Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is it ethical to promote normal birth?

Dr. Amy Tuteur's blog yesterday is a must read. She reflects on an article published in the journal Birth the bioethicist Professor Anne Drapkin Lyerly, who writes about social and moral issues in women’s health and reproductive medicine.

Dr, Tuteur says, "[Lyerly] has dared to question the ethics of “normal birth” within the pages of the premier journal of the normal birth industry."
Journal Abstract

"The concept of “normal birth” has been promoted as ideal by several international organizations, although debate about its meaning is ongoing. In this article, I examine the concept of normalcy to explore its ethical implications and raise a trio of concerns. First, in its emphasis on nonuse of technology as a goal, the concept of normalcy may marginalize women for whom medical intervention is necessary or beneficial. Second, in its emphasis on birth as a socially meaningful event, the mantra of normalcy may unintentionally avert attention to meaning in medically complicated births. Third, the emphasis on birth as a normal and healthy event may be a contributor to the long-standing tolerance for the dearth of evidence guiding the treatment of illness during pregnancy and the failure to responsibly and productively engage pregnant women in health research. Given these concerns, it is worth debating not just what “normal birth” means, but whether the term as an ideal earns its keep."

You can read more extracts here.

No comments: