36 Obvious Reasons You Are Capable of Natural Birth

We hear so much negativity about birth these days that it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle that women are divinely designed to birth babies. This is a miracle, but it is also so totally normal and a simple bodily function. Here are a few reminders (yes, many of them obvious) of the truth that we have forgotten about our bodies.

1. You are a woman
2. Your mother was a woman and she gave birth to you.
3. As was your grandmother and all of their mothers before them.
4. Women have literally for 1000's of years been doing this and surviving. The proof is that we are all HERE.
5. Medical doctors stepped into birth only about 100 years ago, and yet people were breeding successfully all that time before.
6. You have a vagina.
7. You got pregnant.
8. You are gestating beautifully.
9. All the discomforts and aches and pains, though possibly annoying, prove that your body is DOING its job.
10. You have breasts.
11. Those breasts exist in large part for one reason: to feed your offspring.
12. Your monthly cycle.
13. Many natural urges exist in part to bring about this child.
14. Your growing abdomen.
15. Your extra weight gain.
16. Your full breasts.
17. Your food cravings.
18. Your pre-labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions show that your body is preparing to birth.
19. Stretch marks indicate growth and fertility.
20. The epidural= new invention.
21. The episiotomy= also, new (and unnecessary).
22. The c-section= again new, and yet, women most often survived birth during all those years.
23. Your bones and ligaments are moving and softening to open for the baby.
24. You have hips.
25. You have a pelvis, and it is very different than that of a man.
26. Your pelvis, though bony is movable.
27. Have a big butt? Embrace it- it is a sign of your fertility.
28. Small butt? That's OK too- you will just fit in your skinny jeans faster. Your pelvis still moves.
29. Your ancestors for 1000's of years gave birth with no medical intervention, and they must have survived, because, here you are! (I know, a repeat- it is important!)
30. Birth is the natural end and climax of the act of making love.
31. Worried about birth pain? Don't be. Contractions are natures way of letting you know that your baby is coming. Without this warning system, we could drop our babies ANYWHERE, safe or not. The birth process is necessary preparation for a safe arrival.
32. Your baby moves- he or she is preparing you to love them.
33. Your babies movement also shows how good you are (without even trying I might add) at feeding and growing a baby.
34. All prenatal tests are new inventions. Your ancestors also gave birth without these.
35. Even 50 years ago the c-section rate was around 4%. This "need" for constant surgery is a new occurrence.
36. Worried about motherhood? The birth process and all its stages are also helping prepare you to mother with confidence. The lessons you learn in labor (faith, excitement, hard work, pain, joy, giving up, euphoria) will all be repeated over and over as you raise your children. It is natures preparation for mothering.


love these reasons! LOVE THEM! especially 31!
mealzrox88 said…
I like it too, especially for me #4 :-)

One of the things that is often said that scares a lot of women (myself included!) is "Yes women have been given birth for 1000's of years but think about how many of them and their babies DIED from it..."
I mean come on, that's pretty scary for anyone. Not hard to think "OMG..what if that person who would have died 100 years ago, and before modern medicine, was ME or MY baby?"

Yet logically, as you pointed out, women have been giving birth successfully literally since the start of time. A third of all births in my country are C/S...100 years ago did a third of woman die from childbirth? Did a third of their babies die from childbirth? I don't know the exact numbers but surely, logically, we can assume they weren't that high.

