Natural Birth

November 10, 2009

Over the weekend a new mother had the birth of her child live streaming on the internet. I didn’t hear about her plan to do this prior to the event; I caught on to it through other Twittering moms I follow while she was laboring. I don’t know the details, but what I gather is that her plan was to have a natural birth. With her were both a Doula and Midwife in the hospital. Sounds like a great support team for a natural birth. But, as this mother’s labor progressed and became painful, she asked for the epidural and it was administered.

Whether she got the epidural or not, I don’t care. Birth how you want to birth. But, I thought there would have been a bit more encouragement from the Midwife and Doula to keep going naturally, if that was the goal. When a woman is in transition, usually that is when drugs will be requested. This is when doubt arises–doubt that you can get through the labor. But, transition means that pushing stage is just around the corner, and that’s why I was surprised at the lack of support from the Doula and Midwife. I know they are well aware of this time, and this is the common cry from a laboring woman at this point. But regardless, this woman was given the epidural and proceeded with the birth. Thankfully, things went smoothly and she was able to deliver her baby soon after vaginally.

This gives me big ideas to do something. The natural course of labor needs to be common knowledge, but the fact is, it’s far from that. I feel, that if more women knew how labor progresses, we would have less intervention. Less intervention leads to less complications, which leads to lower Cesarean rate, episiotomy rate, etc. All this applies to a woman with the desire for a natural birth, of course. From what I can see–from the mothers that even have a thought of natural birth in mind–there is either the well educated woman who knows how labor will generally go or the woman who hopes for a natural birth if things don’t get too rough, but are fine with getting pain relief if needed. I wish there were more available information for pregnant women about labor. Maybe ‘available’ isn’t the word. I wish that a woman’s care provider would offer the information about natural labor, or even encourage trying for a natural birth. That might be asking a little too much, though. Maybe the woman that has thought a natural birth would be nice, but hasn’t done the homework, would learn what she needs to know about what her body can do when giving birth to her baby. She would learn about things like transition and what it means. It means you are so close to seeing your child. Labor is hard at this point, but it is a short time that you can get through. Once you get through transition, you are on to pushing, and baby is here!

I know these are just big ideas, but it is just so upsetting to me that we as women are letting the inner wisdom that our minds and bodies possess fade away into the hands of these unnecessary medical procedures just to deliver our babies. Birth has become so complicated, and really, it’s pretty simple. We just need to be more prepared to allow our bodies to do the work that it so perfectly already knows how to do without ANY help.