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A bit Biblical, surely?

More women should endure the agony of labour because pain-relieving drugs, including epidural injections, carry serious medical risks, diminish childbirth as a rite of passage and undermine the mother\’s bond with her child.

These claims from Dr Denis Walsh, one of the country\’s most influential midwives, have prompted a furious reaction, with other experts saying he has exaggerated the risks of having an epidural. Official figures show that the number of mothers-to-be who receive an epidural, general or spinal anaesthetic has soared in recent years to 36.5%.

Walsh, a senior midwife and associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, argues that many women avoid experiencing the discomfort of childbirth because hospital maternity staff are too quick to offer an epidural or agree to a woman in labour\’s request for a pain-killing injection in her back to ease her suffering.

\”A large number of women want to avoid pain. Some just don\’t fancy the pain [of childbirth]. More women should be prepared to withstand pain,\” he told the Observer. \”Pain in labour is a purposeful, useful thing, which has quite a number of benefits, such as preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby.\”


Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and
thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;

Is strict Biblical Christianity alive and well and hiding in midwifery?

10 thoughts on “A bit Biblical, surely?”

  1. No. Just sadists.

    “A large number of women want to avoid pain.”

    Why, yes, they do indeed, doc. In fact, you might say a large number of people want to avoid pain.

    Let’s put it to the test – have you had ‘the snip’? No? Good. I’ll do it for you.

    No pain relief, of course. It’s necessary to prepare you for the responsibility of being a ****….

  2. “Pain in labour is a purposeful, useful thing”

    No it’s not, you mediaeval cunt. It’s a response to a biological signal which can be wholly ameliorated by the means of modern medical science. There is nothing more purposeful or useful in it than a third of mothers and infants dying in childbirth.

  3. Mrs F commented that it’s funny how it’s always male doctors / midwives who say this; Dr Crippen said much the same whilst laying into “madwives” as he calls them, a few months ago. But then he always does seem to have part of his persona firmly engaged in “I am God” (or at least “I am a God”) mode, like many doctors.

    I suspect that a major motivation for encouraging epidurals is actually that in some way it benefits the apparatus or staff of the State-controlled system, but to suggest that pain control should be avoided because of risk is a little like suggesting no one should drive because it’s risky to a greater or lesser extent.

  4. There is probably no more salient example of the ‘doctor-knows-best’ syndrome in the West than in the prescription of pain medication. Because opioids and benzodiazepenes were over-prescribed in years gone by, and do have a very genuine danger of addiction, woe betide you if you have a severe, chronic pain condition (like I do). You’ll be fobbed off with NSAIDs (or COX II inhibitors if you’re lucky,) when what you really need is hydrocodone or oxycodone (or Demerol or Fentanyl in extreme cases). And if you can get the -codone opioids, they’ll be stuffed with paracetamol (as a ‘potentiator’) to make sure that if you want to let rip and take a holiday from pain your liver will pack up.

    I can get codeine+diclofenac off scrip, but codeine metabolises to morphine at 1/6 of the actual dose, so two 50mg tablets is equivalent to half a low-dose Oramorph. It sort of works, but not really.

  5. FormerTory’s words can be read two ways, so I’d like to stress that Dr Crippen’s opinion…

    “Dr Crippen has always been and remains furious at the so called health care professionals who, in the name of “natural” childbirth, persist in teaching mothers-to-be that they have failed if they have an epidural. If you want an epidural, have one, and don’t let anyone suggest to you that singing “Ten Green Bottles” is a substitute.”

    I do wonder why only mothers need pain to live up to their responsibilities. Perhaps the midwife should have hit me in the hand with a hammer when my first child was born, but I’m not sure it would have helped.

  6. Mr P, they’d give you a wedgie with broken glass to make the experience more ‘authentic’ if they thought they could get away with it.

  7. Mr Potarto, you’re quite right of course. I completely mis-remembered Dr Crippen’s views and I unreservedly apologise to him for implying that he thought women should have it tough.

    We can all be unwitting fools sometimes. This is my turn.

  8. Filtering out the NewAge, feminist bollox (which sounds like it’s been learned from the back of a fruit loops packet) it seems Dr Walsh would have the medical professions return to the practices of the mediaeval barber-surgeon.

    Is it churlish to wonder whether Dr Walsh would view the “life-affirming” nature of pain in childbirth slightly more realistically if his own biological plumbing was a little bit different?

    It certainly seems fair to wonder which august institution awarded this sadistic loon a doctorate.

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