On a personal note, I was told, by a well meaning family member after my first birth went terribly 'wrong' was "Gosh, if this had happened 100 years ago, you would have died". After some healing, I realised I would not have died. Because I wouldn't have been induced, had an epidural, episiotomy, or any of the other interventions that led to the accident happening.
Who knows? Maybe I would have been better off a hundred years ago ;-)

Thanks for your posts Mama Birth, I am finding them great in building my confidence up again in this natural, amazing birth process :-)
Aimee said…
I love this post, and I am so sad that a completely natural (as in home, or at least birth center) birth is not for me. :( I'm a natural minded mama cursed with chronic illnesses (diabetes and hypertension), which means that I cannot have a midwife, since no midwives will work with diabetic, let alone hypertensive, patients. During my first labor, my blood pressure spiked very dangerously high, and I ended up with medical interventions I never wanted to have. So, while many, and probably even most, women can have a natural birth, some of us are not destined for such. :(
Jill said…
Meal, I got the "100 years ago" comment as well, from the midwives who attended my hospital birth turned C-section. 100 years ago, I would have been upright for most of my pregnancy, working my home garden and tending my livestock, which would have provided me with a much more nutritious diet than the fast food I was eating, and I wouldn't have had a posterior baby as a result of a leisurely, reclined lifestyle. I also wouldn't have been stuck in bed on my back, cementing that posterior baby into place and narrowing my pelvis to make it even harder for him to get out. I would have labored upright, been able to eat and drink to keep my energy up, stood or squatted with the help of women from my family and the community, and birthed my 7 lb. baby.

They tried to tell me that I couldn't give birth to a baby bigger than 6 lbs. after my C-section. I pretty much replicated my "100 years ago" birth at home and had an 8 lb. 4 oz. baby.

Mama Birth, I am LOVING your blog! When I ever get around to updating my blogroll (full of bloggers who never even write anymore, kinda like me), you're going on it!
sacredma said…
Thanks for the great post, going to share!
Shi said…
Love this post!!
Shannon said…
@Aimee: I hope you read these comments again.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not settle yourself upon not being able to have a midwife! It CAN be done for you! Diabetes and hypertension considered. I developed HELLP syndrome with two pregnancies, pre-eclampsia with all three. I thought there was no way I'd be able to have a natural pregnancy with a midwife since I now have chronic hypertension as well as the knowledge of a condition that increases my risks of blood clots. I was even told with my last pregnancy (a stillbirth) that if I were to get pregnant again, my life would be at increased risk of death.

But here I am, third trimester with my fourth baby, and I am transferring from an OB to a midwife! And doing GREAT! It IS possible!

I'm not saying complications won't arise, they very well could, but you can STILL have a midwife, you just have to look really, really hard! If that is what you want, it IS possible! It might be very very hard to find that midwife, but she's out there somewhere! Try looking for a naturopathic midwife, as they are more likely to take your care than a regular midwife, but there is no reason you CAN'T have this experience!

Good luck!
Rannane said…
I found this post made me feel furious! obviously a one sided look at child birth! a real slap in the face to those of us who tried active birth strategies but 'couldn't cope'. Some realistic (including ALL different ways of giving birth, e...mbracing being a woman) information would be much less condescending! Informed choice would be a much less degrading article! Natural Birth doesn't work for everyone, just the same as birth with a lot of medical intervention doesn't work for others. I'm sure there are many positive reasons to have a natural birth, but at the end of it healthy happy mother and baby is what counts, not airy fairy articles that alienate women by 'boxing' them into the 'all natural' movement!
Gombojav Tribe said…

--Mama of six born at home
Anonymous said…
Rannane, I am sorry that you felt boxed in by reading this. I had such a disappointing birth with my first--after trying active labor strategies that "didn't work" I succumbed to the nurse's whispers that all would be well if I just...well, you can fill in the blank. And while I was "healthy" and my baby was "healthy" there was nothing about the weeks after his birth that was healthy.

I was left feeling miserably unfit and broken. But I didn't let that make me believe that natural birth just didn't work for me for too terribly long. I learned everything I could about natural childbirth and pregnancy, and I read great empowering articles like this one.

Since, I have had two absolutely beautiful, natural births that left me exhilarated, energized and empowered to the task of caring for my family.

