Saturday, July 23, 2011

Notes from a day-long lecture with Michel Odent - Part 1

Long promised notes from the lecture I attended with Michel Odent at the Midwifery Today conference in Eugene, Oregon back in April. Text that is offset are roughly paraphrased quotes, scrawled as I heard them spoken. The rest is a summarization in my words.

Make sure you turn on the French accent in your brain for full effect.

On becoming radical
It is time to stop being politically correct and to talk about the situation as it is. Nice terms like "turning point" are not relevant. To accurately discuss what is happening in natural birth, we need words like "abyss" or "trap."
He was really emphatic about this - that he was at a point in the discourse when trying to be appropriate or accessible was no longer important, that we can't look for shifts or movements, that we have to speak radically because the reality of birth today is radical. And he's talking about home and birth center settings, too.

On pitocin

Pitocin drips are the most common intrevention. Almost no births take place (in the Western world) without some amount of synthetic oxytocin. A birth is considered to be normal and natural despite a continuous drip of pitocin through the labor. You'll see it ignored as a factor in research, and certainly in the medical culture. We have no idea of the long term implications of giving synthetic oxytocin to, practically speaking, all birthing mothers.
The number women who birth without the hormone of love approaches zero.
Coming soon: Part 2, On three recent studies questioning home birth safety, and why they're right.


  1. darn, i would have really wanted to see the part 2 of this. but i understand.

  2. I may end up posting this one anyway, it's really been weighing on me. I'm getting together with other people that went to this conference over the next few weeks to talk through some of what we learned so I might be ready to put it out there at that point (meeting some of that need for collaboration that I have, also to make sure I didn't misunderstand or make shit up - It's pretty ballsy reporting for someone as prolific as Michel Odent and I wouldn't want to misrepresent what he said.) So thanks for both being understanding and letting me know that you were interested in that particular post.