Mama to Mama Wisdom: The Safety of Natural Birth

If you are an advocate for birth as it should be, natural and fearless, you have probably time and time again heard something like this:

"Well, natural birth is fine, but my baby and I would have died had we not been in the hospital for birth.  I am so grateful for the doctors and modern medicine."

While it is true that modern medicine certainly does save women and babies, it seems obvious that it's overuse is common to the point of being damaging, both body and soul.  

Some of our mamas respond to this idea.  Enjoy their wisdom.  

Most likely what they would have died from was caused from being in the hospitals around doctors in the first place!

Women were having babies way before hospitals existed... If more people need special care nowadays, we have to find the cause. When human plays with Nature, the consequences are unknown for a period of time, but eventually we all suffer for it.

I thought the same, until I learned the reason my daughter had such a horrible birth was from the pitocin they gave me. When you are taught the natural pitocin in your body works in waves from top to bottom, and the kind I was given makes everything cramp causing distress - it makes me angry! Had I known that I'd never have agreed.

 Well I did take that argument on a week ago in real life. I said hemorrhage was the big killer. And I asked her if she knew that herbs can stop hemorrhage immediately. And then I asked her if she knew that midwives can carry Pitocin for 3rd stage management. I told her home birth isn't about denying technology or medicine. It's about accepting that NORMAL bodily processes don't NEED technology or medicine. And when things aren't normal, you seek out a doctor/hospital.

If you look at the results of nurse midwives and doctors in the 1920s/30s from the work Mary Breckinridge did in Appalachia, you will see that she had better results than physicians in the hospitals by attending women in their homes, birthing centers, and hospitals. Look at Ina May Gaskin's statistics for The Farm. Yes, there are some dismal statistics for maternal mortality in the old days, but the reasons for many of those problems were nutritional, having baby after baby before being recovered, working extremely hard while pregnant, and some mistakes in medical care such as not washing hands. Lay midwifery was fine in most cases and they did what they could do, adding in some modern medical training helped with situations that they weren't used to. If we had the nutrition and general health we have now, then, we wouldn't have the dismal statistics.

I'd argue that none of us would be here if that were the case, without ancestors from way back doing it without doctors or technology we wouldn't exist! Sure there may be a few less of us due to maternal or infant death but not as many as modern medicine would have us believe!

If i have any more children they will not be in a hospital. my first born almost died BECAUSE of them and with my second I still didn't understand there were options!!

My husband argued the other day that before birth was hospitalized there were far more deaths in both mothers and children. I didn't know what to say to him, now I do! Also, my midwifes carry all medical equipment with them and act on the spot. If the birth is not going "normal way" they know way before the final stage and they transfer you to the hospital. My midwife said she never had a situation when she had to go in the ambulance. They are trained well to recognize symptoms of distress and if something is wrong, the hospital is for that. But I don't want to be an object again, had medical procedures which names are new to me done on me because they're standard. I don't want to be laughed at or rolled eyes at because I have questions and want things my way. I want to be a subject, in charge, I want to own the labor. I will never again let anyone treat the way they treated me in the hospital, unless it endangers my or baby's life.

  And a note on how we deliver the message and listen to and respect other women and their fears-

 I think it's important to be sensitive to where the woman you're talking to is in her life. Every woman, including YOU, deserves the respect of feeling some ownership and closure about her birth experience. Asking a lot of questions about the birth with a pure and open heart, and if you have permission to engage, is important, and never judging about an experience that is already in the past and can't change is also essential. If you're talking to a woman who hasn't given birth yet, or is about to, answering questions or delivering solid information (not emotional), is appropriate. Talking to a woman who is supporting a friend or relative with HER birth is a great place to get passionate, someone who won't be personally injured by the conversation.



Lis said…
Thanks so much for this artical, it is so refreashing to read a gentel mothering artical that DOSN'T imply that if you have a hospital birth your doing the wrong thing!
We have no homebirth options in our town, the closest homebirth midwife is 4 hours away! I was very traumatised by my pregancy(severe Hyperemisis) so going anywhere near a hospital scare the s#*% out of me, but as there was no other options hospital it was. And I am now forever greatful for that! My son had some issuses in the birthing process and would not have made it had we gone for a home birth(and I'm not just saying that)!
IN SAYING THAT: I knew what i was doing and what i was in for in the birthing process and had full control over my birth and how i did it :) I like to think i had a home birth that just happened to be in a hospital :)
Mama Birth said…
Lis! Thanks for joining us! I love homebirth but I have had a hospital birth too and I "get" it- even if it isn't the only option-