…means “obstetrician” in Latin. The verb “obstare” means to hinder, obstruct. A famous Czech authority on obstetrics states that this is simply “to prevent a future problem”.

I have been invited to a discussion about childbirths by a group of enthusiasts who unfortunately haven’t quite thought it through. My opponent in the discussion was supposed to be the doyen of the Czech obstetrics. He had started his studies of medicine in 1948 and is an author of several publications such as “From Midwifery to Obstetrics” or the most recent one “The Obstetric Surgeries” (which was published in 2007). I smelled a rat, because with all due respect to his expertise in obstetric surgeries, I knew that this elderly man is not likely to debate on any alternatives to what he had been practising for long years of his service. After some consideration I decided to decline the invitation. Just the thought, that an obstetrician of his calibre would openly admit that the main problem of the obstetrics is exactly the cognitive dissonant way of thinking he himself represents and practices, is a pure sci-fi.

 This obstetrician, an expert on standard and surgical hospital births, also said this: “When the baby is suffocating inside its mother’s womb, there is no information passed to the mother. The foetus itself is just a heterotransplant, it simply reside there (in the womb), being supplied nutrients from its mother. The idea of unity between mother and her baby is nice but not valid in real life. That is why the role of an obstetrician is most crucial in the whole process of childbirth.” Feel the arrogance? As if women were incapable of giving birth on their own without a qualified obstetrician? Well, his opinions are entirely the other side of the spectrum of opinions I can relate to and agree with, and not just me but a number of other authorities on childbirths. The most famous critic of the health system establishment, Dr. Hnizdil said: “We are all but passengers of the health system called Titanic. Its mammoth ego, arrogance, corruption and focus on treatments rather than prevention are putting our health and lives at risk.”

 Dr. Helena Maslova who helps women suffering from health problems following difficult and traumatic childbirths agrees: “Before, the newborn baby would remain with its mother straight after the birth and would have been flooded with her bacteria (the best natural protection). Furthermore, through the breastfeeding, it would have received all of the antibodies it needed to build its own healthy immune system. Today, the first “punch” comes in newborn baby being contaminated by the hospital pathogens and bacteria instead, and its immune system is further attacked by vaccination and/or the formula milk. Thanks to moving all childbirths to hospital, there is significantly smaller number of deaths (babies and mothers), however ALL childbirths, even the most simple physiological ones (which are in vast majority) are now part of the hospital treatments. One doesn’t need a medical degree to attend to such childbirth. Even women in a coma have given births. During natural childbirth, the state of woman’s mind somewhat changes, and what is absolutely necessary is undisturbed and calm environment and that is just not happening with the hospital births.”

 One well known midwife (I will not name for legal reasons) is being accused of attempting to “harm” future mothers and babies by trying to open a small birth house (the battle has taken around 10 years and counting). She will soon be due her date in court, and the ridiculous accusations are led by exactly this expert. She wrote to me: Professor knows precious little about natural births. I’m under the impression that he strongly opposes even the role of a midwife. If you have the nerves to “debate” with him, then you should go.. But I struggle to see the meaning of arguing with him. He is a man of certain age, unwilling to accept any other views on the subject. Just a debate is not likely to make any impact whatsoever on the state of obstetrics.”

 Of course it’s all about the money. The caesarean section is twice to three times more expensive than the normal physiological birth. And while the International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians are opposing the voluntary choice of caesareans (by mothers who are “too posh to push”), here in Czech Republic the number of caesarean sections rapidly grows year by year. Recent statistics show that the number of women giving birth through caesareans today is more than 20%, while in 1990 it was only 7.7%. Even the World Health Organization states that this is indeed a negative trend.

 Dr. Helena Maslova also says: “It is the wrongly run childbirths that contribute greatly to the high percentage of divorces in Western countries. Anxious mother always transfers her anxiety to her child, who is likely to become neurotic and incapable of creating and maintaining healthy relationships.” And I dare to say that in my layman opinion (formed in the past 15 years), a more healthy and natural way would be to give birth “in the hay” – for the lack of better expression. It is the systematic effort to medicalize all births that mainly contributes to the state of the political, social, economical and ecological crisis of our country (and the world).

 This is a citation from the Aperio organisation (published in 2008): “The recent study of the Health Consumer Powerhouse organisation, the Czech health system is the 5th worst in the EU; the attitude towards the patients being its weakest point. Women who want alternatives to the standard hospital births are left with two options – either decide to give birth at hospital and request a change to their ‘modus operandi’ (and subsequently risk being mob lynched by the obstetricians and other such experts) or attempt to give birth at home. In CzechRepublic, there is no other way to give birth.”

 Coming back the full circle to the first paragraph of this article, the “obstruction” – in every sense of the word, is creeping up into our lives systematically and epidemically. One of the dictionary definition of the word “obstruction” says it is “the delaying or preventing of business before a deliberative body, especially a legislative group, by parliamentary contrivances.” Ha! Now that is fitting, isn’t it!