So, while I am sorry for your anger, I have to say thank you to mama birth for helping to get the word out that there IS another way, even if I was told and believed after my first that that other way wasn't for me. It turned out that way IS for me, my body and my children.
Mama Birth said…
Thank you Sarah- said it better than I could have-
Rananne- I think you took the post totally different than it was meant. It was meant to hurt nor anywhere within it did it insult people who choose or can't have a natural birth. The ONLY point was to inspire strength in women's natural abilities.
How people birth by choice or force is none of my business and I don't have time to judge it.
Wishing you happiness.
Patrice Yvette said…
So cute. But I'm the fan of the no labor, elected c-section! Had one & will GLADLY do it again!

i'm not anti natural birth, but when its all said and done, u dont get a trophy and gold star after natural birth.
Kristin said…
That's true Patrice - no gold star. But I have to say that when I spent weeks and months interviewing midwives, pondering my choices, reading lots of books and blogs,eating carefully, learning about optimal fetal positioning, and practicing hypnobirthing faithfully every night before bed - I wasn't in pursuit of a gold star. All I wanted was my moment of happiness with my new baby - the moment I didn't get to have with my first baby. I am glad that your experience with the medical establishment left you with a memory you could live with but that just isn't the case for me. I don't think I could look at myself in the mirror today if I had allowed the process of my first child's birth to repeat itself with my second child, and I've never met a woman who went out of her way to have a natural birth after a hospital birth say that she regretted doing it natural. I'm glad that you have not had to experience the pain, fear and betrayal that many women have - but don't knock natural birth until you've tried it. There is nothing like it.
Mama Birth said…
Oh my! Well, I have never met anybody who does a natural birth for a gold star. None of us get gold stars for the way we give birth. What we get is the birth experience. It is impossible to describe but I can tell you I wouldn't spend so much time on this and so many other things I do if it didn't matter to me deeply. Women deserve the birth they want and a birth that is safe and satisfying for them and their baby. Glad you got what you wanted. Many do not-
Racheal said…
And you don't get a gold star for being able to come out of a c/s feeling 'great' either. Yet, you'd be happy to do it again, right? See now, this is the very point... those who want the medical way, ok, nobody bats an eye, society doesn't try to stop you... but those of us who do are looked at like we are trying to show off & looking for praise for our strength & courage & blah, blah, blah... yes, we tell each other we are 'proud' 'strong' or whatever, but that is between us, we aren't asking for anyone to be 'proud' of us that doesn't want to be... it's no skin off our backs.

And since you pointed out I didn't get a gold star for my all natural birth (vbac), perhaps you would be interested in what I DID get... I got to be the first one to meet my son instead of the last. The first one to hold that precious baby boy. I have pictures of me holding him within an hour of birth. My first born was 12 hours old before there was a single picture (he was 6 hours & his cries after waking up greeted by a nurse, for our first meeting). I now know what a newborn baby looks & smells like. I know that newborns don't have to scream & cry... they can lay there & look at you with love. I know that my body isn't broken like they said it was. I know what the first months of a child's life are like, how they change & grow, without the haze of pain meds making it foggy in my mind. I know what it's like to be able to bend down & pick up my newborn baby & go straight to playing rather than stopping to let the pain subside before moving any further. So before you start talking about 'gold stars' that we don't get, perhaps you should ask if the gold star is even what we are after!
Anonymous said…
Welllll... all trophies aren't made of wood and fake brass with words engraved on a metal plate. :-)

