Medicine: Word from the Experts

A lot of doctors, mostly men, have argued that pain in childbirth is a good, natural thing. Some have held that pain makes the mother love her baby more, others that the worst of the pain is really caused by fear. Finally, somebody thought to ask some broadly qualified experts—women physicians who have had children of their own.

The British Council of the Medical Women's Federation asked 300 doctor-mothers: Is relief of pain in childbirth necessary? The overwhelming response, reported by the British Medical Journal: yes. Of 196 who replied, 184 were in favor of drugs in the delivery room; only eight...

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