Back-to-basics for safer childbirth

Consumer Reports News: October 09, 2008 02:07 PM

Too many obstetricians and hospitals are overusing high-tech procedures while ignoring the high-touch, noninvasive measures that can mean better outcomes for baby and Mom, a new study finds.

When it's time to bring a new baby into the world, there's a lot to be said for letting nature take the lead. The normal, hormone-driven changes in the body that naturally occur during delivery can optimize infant health and encourage the easy establishment and continuation of breastfeeding and mother-baby attachment. Childbirth without technical intervention can succeed in leading to a good outcome for mother and child, according to the new report. (See our full maternity-care report on the study, and take our maternity-care quiz to test your knowledge.)

The report found that, in the U.S., too many healthy women with low-risk pregnancies are being routinely subjected to high-tech or invasive interventions that should be reserved for higher-risk pregnancies. They include inducing labor, use of epidural painkillers, delivery by C-section, episiotomy, and more.

Read the rest of our report on, take our quiz, and find out which over-the-counter drugs to avoid in pregnancy.

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