When a local OB told one of my students, "You don't get a trophy for having a natural birth," I told my student to tell the doc, "Oh, yes, I do... a nice, pink, 7-10 pound, unmedicated, alert trophy in the shape of a baby!"
Christy said…
Wow! You guys are awesome! I pray (as a mother of two adopted children) that one day I will be able to experience the beauty of a natural home birth as you have. It's my heart's desire! A LOT of people think I am crazy, but I don't care!
Thank you for pointing out that not everyone has to have a baby this way. I have been incredibly blessed by adoption and I'm sure the woman that chooses "no labor" is blessed by that. BUT... oh how I would love to experience a baby growing in my womb and exerience every single part of that baby being born! And, when that day comes, I do want to be the first one to lay eyes on that long awaited child!
Racheal said…
Christy - I hope that when the day comes your child's birth is everything you deserve it to be. And I must say that I DO think women who adopt & love those babies like they had grown them themselves, well, women like you DO deserve a gold star & a trophy, on top of all the other many rewards that I'm sure raising those kiddos gives you every day.
Anonymous said…
Are you kidding me? Women very, VERY frequently died in childbirth up through the 1950s...which is coincidentally around the time when c-sections started to be more frequently used. There are numerous heart problems that go undetected until the body undergoes a traumatic process like natural delivery. Not all women gestate "beautifully" and not all pelvises are mobile. Some, like mine, have been broken in several places and will never expand the way you describe, making a c-section the only way giving birth would ever be possible. This post is DISGUSTINGLY ableist and woefully unresearched. Yes, many women can give birth naturally. But many more children and mothers survive now that there are alternative ways of getting a baby out of its mother's body. Many more babies are born without brain damage from cord injuries now that we are able to monitor fetal activity. The end objective is to deliver a healthy baby and stay alive to care for it. Modern advances have made that much more possible for many, many families.
Unknown said…
Thanks for sharing this with us. You have given a lot of useful information to a lot of us.
natural birth
Jade Jymson said…
But we are not all here. Many many thousands upon thousands of women and babies are dead and burried. Many befor ethey got to see their first child or got to take a breath. HOw can you so easily dissmiss their lives? Did they die for nothing?
violinwidow said…
"Your ancestors for 1000's of years gave birth with no medical intervention, and they must have survived, because, here you are!" They didn't all survive, did they? And prenatal testing and c/s exist because of it. I'm certainly not saying that these aren't reasons to have a natural birth, but believing that nothing bad could ever possibly happen because you have breasts and a vagina is living in a dream world. Trust birth, but also respect it's power and unpredictability. Remember your Tennyson. "Nature is red in tooth and claw" Just because the human race exists is not proof that birth is safe, it just means that enough people survived to carry on the species. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but I feel alarmed at the potential of this blog post to harm many many women. It COULD happen to you.
Amy said…
Do the above posters really believe that we natural birthers have no prenatal care and are not carefully monitored for potential problems? I just had a fully natural childbirth two weeks ago in a birthing center. I had to have an uneventful, healthy, low-risk pregnancy in order to even be cleared to deliver there. I would never put my baby at risk for a natural birth. But I didn't need medical interventions. Some do. That's why I was monitored constantly for anything abnormal during labor. Thats why my midwife is extremely skilled in life-saving techniques. That's why if a c-section was necessaery, I would have instantly been transported with no time wasted. Also, do you really believe that 1/3 of all women REQUIRE a c-section to save their lives or the baby's lives? I have no issue with sections for saving lives. I have issues with undergoing major, dangerous and life-threatening surgery because you don't want to push a baby out or just *because.* only about 3-4% of pregnancies require sections. Compare that to the 30+ percent that receive them. Women die in America from c-sections. Please do your research.
I have a really hard time with articles like this. Many, many women fall into the trap of medical interventions when their induction leads to an epidural which leads to fetal distress which then leads to a c-section and the doctor is declared the hero for saving their lives. But not all complications are caused by modern technologies.

My first child was born with gastroschesis. Fifty years ago, he would have died. No change in diet, lifestyle or anything else would have changed that. It was the fact that I knew about his defect and was able to deliver with a pediatric surgical team scrubbed in and ready to intervene at his birth that saved him.

My fourth and fifth children were mono/di twins and had complications due to placenta sharing issues. Again, for 1000's of years this was a death sentence.

Basically, three of my five children would have died at or before birth in previous generations. And none of this can be blamed on the "cascade of interventions". Just my bad luck.

While childbirth is a natural and beautiful process, it is an oversimplification to demonize the medical community just because women have been giving birth since the begining of time.
Melanie said…
Love this post.

