Monday, December 10, 2012

One Size Does NOT Fit All

In the use of general medicine, we assume that the medication prescribed or taken OTC is administered in a customized dosage, based on age and weight and after learning about the patient's history and individual risks. Often, people consent to lab tests and genetic tests to confirm their individual needs and risks.

But when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and post partum interventions, they have a common thread:

They are all the same.

Think about it. Every body is different, right? Women: your breasts are different from your sister's, and your mother's, and your friend's right? Your breasts began growing at an age right for you, at a pace right for you, and reached their own size in their own time, different from any one else.

But every single baby boy receives the same circumcision at roughly the same time after birth, in roughly the same way with the same methods. We don't know how big his penis is going to grow, or how fast, or when. Your baby gets one size fits all surgery, regardless of penis size, foreskin size, and amount of pain receptors.

If your bra fit is important, what about his surgery fit?
Think about it. Babies come in all different sizes and weights, right? If you have several children, they most likely all measured and weighed differently after birth. Some babies are born very light, and gain quickly. Some babies are born very heavy and gain slowly, and everything in between.

But every single baby receives the same dosage of synthetic vitamin K. Every single baby receives the same dosage of vaccines. One baby born weighing 6 pounds will get the same dosage in his shots as the next baby weighing 10 pounds. Your baby gets one size fits all injections, regardless of family history, genetic polymorphisms, and individual health risks.

The baby on the left is 3 weeks and 2 days older than
the baby on the right. They are expected to get the same injections.
Think about it. Every baby arrives at a different time, right? Some babies arrive right on the dot of their estimated due date, a big accomplishment since studies indicate only 5% of babies do this! Some babies arrive very early and some babies arrive only after testing their mothers’ patience for weeks. Science shows us that brain development moves quickly week to week in the last stage of pregnancy. A baby born at 37 weeks has a very different brain from a baby born at 41 weeks. They are at different stages of development, even indicated by a difference in brain size.

But every single baby gets the same exposure to Pitocin or to other birth drugs. Every baby will have his or her brain washed in the same amounts of these drugs and at roughly the same intervals in birth as most hospitals have a routine way of progressing pregnancy. And even for those babies who don’t receive augmented or induced exposure to Pitocin, almost all babies will be exposed when the mother is routinely injected with Pitocin at the end. Your baby gets one size fits all hormonal/chemical exposure, regardless of heart health (the preservative in Pitocin damages heart muscle), brain development and neural health.

Avery was born at 23 weeks weighing 1lb, 5oz. Does she need
the same medication, injections, dosages as...
Ava, born at 33 weeks weighing 5lbs, 10oz?
Or Kassie, born weighing 7lbs, 14oz?
Or Alexander, born weighing 9lbs, 6oz?
Think about it. Every body has a different kind of stomach and different way of being hungry. Everyone is hungry at different times and for different things, and for different amounts. Additionally, babies all have tiny stomachs at birth. In their own tiny way.

I'm not kidding about tiny. Now, think about the size of those "newborn
ready to feed" bottles. See the issue?
But babies given formula will receive a routinely whopping amount. They will all receive the same kind of formula, made in the same way, with the same mix of synthetic vitamins from the same animal in the same amount. Your baby gets one size fits all food, regardless of genetics, gut flora and nutritional needs.

Born at 35 weeks weighing 4lbs, 12oz.
Do you think Tamara's and Kendra's babies need the same
kind and amount of nutrition?
You see, when it comes to routine interventions, every baby will get the same number of injections, the same kind of antibiotic in the eyes, the same surgery, the same pain medication (if any), the same birth drugs, the same formula and more. Even if mamas want to breastfeed, they will be encouraged to nurse their children the same way, for the same time on each side.

Think about the contrast with this example. Tommy, born at 28 weeks weighing 3lbs with a midline defect that indicates a potential genetic polymorphism, will get the same Pitocin, the same vitamin K, the same eye antibiotics, the same vaccines and the same circumcision as Jimmy, born at 42 weeks weighing 11lbs without any indication of underlying genetic conditions.

Question routine interventions. They are not evidence-based. They are not customized to the needs and risks of your individual children.

Why are you taking the time to carefully measure out a weight-based dosage of Tylenol for your baby before she goes in for 10 vaccines that are all the same?
Why are you carefully measuring out a spoonful of formula containing a completely homogenous set of synthetic nutrients and milk from the same animal species?
Why are you focused on timing contractions created by the same dosage of Pitocin?
Why do you pay so much attention to the size and growth of your son, but consent to circumcision on a newborn penis?

This is your baby, who has an individual body with individual health needs and individual family history and genetics. Demand evidence-based, individual care. Your baby deserves it.


  1. And this is why I had my son at home... waterbirth with no medication, no interventions, NO genital mutilation! Only breastmilk, and we fed when he said he was hungry. (We made it 2.5 years breastfeeding!) He was welcomed into this world lovingly, and gently... and he has grown into the coolest 3 year old I know! <3