Numbers, numbers, numbers

21 March 2011 at 1:45 am 1 comment

Over the weekend I visited with a really good friend who has a brand-new baby–just fourteen days old when we saw her. My friend (a programmer, so someone who values numbers and precision) said that one thing that frustrated her was how reticent her doctors were to give her any numbers–stats–about birth. When she in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, she kept asking her doctors about what she could expect during labor, but all she got were very vague responses.

“Labor can take two hours or six days,” her doctor told her at one point, which my friend found–understandably–completely unhelpful.

I’m sympathetic here–I do think that some people really are just more numbers-focused than others, and would benefit from hearing some stats. But I think a couple things were going on (though this is just my speculation) to account for her doctor’s reluctance: I think sometimes caregivers hedge, not wanting to raise expectations or pin themselves down to anything, when birth is, of course, a process that moves on its own time, but I think also sometimes caregivers (especially doctors) just want to give a fast, off-the-cuff answer rather than take the time to educate the patient, talk to the patient, and really have a conversation.

My friend said she just wanted to hear a median, or something, for the length of labor of first labors, but that no one was forthcoming with a number.

What do you think? Did you/would you want such a number? How would it have helped you to know that?



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Christine  |  21 March 2011 at 10:02 am

    I can’t imagine any data along those lines that would be the least bit reliable. It would have to control for too many variables (position of baby for example, or more so variations in labor augmentation from having AROM / membranes swept to the typical pit / cervadil induction).

    I personally think the most helpful thing to be mindful of is that I have little control over how my labor will start and progress. I can do what within my power to make sure I’m as healthy and fit as possible and perhaps encourage my baby to prefer being in a position favorable for labor. Beyond that it’s all about accepting things will progress as they will and I will deal with whatever it takes to deliver my baby.


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