Like the story of my birth. My mom had a straightforward unmedicated delivery of my older sister in Washington state with a supportive nurse who coached her through the process. When she was pregnant with me and living in Rochester, MN (home of the Mayo Clinic), she assumed that the next birth would be much the same.
So she was astonished when she found herself upside down during my birth. Literally. Her doctor had a theory that giving birth upside-down would prevent hemorrhoids. He hung my mother by her ankles from the ceiling, with only her shoulder blades touching the bed. Without her permission. She was screaming to be let down, to no avail. I made my entrance into the world in a rather unconventional fashion.
To top it off, she has never had hemorrhoids with any of her five children, no matter what position she gave birth in.
But that was a generation ago, you're thinking. Surely we're more enlightened now.
Remember the BirthTrack?
Oh yeah. Well, but...
How about the Hem-Avert Perianal Stablizer Device? This FDA-approved medical device, which one commenter on At Your Cervix described as "something that belongs in the S&M section of a sex store, not in L&D," is supposed to prevent hemorrhoids due to childbirth.
Looks really comfortable!
Then there's the Materna medical device that is supposed to prevent tears by stretching the vagina for 1-2 hours before the baby is born.
Please hop on over and complete the survey about the Materna. Here's an excerpt from page 3:
It is has been shown [argh! bad grammar!] that 8 out of 10 women will have some degree of tearing during childbirth. These tears can range from from small vaginal tears, to tears that extend from the vagina all the way through the anus. Additionally, there can be invisible damage to your pelvic muscles which can lead to consequences later in life. Short term consequences include infection, extended pain, and longer recovery times. Long-term consequences may include pelvic organ prolapse, loss of urinary and fecal control, and potential sexual dysfunction.Both Navelgazing Midwife and Dou-la-la have comment on the Materna. Go read their posts for a good laugh.
Materna has developed a device that may be able to decrease some of the pelvic damage and the resulting complications that can arise as a result of childbirth. The device is a semi-automated mechanical vaginal dilator similar in design to a standard obstetrician’s speculum.
The soft, blue portion is inserted into the vagina after you arrive at the hospital or birthing center in labor, and will require 1-2 hours of dilation time before delivery. A medical provider will control the expansion of the device, which will gradually stretch the vaginal tissue during labor. The device can be easily removed at any time, and will pose no harm to the baby.
By dilating the vagina over 1-2 hours instead of the rapid dilation which normally occurs during childbirth, perhaps some of the pelvic damage can be prevented. The idea is similar to an athlete stretching muscles before a workout to increase flexibility and prevent injury. The device will be removed before you deliver, and should never come in contact with your baby.
Then finally, there's the Cervo-Check. It's a prototype device that goes inside the vagina to detect early signs of pre-term labor.
L&D nurse & student nurse-midwife blogger At Your Cervix commented:
1. Painful and hugeSeriously, my bottom hurts just thinking about all these devices. Clips on my cervix, inflatable dildo in my vagina, plastic V pushing against my rectum...SIGN ME UP!
2. You want to stick that where???
3. Will in fact irritate the cervix more. Hello - manual stimulation to the cervix/a device touching the cervix is going to trigger more prostaglandin release --& contractions!