Saturday, August 13, 2011

questioning natural birth

I was shocked and infuriated by a report from The Age, entitled 'Caesarean births a better option for mothers?'

From the article: "'It dawned on people, what if it turns out to be safer to have a caesarean birth if you're a healthy mother? … What would that mean? How would that affect society? The topic led to great discussion at a meeting I was at recently where one cheeky guy said, 'Maybe we could do away with labour wards forever and save hundreds of millions of dollars,' '' he said.

This article is once again an example of how modern medicine and a male-dominated, Western perception of the still prevails. "Safer"? By how much? By what standards? Perhaps physically. But mentally, emotionally, spiritually? What about the psychological and sociological implications of such a claim?! 

I don't know what to say about studies like this, they just seem so lop-sided and backwards. Of course caesarians are safer sometimes, and thank god for them, but having a natural birth is something so sacred, yet less and less women are able to experience it because of intervention, lack of support, lack of knowledge and lack of birthing exposure and experience. 

A quote from my own birth story: "I had no tears, no stitches and no wires or cords attached to my wrists. I have never felt so alive, I have never felt more proud of myself, and I have never felt more feminine. I felt so connected with our Mother Earth and to every other Mother who has ever given birth. Thank you my daughter. Thank you so much, for giving me this gift. It will stay with me forever- you have taught me a great lesson- to love and trust my body, to listen and learn from it. I truly wish that every Mother could experience childbirth the way I did that evening, because after all is said and done, it really honestly feels so right and so good."

I feel like this is a beautiful right and privilege that is being taken away from more and more women everyday and this is distressing to me. The thought that my daughter might live in a world where natural birth is considered unsafe and reflected in a negative light is just horrible.

How do you feel about natural birth? Do you care? Does it matter to you the way it does to me?

xo m.


aluminiumgirl said...

That mindset of turning birth into a clinical, medical procedure really irks me.

I absolutely treasure my birthing experiences and feel so awed and amazed by them. I birthed both my girls drug-free in a birth centre and only had intervention for postpartum hemorrhaging after the birth of my second daughter. I really feel like women are missing out, if they don't get to experience awesome rush of a natural birth.

But,it seems to me, that the women I know lack confidence in their body's ability to birth - and that makes me especially sad. What kind of society allows its women to be so insecure within themselves? It's a terrible state.

But I'm rambling so I'll stop here.

Nurture the Little People said...

I am a natural birther. Both of my sons were born without any intervention. The births were medical and clinical free. We were all healthy and happy and bonding was natural too. I birthed my way.

I worry that women are not informed enough about their birthing choices right from the beginning. It seems the health care system really wants to make having babies far more complicated than it needs to be.

Natural Birthing is essential for communities to grow, it is a right of passage for baby, transitioning into the world outside of the womb.

I just can't see how caesarian births (unless essential) would save the health care system money? What about the risks of complications such as infection, hemorrhaging (I know of 4 ladies with this), and the roll on effects of not bonding with baby, attachment issues.

The list goes on.

So in answer to your question, YES I support natural births!


Rhiannon said...

I hadn't seen that article and it really rubs me up the wrong way, I can't believe that 10,000 Australian women choose to have a c/s every year for NO medical reason.
I had a c/s which was FOR medical reasons, and being a nurse, I knew that every reason we had for having a c/s was justified. I would have loved to have a natural birth, it was my aim, we were going through the birthing centre.

I have every intention of having a natural birth next time, and will do everything in mine and Mother Natures power to hope that I do (not particularly easy considering the rate of VBACs in Victoria). But I will try. I want to experience birth, contractions and all, and allow my body to do just what it was designed for. I would never choose to have a c/s as it might be easier (which by the way I don't think it is, recovery is not fun).

Rhi x

Tania said...

I think articles like this are so misleading to the public. I had three natural drug-free births, and while I fully understand that sometimes a caesarean is necessary, it would be a terrible thing if this became the norm. My third birth was a wonderful experience, but this was only due to my own research into the process.

Lauren said...

yes !!!! it bugs me too !!
obviously there are medical reasons in some cases...
but i worry for those women who don't know any better, are lead astray or don't have the courage or knowledge to stand up and push for what is best for them and their child and the whole birth process. some might not even think to question a dr/obstetrician....
i guess it has to be like breastfeeding - the more people that get it out there and talked about the better!
its like we are de-evolving - anything our body can naturally achieve is being shunned. its a saddening thought.

Emma Galloway said...

It breaks my heart to read such things. And is so sad to think that more and more woman are CHOOSING to have cesareans, for no other reason than they don't want to give birth. In my eyes these people are not ready to become parents. Sure I had moments during pregnancy where I thought it was going to be all too much, but after having 2 natural complication-free home-births I feel there is no better way to bring your precious little ones into the world. Birthing seems to be right up there with vaccinations when it come to doctors scare tactics and I wish more woman would see it for what it really is.

