Saturday, July 3

On My Mind

I've been obsessed with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch since I first heard about it on This American Life (episode 253: The Middle of Nowhere). Nevertheless, whenever I hear about projects like Taina's attempt to eliminate the use of plastics for one year (via Apartment Therapy), I have two contradictory thoughts:
  1. To eliminate or at least curb my use of plastics: what a gift to give to the Critter!
  2. I am so exhausted.
OK, so I don't have the energy to make such a big, revolutionary change in my life—certainly not all at once. But what I can do is make small changes, one or two at a time. Though one change that I've been contemplating for some time would be a bit bigger than small (though a bit smaller than huge): urban composting, such as through the Fort Greene Compost Project. Composting would mean fewer plastic trash bags, which, in our case, are reused shopping bags. Beckett isn't too fond of the idea of our keeping food scraps in the freeze, to which I say: tough shit.

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On the one hand, the Midwifery Modernization Act was passed in New York State this week: hurrah! On the other hand, as reported over at Birthing Beautiful Ideas, an OB/GYN practice in central Ohio just sent out a letter banning doulas and individualized birth plans and offered their own cookie-cutter birth plan. My outrage about the birth plan was somewhat delayed, because it wasn't until Monday that I received The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer from the library (it's on the DONA International required reading list for birth doula certification). For example (to address just the first point on the cookie-cutter birth plan), I already knew that the correct answer to the question whether IVs are necessary in labor is "No!" What I did not know is that not only is there no benefit to hooking up a laboring woman to an IV and certainly no reason to do so, but the IV introduces unnecessary risks to the woman and her baby. These risks include fluid overload, which can in turn result in fluid in the lungs of both mother and child; if the IV fluid contains glucose, another risk is hyperglycemia in both mother and child. The OBs' argument in favor of IVs is not only ridiculous (after all, you might end up in an emergency situation if you drive or ride in a car, but no-one is suggesting you should be hooked up to an IV while doing so) but pernicious: it treats every laboring woman as an emergency about to happen.

Obviously, the requirements of an OB/GYN practice in central Ohio have no direct effect on me. My outrage is simply the outrage of a feminist. For one thing, don't let those white coats fool you: just because you're going to a doctor doesn't mean you're going to get evidence-based care. (To find doctors and midwives who do offer evidence-based care, refer to the Guide to a Healthy Birth produced by Choices in Childbirth for a list of questions to ask potential care providers.) For another thing, by banning individualized birth plans, these OBs are in effect telling their patients that because they are not "experts" (even though "expert" apparently has nothing to do with basing practice on what actual medical research shows), they have no right to decide what is done to their bodies.

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