To epidural or not to epidural...

That is the question...

I had two back to back calls the other day, regarding epidurals. The first was a last-minute possible client who called to say she wasn't going to need my services after all...because she'd just had her baby that morning (in very short order). She was quite surprised how quick and simple birth was - surprising since, as a family doctor, she'd been attending births for some time, and had anticipated...well, something more hellish than she encountered. She said she now understands that the decision to have an epidural isn't one that can be made before's all about responding to the needs of the day.

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Statistics for the Utterly Confused

I usually wait for a full year to pass before doing my client stats, but a lot of doctors, nurses, doulas, childbirth educators, and clients have recently been expressing concern about the high epidural rate (reports are as high as 80%) at local hospitals. A recent article in The Vancouver Sun also reported that the cesarean rate in B.C. had climbed to almost a third of all births, far in excess of what the World Health Organization deems acceptable.

So, here's a glimpse into my own client outcomes from January 1/07 to June 7/07. Now, remember, these are not a special group (i.e. highly motivated multips under age 30 with a history of fast births). These are 30 women with an average age of 36, most (73%) having their first baby, who hired me to help them and their partners. The majority entered the process without hard and fast expectations about the birth experience. They all hoped to "do their best on the day", some wanting an epidural at the door (and not needing it), and some wanting to avoid a cesarean (and needing it). They are all capable and amazing women.

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