I wish, though, it weren't so hard to have the best of both worlds. I have an incompetent cervix - 100 years ago, yes, my babies would have died, my cervix can't hold a baby up! I am very thankful to be able to have surgery to stitch my womb closed each time.

I'm also thankful for my excellent OB, who makes sure I labor exactly how I want to - no monitors, no food or water restrictions, I'm in charge. Our last two babies, I delivered myself and brought up to the breast - so incredible. Perfect, natural, glorious births - tears of joy from everyone!

It's great we have ways to help moms like me. It's wretched that the system doesn't try to preserve normality whenever intervention isn't needed - in the vast majority of pregnancies!- like my doc does. 1/3 of women do not need c-sections!
Unknown said…
I love this article and can't believe the ignorant hate comments on it. There are many women and babies who die and have complications that may or may not last a lifetime because of modern medicine too. More birthing moms than not are safer to birth naturally. That much is proven time and time again and if you find a study that proves otherwise, please share. I can tell you that I have lasting side effects from my epidural and that my daughter had trouble breastfeeding and eating in general because of rough suctioning, so what do you have to say to that everyone?
Unknown said…
And what about my husband new little brother who almost died from contracting an antibiotic resistant sickness in the hospital when he was born?
Charlotte said…
With my daughter's birth, I went to a birthing center with several excellent, experience midwives. Everyone told me I was crazy. What if something happened and the baby or I needed serious medical attention? What if I couldn't take the pain and needed medication? I responded with pretty much everything on the above list. It was infuriating to me that no one believed that I could do what women have been doing since the beginning of time.

I saw a chiropractor, took birthing classes, did the exercises. But the hormones were so strong that I wasn't able to keep any food down until around 23 weeks. I lost 17lbs. (I wasn't lazy and sedentary. I was sick as a dog and sedentary. No matter which century I had been born to, I wouldn't have been working in the fields in my condition.)

Anyway, early in the pregnancy I began having dizzy spells and heart palpitations. I actually got up in the middle of the night and passed out and broke my foot. So talked to my midwives about it. There were four midwives in our practice. The first told me it was normal, I was dehydrated and needed to be more conscious of my water intake. I knew this was probably true since I threw up most of the water I drank. The next month I talked to the next midwife and was given the same "drink more water" advice. The third midwife recommended some herbs and water. The forth mid-wife said she thought I should see a cardiologist. Turns out I have a heart condition that only presents during pregnancy. My valves couldn't handle the pressure from the baby and all the extra blood.

The midwives met and told me that I even though I was now finally not sick, I had to keep my activity to a minimum and they would not do the birth at the birthing center. They would assist me however, at the hospital and I MUST have an epidural to keep my heart rate from raising too high. I had read so much, learned so much and had so much of an I CAN DO IT BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN attitude, that now I felt like an utter failure.

The day I went into labor I had ongoing complications. I went into convulsions before they ever administered one drop of medication to me. Even with the epidural the my heart started going crazy during the pushing, as a result the babies heart was going crazy. Then top it all off, the baby inhaled meconium and needed immediate treatment by the NICU. We would both be dead if we had stayed at the birthing center. After delivery my midwife told me that there were at least four life and death reasons that I needed to be at the hospital. At least 2 of which could not have been detected until labor had already progressed.

