That was the title of a recent article at Mercola.com. This caught my attention for two reasons. First, I am all for natural birth and birth at home. Second, it sparked the question is giving birth naturally something women need to learn, or is it in our instincts?
Hospital Births and Home Births
There has been much talk among the home birth and natural medicine communities about a recent study that suggests that the risk of infant death is greater with a home birth than with a hospital birth. These findings have been published in the media.
But, if you really look at the numbers you find that this isn’t the truth. The study reports neonatal mortality rates after home births to be 3 times as high as those after hospital births. Here’s the problem: neonatal mortality counts all deaths occurring within the first 28 days of life regardless of whether or not the death was related to the method or place of birth. The study also made no distinction between planned and unplanned home births. When you start to remove some of this flawed data and control for other variables you find that there is virtually no difference in neonatal mortality rates between home births and hospital births.
The media has conditioned women to believe that birth is a dangerous, frightening experience that requires intervention to improve the baby’s safety. Birth is a natural, normal physiological process that does not routinely require machinery, tubes or drugs. Women’s bodies are designed to give birth and that knowledge exists within each woman’s body.
I agree 100% with this statement by Birth Works International. Especially in light of this recent study and the attention it has been given. As women, we have been conditioned to believe that pregnancy and birth are scary, uncomfortable, painful times. We have been made to believe that modern medical interventions are necessary. The truth is, a woman’s body was made for giving birth. Somewhere inside each woman is the instinct needed to make that a reality. Natural child-birth is possible and wonderful.
Should American Women Learn to Give Birth at Home?
I don’t think this is the right question to be asking. All women have the instincts to give birth. It is not something that needs to be learned.
“The knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions lies deep within each woman. Successful childbirth depends on the acceptance of the process.”
– Suzanne Arms
via Citizens for Midwifery Facebook post
The happiness, bliss, and love that a new mother feels for her baby come from deep inside her and do not need to be taught. In the same way, the knowledge about how to give birth is already inside every woman. We can have trust and faith in our bodies to do the job of birthing.
The question should be, “Why aren’t American women encouraged to give birth at home?“
“Nothing in medical literature today communicates the idea that women’s bodies are well-designed for birth. Ignorance of the capacities of women’s bodies can flourish and quickly spread into the popular culture when the medical profession is unable to distinguish between ancient wisdom and superstitious belief.”
– Ina May Gaskin
via Citizens for Midwifery Facebook post
In the Mercola article it says that 27 states in the US now license and regulate midwives and that in the other 23 it is illegal to use a midwife and have a home birth. That is simply amazing to me.
I am thankful for modern medicine. Modern medicine saved my third baby’s life. There have been advances that make it easier to understand what our body is doing and I like to think that knowledge is power. The more we know about our bodies the more likely we are to take care of it in the ways that are most beneficial. What I don’t understand is why so many in the medical field seem to use a strategy that involves scaring their patients into believing that the body is not capable of performing so many basic functions without help.
Every woman is capable of giving birth naturally. Every woman should be encouraged to give birth naturally in whatever setting is most comfortable for her. And, every woman should go into child-birth feeling empowered, not scared.