Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Change #36 A Tribute to Family Practice at UNM and the Changing Attitudes of Doctors

Hi Birth Peeps,

Happy New Year. 
I didn't make too many new year resolutions. Of the three I made, number one is to finish the book, Birth as a Hero's Journey. But I did make another: to blog once a week. Maybe we'll get to the 50th way to change birth in our culture this year. I was kind of hesitating to put too many eggs in that basket just in case the Mayan calendar was right. So here we go.

On December 7, I was invited by Drs. Larry Leeman and Jen Phillips to give a little talk about birthing from within and birth as a hero's journey at Family Practice Grand Rounds at the University of New Mexico Hospital. The room was packed with young docs who I think were just beginning their OB rotation. Larry and Jen had prepared a wonderful power point presentation orienting the new docs to the philosophy of care that they are cultivating at UNM Hospital labor and delivery.  

Wow!

Larry and Jen took turns describing the importance of mothers being up, walking about, delayed cord cutting, and doulas... among other things we know matter. The last comment was that women remember the day they give birth, this day matters. The message was to do their best to make the birth experience memorable.

I sat there and said to myself, "This is really amazing. This is not a conversation or orientation new doctors would have had a decade or more ago!" A room full of new doctors were being oriented to mother-centered, midwifery-tinged care... in addition to their medical ob training which still prevails and should in a hospital. (I want to add there are nurse-midwives at this hospital, too, so the midwifery model is also practiced there.)  

And yet, under the supervision and modeling from Larry, Jen, Mary and other experienced Family Practice docs and midwives, these new doctors are going to see a different kind of birth management than docs see elsewhere or would have seen anywhere a decade ago.
During this rotation, these new docs are going to have different kind of conversations about cases; they are going to learn to listen to parents and learn how to support them emotionally as well as providing safe birth care. (I recently witnessed the a warm, midwifery-home birth-like hospital birth attended by great nurses and Dr. Leeman... so I know he walks his talk, and this message is one they sincerely want to make happen.)

When these docs graduate and leave UNM and scatter in towns across the country, they will take this philosophical seed of care with them. 

And this... the changing attitudes and practice of doctors... is changing birth in our culture.
Hats off to Drs. Larry Leeman, Jen Phillips and all the docs and midwives at UNM.


Pam

 

4 comments:

  1. I love your blog! And can't wait to read your new book. Maybe it helps me to finish my Return...this third Return looks like it's never going to end.
    With love and best wishes in 2013.
    Hana

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  2. I, too, am seeing changes in the hospitals and it is refreshing and hopeful. So glad to hear your take on this, Pam. So excited for the gestation and birth of your new book. This will be an important piece of the birth-puzzle. Thank you.

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  3. Just stumbled upon this blog entry and can say with great satisfaction that I too am feeling/ have felt the mama centered focus at our university hospital.

    Hooray to the patience and love that doulas, midwives, and doctors can generate together as a team!

    Much love to you Pam as you continue your beautiful writing journey!

    Elizabeth

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  4. So good to hear, Pam! I teach at an incredible (and small) hospital in my town, and they are so excited to have me teaching Birthing From Within and a two-hour class called "Preparing Your Body for Birth" that is half prenatal yoga and half pain-coping and BFW-style rite of passage work. Oh the times they are a changing (in a lot of places, at least :)!

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