Alison said...

I do not, for even a second, believe that c/sections are safer than natural birth. Obviously they are safer for some (my friend'd first daughter was still born at 40+6 and no reason was found so her next two were born by c/secions) but definately not all.

I had a horrible medical birth with my son, induced, forced in to epidural, forceps, infection afterwards etc so was determined to do it naturally with my daughter. I had an amazing natural homebirth ( and it is the most amazing, rewarding and life changing thing I have ever done. I hate the thought that women in the future may have to really fight for this.

Gosh that was long, sorry!


Catherine said...

It is so sad if a woman's right to choose is taken away from her, that she be told that natural birth is unsafe. I think that c-sections are necessary when the mother and baby are in danger and it's wonderful that medicine can keep birth safer in these circumstances. I was so lucky to have a natural birth with both of my girls, I loved being able to do it. I felt so proud of myself that I could give birth to my girls and grateful that I was able to. I think if you are able to give birth naturally it is a magical experience to have.xo

Sandi Ratch said...

I think this attitude is a reflection of our society as a whole. North American culture, in particular, has decided that nature is something to be fought, not worked with. It has pretty much ruined everything for the sake of ease. But not to worry. We will return to simpler, more natural ways. We will have to.

As far as my own birthing experience is concerned, I gave birth to a 10-lb baby boy with a HUGE head (48 cm in circumference - the average is about 44 - that's almost 2 inches bigger than most). I chose to have an epidural because the pain was overwhelming (everyone's birth experience is different, I know others who didn't feel much pain at all). But he was delivered vaginally with the help of the vaccuum. I wonder sometimes if I would have been spared some of the horrendous physical damage I had from it all if I HAD had a cesarean.

So for me, I think it should be available when necessary, but I definitely don't think it should be standard procedure. God! Keep people out of hospitals as much as possible. They aren't nice places.

Miranda said...

How can anyone think a Cesarean in a healthy, normal pregnancy/delivery is SAFER than natural child birth? How can it be SAFER to use drugs than not? How can it be SAFER to cut a woman open and pull a baby out than to birth naturally, vaginally, in the way all mammals have birthed since their existence on earth? Of course there are occasions when these medical interventions are needed, as you said, but I think it's crazy to say it is safer to perform them automatically. And to use the argument that it would be CHEAPER if we did away with birthing wards is lunacy! What about the cost of the pain medication needed for the Cesarean operations?! What about the additional few days a woman must stay in hospital after a Cesarean and the costs associated with that?

I just had my first baby 3 weeks ago, naturally and without pain medication or other medical intervention. However I was met with resistance by both doctors and nurses every step of the way. I was offered and strongly recommended an epidural, pitocin and an episiotomy all of which i refused.

When my baby was born I was congratulated by the attending doctors - they were surprised I was able to naturally give birth - in fact they admitted rarely seeing it done, especially for the first child.

Later in the night I was offered pain medication to ease any cramping I may have had. When I politely declined it (I found it hilarious I was offered them at all - I had just had a baby without so much as a Tylenol but they thought the pain AFTER was enough to take something?!) the head nurse was sent in to find out why I was "refusing to take my medication"!!!

I was surprised that so many medical professionals had seemingly lost faith in what a woman is capable of. I was surprised that my natural birth was so out of the ordinary and not commonplace. And I was very surprised that I had been met with so much doubt and skepticism.

Though I understand and respect a woman's desire to have a Cesarean birth or an epidural, I believe it is every woman's right to experience a natural childbirth!!

Love your blog, Meagan!!!



Jo McBride said...

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts, EcoMilf. My natural homebirth was such a grounding experience. It truly is the most womanly rite of passage possible. I just had a conversation about this with a girlfriend who had chosen epidurals for both her births. She simply couldn't wrap her head around the fact that I felt natural child birth was a more womanly, mother earth experience than one with interventions [I had an epidural with my first & could compare]. She kept saying that "choosing" a pain-free birth was no less womanly. True - giving birth at all is a feat unto itself...but to do it as nature intended certainly made me feel like a strong, capable, resilient mother.

Nadia said...

Horrified. I am absolutely horrified by the prospect of this study. Women are losing autonomy over their bodies at an alarming rate. I am also sickened at the thought that 500 women are putting their lives and the lives of their babies at risk by agreeing to surgery. It's insane! And what kind of person/people/profession would have no problems asking this of women? One of my close friends had her bowel and intestine perforated during a planned c-section.
It makes a mockery of natural birth and suggests women are not capable of birthing their babies safely.
I could go on forever. But yeah, not happy :(

Dana said...

