Pregnancy can be smooth for some women, but for many, it is exhausting and painful. For example, a pregnant woman’s organs shift to make room for the baby, and this can cause significant discomfort. Then there is childbirth, which has been described as the worst pain a human can experience. It used to be that many women in the United States died in childbirth, and while the numbers are better now, it still poses a serious risk.
One reason is that some doctors focus too much on the baby at the expense of the mother. This does not have to happen. There is room for both mother and child to receive the care they need.
Lack of training
When aspiring maternal-fetal doctors study, there may be a focus on the babies and not on the mothers. So, doctors may go into the delivery room unequipped with practical knowledge about how to help the mother, plus there is the subconscious bias that the baby matters more.
During labor and after the baby is born, health care providers monitor the child carefully. The mother, not so much. In fact, they may not monitor her blood pressure at all for hours despite the fact that changes are an easy way to indicate potentially serious issues.
When it is time to release the baby from the hospital, again, the focus is on issues such as caring for the child and breastfeeding. Mothers rarely get any information on indicators that they might need medical help.
One reason for this disregard of mothers at many hospitals could be societal attitudes that mothers would do anything for their children and that everyone else comes first. In fact, if you ask mothers if they would rather a doctor focus on them or on their babies, many would answer the babies. Babies cannot speak for themselves, and birth injuries to the baby can result in cerebral palsy and other types of birth trauma or even death.
However, it is not a choice any mother should have to make.