The movement for natural physiological birth in Panama is irreversible.
This picture was taken by a very extraordinary American midwife. At that moment, we were in Arizona with the impressive Grand Canyon behind us. It was April of this year and we had been invited to participate at the Indie Birth national conference. The organisers were interested to hear first hand from us about our experiences attending mothers in Panama and promoting natural birth in both the hospital and home birth setting. We presented two lectures on our experience offering water and home births in our country. We were treated like royalty.
Last week, the private hospital where we have worked for the last 20 years, informed us that, as of that moment, we had lost our hospital privileges. We were effectively prohibited form continuing our work seeing patients and attending births in their establishment. In addition, the hospital administration contacted our patients individually and directed them to immediately change their doctor or hospital. The reason given was our non-compliance with hospital policy. In fact, they were not happy because our promotion of natural birth disrupts their 80% caesarean rate; an unacceptable number!
Who is being disrespected by the hospitals’ action? Us, no!
Thousands of women who are tired of being forced to birth by caesarean without legitimate reason, women who deserve the right to choose natural birth, who want to move freely and choose their own positions in labour and who are tired of being separated from their newborns’ at birth. Women who are tired of indiscriminate use of medications to accelerate and control their labour patterns, rather than trusting in the natural process. Women who deserve the right to have doulas to assist them in their labours and who deserve support breastfeeding. Women who are tired of having the sacred first 90 minutes after birth being disturbed. This essential bonding period is most important for the baby to smell the mother, to hear her mother and father’s voice, to look into each others eyes. These are only examples of a system that is not listening to what many women are asking for!
The natural physiological birth movement in Panama is irreversible!
What has been achieved in Panama so far is not our success, it is the achievement of women and their families to choose for themselves how they will birth. We have received hundreds of calls, texts and emails from women and their families supporting us and defending their rights.
Dr. Graciela Anhel & Dr. Rodrigo Aybar