Even the most skilled and experienced midwives
need help sometimes. For example, severe
hemorrhage, eclampsia, or a prolapsed cord
cannot be treated at home. These types of health
problems can be solved only by using tools and
skills available in a medical center or hospital.
This book suggests times you should get
medical advice, get medical help, or go to a medical
center or hospital. Sometimes you will have to decide for yourself that you need
help. For example, there are probably procedures explained in this book that you
have not been trained to do. You should get help from someone with experience,
instead of trying to learn to do these procedures just from reading about them.
What medical centers and hospitals
Hospitals and medical centers have life-saving tools, equipment, people with
advanced training in medical skills, and medicines that you may not be able to get
at home. Most hospital procedures are very useful when they are necessary. And
sometimes these procedures and tools are the only way to save women’s lives.
In this chapter, we list some of the types of help you may be able to get at a
medical center or hospital. We give ideas for when to get help and how to work
with hospital staff and other health workers.
Remember: For most labors, advanced medical tools and procedures
are not needed. In many hospitals, these tools are used much more
than they should be. For example, pregnant women do not usually
need to have a sonogram (a picture of the baby inside the womb).
But at many hospitals, every pregnant woman is given one. Hospitals
and doctors may do procedures that are not just unnecessary but also
dangerous. For example, doctors may do an episiotomy (cut the
vaginal opening) at every birth. This is not needed and can cause
infection and other problems after the birth.