October 22, 2007

Reading Matter

Just if you're interested, here are two pieces of news that came our way this morning.

First, our friend Manda co-wrote this article about birth practices. Here's a teaser:

Many obstetricians have never witnessed a natural birth in its entirety, and today, Eisenstein says, a natural birth in a hospital is "almost nonexistent. It was more likely 25 years ago than today." People ask more questions when they buy a car or a house than they do when they choose the care provider and birth location that will be part of one of the most important experiences in the life of a family. All of the doctors are nice, he says, "but you're not hiring your doctor to like [him], you are hiring [him] to have the safest possible birth."

Now, I realize that not everyone cares about "natural" birth--and I myself find the category "natural" extremely suspicious, obviously. But, that said: it's shocking how few doctors are used to intervention-free labor. My aunt had a baby, epidural-free, in the UVA hospital a few years ago and only one nurse on the staff had ever seen or heard a woman deliver a baby without pain medication. My aunt had a really bad reaction to the epidural during her first delivery and really didn't want one the second time around--and she's lucky that a CPN happened to be on duty the night she gave birth.

Second, there's this piece about the importance of sleep for children and teens. The thesis of the article is that SLEEP IS IMPORTANT.

The effect [of lack of sleep] was indeed measurable—and sizable. The performance gap caused by an hour’s difference in sleep was bigger than the normal gap between a fourth-grader and a sixth-grader. Which is another way of saying that a slightly sleepy sixth-grader will perform in class like a mere fourth-grader. “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development,” Sadeh explains.

This article is specifically about people under the age of 21, and it is extremely convincing (it also features several skillfully art-directed photos of sleeping adolescents, which are kind of hilarious). As one of several articles recently published about the importance of sleep in general, however, we are newly-resolved around here to protect our PRECIOUS PRECIOUS SLEEP. Lack of sleep, studies show, impedes reaction time, judgement, and self-awareness. Our own personal "study" shows that lack of sleep makes you crabby and is bad for relationships. So don't call late, folks. We are heading to bed.


Beck said...

It's funny how unimportant sleep was BEFORE WE HAD KIDS, isn't it? And now it's like I GET TO SLEEP! HOORAY!

Jackson, Sheree, & Jason said...

Keep in mind that 100 years ago, when "natural" childbirth was the norm the maternal death rate was 6-9/1,000 births. Today it's 7.7/100,000. (CDC data)
I'm personally grateful to have delivered in a hospital that promoted all safe methods of laboring including exercise, breathing, water therapy, coaching, anaesthesia, and surgery. I benefitted from many of them. The holistic approaches should be combined with the technological.