Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Distortion of Normal

I wrote this on a late night recently, so I will probably review this post and come back to it. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Lately, I've seen a variety of things that have disturbed me. I've come to call the phenomenon "Distortion of Normal".
For instance: The average size of a newborn infant.
We measure this by comparing all newborns. In fact, we should only be counting newborns who are unmedicated and uninduced, non-cesarean in order to get "real" numbers. But in this day and age, even that number would be distorted. We've come so far into an induction/augmentation culture that most babies are not allowed to reach their potential birth weight nor their potential birth dates. In a world of scheduled birth or scheduled surgery, how do you define the "day most babies are born" or the "average" gestation.
Even a mom choosing an uninduced birth is encouraged to use a variety of methods to "get ready" and hurry the birth along.
Then, to add insult to injury, these numbers are used against mothers who are out of "norm." Full term used to mean 37-42 weeks but now, no mothers are "allowed" to go past 40 or they are over due. Twin and other multiple mothers are reduced to full term at 36 weeks, or less, encouraged to believe that their infants are in fact done.
In less than fifty years, we have so distorted the birth picture with our interference, we have lost our norms. If one out of three babies are being surgically removed, how can we even know how a normal infant responds to birth? We've removed 1/3 of the population, seriously skewing our view.

1 comment:

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