Childbirth is a ridiculous experience, if you think about it. The pushing, the agony, the bleeding, the danger. And you’re telling me you have to push out that huge head out of that small canal? Thousands and millions of years of evolution, and this is the best nature could come up with?
In my 2 short weeks on Labor and Delivery, I witnessed two complicated deliveries. In one case, a woman had a protraction of labor and poor fetal heart tones due to umbilical cord wrapped around the neck, which required a vacuum assisted delivery. In another case, a woman ruptured her amniotic membrane with her baby in breech position, resulting in feet and umbilical cord twisted around each other in the birth canal – she was quickly rushed for an emergency C-section. In both cases, the babies did just fine. But even just a century ago, those babies probably would likely have died or been significantly injured in childbirth.
Even today, a lot of preventable maternal and fetal deaths occur in areas that don’t have access to quality healthcare. The WHO estimated that a little less than 300,000 women died during childbirth in 2010, mostly due to preventable causes. The stillbirth rate is also much higher than in developed countries. Clearly we’ve made a lot of progress in maternal-fetal morbidity and mortality, but there’s much more to be done.
Also, newborn babies are ridiculously cute.