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Battling for a Natural Birth

I am trying to make my birth experience as natural as possible. I’m prepared to forego an epidural and ‘tough it out,’ and am firmly against Pitocin to induce labor. I respect every woman’s right to choose her own birth experience, but, for me, I feel that a fully natural, un-medicated birth is the best way to go.

The gestational diabetes has put a slight complication in these plans, as the midwives have referred me to their MFMs (ie, maternal-fetal-medicine specialists, or obstetricians) for consultations.

Since I don’t need medication to control my blood sugar, and the baby, according to our most recent sonogram, is on the small side, in the 22nd percentile for weight at 5.1 lbs at 37 weeks, I can still have a natural delivery with the midwife. But now they want me to go for weekly ultrasound tests.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle to have natural childbirth with as little intervention as possible. The more the medical personnel look for problems, I believe, the more they will find things to investigate. After all, one of the causes of emergency c-sections is hospital staff that panic upon misreading a fetal monitor when the mother is monitored continuously.

In general, out of all the medical tests and procedures, I am convinced that ultrasounds are one of the safest. I was fully prepared to have three throughout my pregnancy. But I believe that weekly ultrasounds, which could mean three or more until I hold my daughter in my arms, is a bit excessive. Even if she gains a pound a week at this point, she will still be a safe weight for a natural delivery.

I’m not sure if my arguing with the doctor over not having another ultrasound until week 40 is sheer stubbornness on my part, or borne of the conflicting research I’ve read about the technology.

I certainly believe the procedure is safe – in moderation. I’m not sure that three or four tests in as many weeks could be called ‘moderate.’

Certainly, Internet searches and discussions with women whose beliefs span the gamut from ‘medical technology is perfect’ to ‘all-natural birth, no compromises’ turns up plenty of research on both sides of the argument. Most of the research I’ve seen, however, leads me to believe that ultrasounds are perfectly safe – and certainly the safest, least invasive test you can for peace of mind. Here is just one article of many regarding the safety of ultrasounds.

I won’t deny that all three u/s I had put both mine and my husband’s minds at ease over several factors, and I won’t argue the convenience of knowing it’s a girl long before my delivery date.
What concerns me about the sonograms, more so than their overall safety is their accuracy in predicting what they are trying to determine in my situation: fetal weight. Depending on the competency of the technician, the best an ultrasound offers is a +/- 1 pound margin for error. When you are talking something weighing between 4 and 10 lbs., that’s a large difference. And when you are talking about an automatic, mandatory c-section at 9 lbs., based on hospital policy, I’m not willing to take that risk.

I haven’t reached a conclusion, yet, on what I’ll do next week when it’s time for the 38-week ultrasound. It might even be a moot point as I feel like the baby “dropped” a bit last night. I think I’m just weary of fighting with the medical establishment for my right to a natural birth.

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