67.2% Vaginal Birth Rate- Proof That Female Bodies Still Work

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We often talk about the currently high c-section rate in the US.  It IS high, around-  32.8% according to this article.  In my humble little blogger opinion it is TOO high and I do believe it is  hurting both women and babies in ways we may not yet understand. 

But you know what really amazes me? 

That it isn't HIGHER.

Yes, 32% is high, but let's look at the way most women are giving birth:

Almost all of them are birthing in the hospital.  Despite recent media attention about this "skyrocketing" home birth rate, we are still looking at less than one percent of women actually birthing at home.

41% of women were induced medically to start labor.

The "Listening to Mothers Survey" found that 76% of women birthing in the hospital reported having an epidural for pain relief.  That means that more than 3/4 of women were not able to walk or move their legs at the time of birth.  

They also found that of the women birthing vaginally, 57% did so laying on their backs.  

35% birthed in a propped position in the hospital bed, but NOT in a full squat.

Only 3% were birthing in an upright position. 

Of those moms with an epidural, only 41% had a strong urge to push.  

The nearly one third c-section rate scares people.  It makes us think that our bodies don't work.  It makes natural birth freaks like myself turn red and wake up in a cold sweat at night. 

But when we look at how women are birthing:

In a hospital-

Very often before the baby triggered labor-

With half of their body numb-

Laying on their backs-

Often so numb that they don't even feel the URGE to push-

What is really amazing is that ANYBODY births vaginally.  We are systematically making it harder and harder to birth babies out of vaginas.  We specifically IGNORE natural laws like gravity and the benefits of movement in labor.

And yet, women, the vast majority in fact, are still able to birth their babies without an abdominal incision.

If that isn't proof that your body rocks, then quite frankly, I don't know what is.  


It is amazing that there are that many vaginal births despite all the obstacles that are put in the way. I am not sure whether to just be in awe of the female body or in horror of all the mostly unnecessary interventions that diminish the potential power of the birth experience. Women are amazing!
Melissa Pate said…
I didn't happen to be on the lucky side of the odds stacked against me. But the more I see and the more I learn, the more I think what this post says is exactly right. Some may think this is a crazy way to think but I am sure women birth vaginally in spite of the "help" not because of it.
Sara said…
I feel exactly the same way! My first was almost born at home although we had planned a hospital birth. I didn't see the real hospital protocols until observing my first doula birth over a year later. I was really shocked at how difficult it must be to give birth in the hospital, and it occurred to me at the time that I thought the c-section rate should be even higher based on all of the obstacles!
Great post!
kijjet said…
I heart your blog. :) I feel the same way. It is amazing, how much we are up against and how much we accomplish despite it.