Childbirth in the Age of Plastics
by Michel Odent
[2011, London: Pinter & Martin, Ltd, 130 pages, paperback.]
[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 100, Winter 2011/2012, © 2011, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Toni Rakestraw.]
Plastic has invaded our lives on almost every level, from the interiors of metal food cans to baby bottles and diapers. It has had a massive impact on medicine, too. Think of all the plastic catheters, bags of drugs and infusions, and plastic incubators for premature babies. While some worry about issues such as the hazards of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, without plastic we may not have developed neonatology or intensive care units. Michel Odent explores how plastic has changed medicine for both good and bad in his book, Childbirth in the Age of Plastics.
The use of cheap plastic has industrialized pregnancy and childbirth. Today, pregnancy and birth are normally looked at from a negative perspective, focusing on what can go wrong. Tests are more accessible and easier to perform, so more women get them whether or not they are truly necessary. This sets up the average pregnant woman to be in a constant state of worry. Industrialization, even with the advent of cheap plastics, has raised the costs of maternity care through overtreatment, excess testing and convenience.
Odent brings up the question of whether it is advisable to continue in this manner, increasing cesarean sections and ignoring the well-being of mothers, or to choose a more economic approach that meets the needs of mothers instead of industry.
This book would be useful for anyone studying today’s approach to modern childbirth.
Reviewer Toni Rakestraw worked as a doula before the demands of her children required her to stay home. Now, she spends her time writing and editing book manuscripts in between interruptions.