I am not alone I have 3 friends who went the all natural route and had to be rushed to hospital in order to stay alive. I am not less of a woman because I went to a hospital and took medicine. I am more of a woman, because I ensured the life of my daughter and I. The risks are there. The risks are very real. And all of the I AM WOMAN affirmations in the world wouldn't have been much consolation to my husband putting his wife and baby girl in the ground.
Unknown said…
Damn...I've been wondering where my gold stars and trophies were. Now I find that they don't come with the natural birth? So disappointed...I was only in it for the accolades too.
Charlie said…
This upsets me. There is this attitude that those in the medical world force people out of having a natural birth and that women who want natural births are looked at like they have three heads. I find this to be the opposite. I wanted a natural birth and due to a novacaine allergy I wouldn't be able to have an epidural anyway. Everyone told me how great that was. My natural birth didn't happen because of some potentially fatal kidney issues that resulted in preterm labor and eventually a c-section after laboring 20 hours (due to acute kidney failure I developed an erratic heart rhythm and near paralysis due to the electrolyte imbalances) not to mention the excruciating pain of renal colic and kidney spasming on top of labor pain (and labor pain is a piece of cake compared to kidney pain, I promise.) My OB and I really tried for the vaginal delivery but because of these complications the c-section was actually the safest option. My contractions were not effective at dilating me properly as I was only 34 weeks along when my membranes ruptured. The increasing pressure of my uterus on my kidneys were exacerbating the problem, also. I later found out that my great aunt had the same exact complications that I had and died while 8 months pregnant in the 1940s. So yeah, I have a vagina and a uterus and that's all fine and good but my outcome likely would've been the same as my great aunt without intervention. Unfortunately I find that the natural-birth-mommas are the more judgmental and pushy group here. I find it condescending and kind of a jerk thing to do to make someone feel bad about the way they gave birth. I'm dealing with a lot of guilt/depression issues because I feel like I failed at what my body was designed to do. I couldn't carry my daughter to term and I couldn't deliver her the way people have been doing it for thousands of years. My OB respected my wishes and actually encouraged a natural birth from the very beginning. It didn't work out that way, despite my possession of a uterus. I have natural mothers telling me that I was fully capable of delivering naturally without fully understanding what I was going through. It's not that I wasn't strong enough or couldn't deal with the pain (the contractions were actually a relief from the kidney pain), but it was life or death at that point and like a previous poster said- having a vagina is not a good enough reason for my husband to have to bury his wife and his daughter.
Valli and Kim said…
I found this list encouraging. I think this post was meant to be positive. I don't think its meant to degrade those who need medical intervention. I am often treated as though I am stupid or suicidal to choose a natural birth, as if I didn't do serious research or put in serious thought into my decision. For healthy women, hospital/medical intervention is unnecessary and even dangerous. BUT for those who need surgery, how great is it that we can have it!!??? Even a gal like me, who wants a natural birth, I'm grateful I can go to a hospital in case of emergency. Believing I can accomplish this amazing thing is important. If all i feel is fear and anxiety, that can only make giving birth harder. So... like I said, this article isn't supposed to demean anyone, but encourage.
LadyHeather said…
So I am pro-natural birth and all that jazz and that was what I wanted when I had kids. Then it turned out that I have some uterine abnormality that messes with my babies. My first was growth restricted and had very little space which resulted in her being super twisted up in the cord. She made it out vaginally in the end but I had an episiotomy (ordered by my very naturally minded midwife). It was basically an emergency episiotomy. They didn't even tell me what was happening because there was no time to say. So to sit here and read "not necessary" next to the thing that saved my daughter's life - kind of hurts. My second baby was blocked into my uterus behind the septum that I have in there. Nothing would have got her out besides a c-section.

I have all the other things you listed. My first labour was very fast, I dilate like a crazy machine (0-10 in an hour). But none of that can fix what's wrong with me. I think it's something like 3% of the population that has the same problem. And sometimes it goes really well. My sister has the same thing and her first birth they didn't even know about it. Everything just went fine. Her second ended up in a blocked in position just like my second and that's how they found out. So yeah, my ancestors survived. My direct ancestors anyways. How many siblings were lost though? To give an idea - my great aunt also had the same problem. She lost FIVE. Five babies buried. One lone survivor to pass on the trait. Without modern medicine my two simply would not be here. My first would have been stillborn I'm sure. She was stuck and strangled. My second might have taken me out too. But my sister had one normal birth and so the gene passes on.

This is just all too simplistic for me. It doesn't make me feel better. It makes me sad because those things didn't mean anything for me. :(
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