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.


Lexy said...

LOVE it. :)

Anonymous said...

Right on, Amy, this is great. I will be sharing.

Tammy said...

Very nice! thanks

Mars said...

Let's get the word out there. It's not beneficial. It's normal! :D

noreen said...

Beautifully put - love it!

funkyhan said...


Jen said...

Love this! I've been wondering why this push has been made with breastfeeding, but not yet with birth.

anjibennett said...

I do feel truly blessed to have had 4 natural births with a supportive midwife and hope my next will too. But don't be too dismissive of medicine if it's truly needed. I agree with the gist of your writing but wonder what you would do if you had appendicitis, or meningitis, or a terrible septic wound, or TB or other extrememly unlucky things I might care to mention? I for one would welcome the chance for medical intervention when truly needed. For that reason I would also accept if my natural birtjing experience were to truly go wrong. I feel very lucky to be in a part of the world where this is possible.

H said...

Thank you for this!!! This is my exact view, to a tee. Ditto breastfeeding. Having just achieved a VBAC 2 weeks ago with zero intervention and pain relief I am even more of a believer in the human body and allowing it to do what it was built to do.

My second birth couldn't have been more different and it's totally down to a lack of intervention (god bless the overstretched NHS and its resulting staff shortages!) and a belief in my own body.

Brilliant post; every doctor, midwife and expectant mother should read this!

Wholly Mama said...

anjibennet, you are right. I love the medical world, and medication. When they are needed, I am greatly appreciative of them. What I was pointed to in this post is that we, in general, treat every labor and birth as if it were a medical emergency. Appendicitis, menengitis, sepsis, these are not our bodies functioning in a normal, healthy way. Laboring and giving birth is *Normal*. If an emergency were to occur, veering off course of what is normal, then intervention may be necessary. But to treat a regular bodily function as abnormal is wrong. The analogies I make in this post to eating, peeing, breathing, could be said of our appendices as well. If our body is working as it should, it should be left alone. If it starts to deviate from normal, that's when we need to start looking into what's going on. What is causing it?

Vance said...

If you plan to have a normal delivery then you and your partner need to prepare for it. Research on the kind of natural birth you want either water delivery or hypnosis childbirth, weigh your options. You would need to set up a birth plan and look for options like episiotomies, IV's etc.
natural birth

Catherine, CNM & Out of Hospital Birth Advocate said...

Anjibennett is weighing not apples to oranges but fruits to vegetables.

As an out of hospital (OOH) practitioner (CNM), the UNBIASED research/statistics state that the outcome of planned OOH with an experienced practitioner for the low-risk mom and baby a natural, normalized labor and birth are the same as an inpatient (hospital) birth. What is not clear from the literature if the hospital births were medicalized or if they were low intervention like an OOH birth for the low-risk woman.

Do your research before you make such an innane comment -- four babies or not -- you need some education.

Anonymous said...

How true! Why has "normal" become so unusual? Why are women allowing themselves to be so helpless in giving birth?
I feel there is such a need to get this message out: we were made to do this! We are perfectly suited to giving birth actively, powerfully, naturally and ... normally.

Unknown said...

I would really like to pin this on Pinterest. Would it be possible for you to add a picture with this blog post?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog, sitting here, 29wks pregnant with twins. This post was wonderful. While I feel this is normal, the rest of the world doesn't get it. I feel like I must use the "benefits" to help bring over the non-believers in my life!

Unknown said...

Thid is the best confirmation of our strength and power as birthing mothers. I wish as doctors and nurses are taught about ethics and technical medical work, that someone teaches them about trusting and appreciating nature and its wonders. Yes, where there is deviation from the normal they can assist but see as exactly what it is and not a standards for measuring all birthing experience. I pity that we are being cut open just to please Dr's conscience and not help mom do what her body is made to do. Thanks for a great and infornative platform. You rock! ☺️🙏