Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Natural Birth Isn't Beneficial...

Say, what??!! Isn't this blog titled, "Natural Birth In Kitsap"? Aren't you a propenent of natural birth?
Why, yes. Yes, I am.
What I want to share with you is something that has been spreading in the breastfeeding world for some time now, and I think needs to also spread to the birth world.
Natural birth does not hold benefits. It holds normalities.
As mammals, this is the normal way we were intended to birth babies. Moving, private, peaceful, freedom. As humans, this is the normal way we were intended to birth babies. Supported, loved, nurtured, unmedicated.
Natural birth doesn't add anything to the birth experience. It is the way the birth experience was intended to be. It doesn't benefit the baby. It doesn't benefit the mother. It doesn't bring short-term, nor long-term benefits. It is where we set our human standard. Anything other than this is deviating from the way we were inteded to be. Not birthing naturally brings risks.
Just as with breastfeeding, our bodies have a specific way to work. We have a specific birthing function, a specific feeding function. It is a correlation between the mother and the baby.
Any time we alter from that course, we increase risks of things going wrong, and causing harm.
Often times we are told that our bodies are not good enough. That, even though we are mammals, whose very defination is one who "gives birth" and "nurses their young", our bodies cannot do. We need help from man-made products. "Supplements".
We supplement with membrane sweeps, cervical ripenings, artificial oxytocin. Supplements lead to less of us, more of them, until we find ourselves unable to produce at all. Unable to produce milk, unable to produce contractions.
We are told our nipples are the wrong shape, our uteri are the wrong shape, our pelvises are the wrong shape. Our bodies will harm our babies. They tell us this, and they are wrong.
We are told that natural birth is dangerous, that it is impossible, that it is unrealistic, and that we are just trying to martyr ourselves. When did normal become such a big deal? When did we get so detached from ourselves that we can't fathom our bodies functioning in normal ways?
We have set the standard at medicated birth, just as our society has set the standard at artificially-fed infants. We have tests and procedures that are necessary for medical births, that have become routine and "normal". We have nurses trained to help medicated mothers but unaware of what to do for a naturally birthing one. We have doctors who have been trained to interfere and do so with such regularity, that we have to specifically state over and over that for *this* birth, we want to be left alone.
Shouldn't it all be the other way around?
Shouldn't we be wondering at the dangers of medicated birth? Of interfering with the natural bodily functions? Shouldn't we base our studies, not on how natural birth might lower risks, but how interference may increase risks? Shouldn't the burden of proof be placed on deviating from normal, rather than deviating from medicalized?
Why are we looking for studies and statistics which prove the worth of natural birth? Do we look for studies and statistics which prove the worth of natural breathing, natural urination, natural eating? Why don't we hear studies talking about the benefits of NOT catheterizing everyone? Or NOT putting everyone on a ventilator. Or NOT giving everyone a feeding tube? Wouldn't that be a ridiculous world to live in where everyone was made to believe that they could not eat, breathe or urinate without medical intervention?
And yet, with birth, we find a huge discrepency. A normal bodily function that is overseen by doctors, nurses, medications and machines. We are told that we can't do it naturally. And medicalized birth becomes the norm.
We need to stop setting the birth standard at medicalized birth. Any deviation from the normal way the body functions should be backed by a true medical reason. We should not be laughed at, rolled eyes at, scoffed at, annoyed at, or ridiculed for wanting to do what is normal. Normal should be supported and accepted. It should not be rare. It should not be so hard to attain. It should not be something we have to battle for!
The health benefits, bonding benefits, breastfeeding benefits, etc. associated with natural birth are not benefits at all. They are what every mother and baby were intended to have. They are the standard. And, yet, how many know this? How many are choosing risk because they believe that risk is normal?

Natural birth is not beneficial. Natural birth is normal.