It makes me scared just to think of it, lol and i want Baby with me as soon as she's born Or he, lol, I'm so used to having girls I keep referring to Baby as a she XP Poor HIm if he's a boy!
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  #11  
January 27th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Whoops, I mistyped that! I meant to write that I've never given birth at a HOSPITAL in the U.S. I have given birth in the U.S., to my second son. (We chose a homebirth in the U.S. instead of giving birth in China -- that would have been awful to contemplate).
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  #12  
January 28th, 2012, 02:18 AM
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@Quantum_Leap ah, I'm glad! Brrr, China XP LOL!
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  #13  
January 28th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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A lot of it has to do with the history of childbirth and politics in our country. It has had a lasting effect on our maternity care, in a bad way. That along with our legal system, has set up our maternity care system to be pretty terrible.
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  #14  
January 28th, 2012, 11:54 AM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Holland is NOT weird I'm a birth worker and I've worked in the US and international. In the US we are a bit backwords it seems with our maternity care. We're highly medacalized, there is a push to get Midwifery out of business, etc. This comes from decades upon decades of things going on. There are some great birth history books about the birth culture in the US. Some places are more NCB/homebirth friendly, but other places aren't. When I work in the US about 30% of my clients have medication or c-section, now granted most women seek me out who are planning a NCB. But in the hospitals the epidural and nubain rate is about 90% in many places, and c-sections about 30-50%. When I talk to women who are newly pregnant for the first time in the US they talk about the pain, and that seems to be all they focus on. And I often hear "I have a friend who has a friend that had a horrible natural birth". There is a lot of fear here, probably because we constantly show birth shows where women are laying flat on their backs and not letting them get up, not letting them eat or drink, not really supporting them, etc.

I've worked in other parts of the world where the thought of using medications during birth is absurd to them. Many of my clients in those countries (Italy & Germany) can't understand why women want to lay in bed and have medications. Many of the women there go for homebirths or freestanding birth centers that are primarily staffed with Midwives and the birthing suits are huge with birth pools and birth swings hanging from the ceilings.

I've had both of my kids in the US. One in the hospital, which would be a typical birth in that paticular hospital. Not being able to get out of bed, no food, no water, pushy about the epidural, etc. And then I had a Midwife assisted homebirth, which was tons better. It seems like in the US Midwives constantly have to fight for their place here and are always under fire. But in other countries no one gives a second thought about them because they are normal and widely used.
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  #15  
January 29th, 2012, 03:08 AM
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@HappyHippy You're right, homebirth sounds a lot better!! I didn't have a homebirth, but stayed home as long as possible, and then with my second birth (Josephine) I was home again 4 hours later after having her That'sh ow it works here!!
But something else, in Holland you get a nurse (there's a specific word for it, but I don't know the English word) that's in your home full time when you've had a baby. She stays for 8-10 days depending on the medical indication (when you breastfeed or had a c-section she stays longer) to take care of the household, other children, visitors, etc. Do other countreis have this? When I watch Teen mom/ Sixteen & Pregnant I just see those girls learning things in the hospital and then when they geth ome there's no-one! Or are those shows not representative for the rest?
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  #16  
January 29th, 2012, 04:13 AM
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Definitely never heard of that practice before. I've heard of midwives/lactation consultants coming for home visits, but not staying on full-time. I think many people rely on their families for help.

I checked out those American shows you mentioned. I think it's really bad representation overall. The girls don't seem to educate themselves or get good information from anyone, and many get induced for no reason. I felt pretty frustrated watching them. I would hope most adult women in America are better informed than that.
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Last edited by HopeTea; January 29th, 2012 at 04:15 AM.
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  #17  
January 29th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeTea View Post
Definitely never heard of that practice before. I've heard of midwives/lactation consultants coming for home visits, but not staying on full-time. I think many people rely on their families for help.

I checked out those American shows you mentioned. I think it's really bad representation overall. The girls don't seem to educate themselves or get good information from anyone, and many get induced for no reason. I felt pretty frustrated watching them. I would hope most adult women in America are better informed than that.
Unfortunately, in the area that I live, they are not. It's sad.
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  #18  
January 29th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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@Que Such a pity that is I was a teen mother myself (18 when Anna was born) and was super shocked I was pregnant , but I still tried to make the best of it and I dare say I'm quite a good mother now NObody's perfect, of course, but I try

oh and BTW, in that case I"m very glad we have such nurses here ni Holland, and insurance covers all of it! I'm glad, because I don't have any family to help; Harry's parents are dead unfortunately and I have almost no contact with my parents. I do have quite a good relationship with my brother and his wife, but I don't see him coming to change diapers
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  #19  
January 29th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~~Que~~ View Post
Unfortunately, in the area that I live, they are not. It's sad.
Yep here too, and I'm in Canada. Sometimes I think that the grils on 16 and pregnant get MORE information then lots of woman here get. Informed consent here is a joke, they use scare tactics if they even ask you about the procedure or they just go through with it anyways since the form you signed when you checked in to the hospital essentially signs away all your consent to object.
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  #20  
January 29th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucia_mommy View Post
@HappyHippy You're right, homebirth sounds a lot better!! I didn't have a homebirth, but stayed home as long as possible, and then with my second birth (Josephine) I was home again 4 hours later after having her That'sh ow it works here!!
But something else, in Holland you get a nurse (there's a specific word for it, but I don't know the English word) that's in your home full time when you've had a baby. She stays for 8-10 days depending on the medical indication (when you breastfeed or had a c-section she stays longer) to take care of the household, other children, visitors, etc. Do other countreis have this? When I watch Teen mom/ Sixteen & Pregnant I just see those girls learning things in the hospital and then when they geth ome there's no-one! Or are those shows not representative for the rest?
Some hospitals do have "home visitors", and sometimes they're called other things, that go to the house every day for a week or so to help mom with new baby and things like that. You can also hire someone called a Postpartum Doula who will stay for 8 hours a day (or longer if you have an agreement on it) and help you with light cleaning, cooking meals, other children, breastfeeding, baby things, etc. It is not standard practice though, however, I wish it was.
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