The quote from your birth story really resonated with me. Bierthing my son , now five months old, naturaly at home with the love and support of my husban, two midwives and a doula, in privacy and a comfortable and inspiring enviroment, surrounded by love and faith... what can I say, it was amazing, empowering, mind blowing, the most fun I´ve ever had, it was EVERYTHING. it was life and love at their best, at their highest... I wish every woman could experience this, it would most definetly make the world a better, moRE spiritual and respectful world, but the right information, such as ina may´s books, need to go mainstream NOW!
I guess it´s about women connecting with their hearts and with their woman instincts and realizing what´s best for them and their babies.

freckles said...

This just makes me want to scream!!! I am a huge believer in narural birth, although i am yet to give birth myself (next year i hope, fingers crossed!)i have always been passionate about natural birth and i can't wait to experience it for myself. The majority of my friends have either had caesareans or have given birth vaginally with alot of intervention & they think that is normal, most women my age (30) don't seem to know any different & it is terrifying that natural birth is the "weird" way to give birth these days.

Jacinta said...

I so, so, so wish I had gotten to experience a natural birth. After 24 hours of labour and no progression of dilation from about 4 hours in my first born became distressed and I had to have an emergency c-section. For my second I attempted a VBAC. My visits pre birth were all very positive and the hospital seemed very supportive and willing to negotiate things like monitoring and IV lines, however when I actually went into labour (nearly 2 weeks overdue!) they changed their tune very quickly. I HAD to have constant fetal monitoring and after much arguing and the dr basically standing and glaring at me with arms crossed until i conceded had to have an IV inserted. Unfortunately I didn't dilate again and had to have another c-section. It still brings tears to my eyes that I couldn't birth my babies. ALL mothers should be able to birth the way that they feel is right and not accordng to 'policies' or what the dr finds more convenient!!!

motherwho said...

I am just so disappointed about this I have been sitting here for a few minutes trying to think of something to say, to gather my thoughts. I think everyone else has said it all... I too hate to think that my little girl is growing up in a world that doesn't believe in her and her capabilities as a woman - let alone the fact that birth is not just a 'physical' act.

Emma T said...

I'm a bit ambivalent. I personally would want a vaginal birth with minimum intervention but wouldn't want to impose this on others. I think research into this area could be helpful so long as they look at all outcomes for baby and mother and genuine choice (based on real evidence) is available to all women. A Caesarian however is much more expensive for the taxpayer than a vaginal birth - so anyone who thinks this will somehow save money is mistaken. Of course there is much more to consider than money.

B_girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Belinda said...

I strongly suspect that I will have this fight in front of me.

For various, good, reasons I am deemed "high risk". Those reasons mean I feel that a non hospital birth would expose both me and my baby to unnecessary danger, even if I could find a midwife that would be willing to take me on. As such I am honestly expecting a lot of pressure later in pregnancy to circumvent the natural process.

My plan is to resist pressure until there is a true medical case to change my plan "to birth as naturally as possible" but be open to the possibility that this path may go in a different direction.

Kind Regards

ashley said...

is there a question really?! natural is always best. obviously where intervention is necessity it should be practised but making intervention the common practice makes this world a terrifying place. trust in our bodies amazing ability to do what it was created for.
interesting link, thanks for that!
x ashley

Tat said...

There is no way I am letting anyone cut me unless it is absolutely necessary! Natural birth is, well, natural. Caesarian is surgery. That just settles it for me.

Mama Gone Green said...

I would never trade my natural births for any pain-free, planned, or "easy" experience. Those moments, when you have just pushed out a baby (that you grew inside you) have been the most empowering in my life.

Molly said...

I have heard that with doctors, at least here in the US, they are not trained in natural birth the way they are in c-section. Therefore, c-section is safer for them to perform. But as for c-section being safer for the women? It can't be safer than a healthy woman working with a trained doula or mid-wife.

Mel @ Coal Valley View said...

I have to agree with you. Although I'd hate to dictate at all what other women choose to do as I think I was fortunate to have a positive experience with my births.

I gave birth to all 4 children, including twins, naturally. No epidurals and no problems afterwards. I am so grateful for the experience .I had a private obstetrician too. I almost feel guilty because it seems rare, particularly to have twins naturally. I had all of my children in Tasmania and I hate to generalise but I'm led to believe after talking to many people here that if I was living in Sydney at the time my experience would have been very different, unless I went down the path of having a doula.

ps. I'm new to blogging and enjoying your posts!

sabrina john said...

The thought that my daughter might live in a world where natural birth is considered unsafe and reflected in a negative light is just horrible.

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