How Natural is Natural Birth? | Indie Birth

Labor and Birth

How Natural is Natural Birth?

April 22, 2011

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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I woke up this morning with a thought on my head and it just won’t go away. How natural is our natural is our birthing process today? Really I mean it. Women say they are having a ‘natural’ birth and then go into a hospital?

Now let me get it said from the start… I do believe that there is a time and place for hospitalization and for the wonderful Doctors and Specialists in the maternity wards. What I don’t get is that EVERY woman does not need these interventions, in fact most don’t so why do we all run there?

In this day and age we have given up on our ability to give birth. The western woman seems to have lost her trust in her own body to birth the wonderful life that she has nurtured and grown for 9 months. It is an almost sad and worrying situation. If you look at some of the native tribes they have traditions of women labouring alone, ok not necessarily ideal either, but at least they are letting their bodies do what is natural.

One need only look at mammals as a whole to see that we have it all wrong. If you look at a cat, or even a wild animal, the first thing the female mammal does is prepare her birth place. She goes off and finds a place that is calm, dark and makes it cosy. Anyone who has ever seen a cat give birth will agree with this, it is not unheard of for cats and other animals to go ‘missing’ and be found hidden at the back of a cupboard with her kittens or under a bed in a dark place. This is done for no other reason then the cat wanting privacy and the ability to ‘relax’. Yep you read me right, it has been found that wild animals in labour do the same and should that animal be threatened then it will actually ‘pause’ the birth and labour and in some cases the cervix will contract closed until the threat has passed. So then why do we more advanced mammals, who can talk and make rational decisions, why do we labour in wards with strangers watching and bright lights? With people coming in and out, with noises and interruptions… we are expected to allow our bodies to open up and bring our new innocent baby into the world.

Ina May Gaskin talks about the ‘Sphincter Law’ , where she explains this law of the cervix closing and just how it works. Well worth a read.

Environment then is the first key to our births being more natural and less medicalized ailments that need to be seen to in a hospital ward! So where ever you birth, get cozy, make it ‘home’ but best of all would be to birth at home in your space. I know that for some you are more scared at home than in a hospital. If this is you then make your hospital room as relaxing as you can with candles, dimmed lights, your own pillows and some music.

Claire is a mother of 2 with a passion for birth and pregnancy, and a desire to empower women to make informed choices and to see birth as natural. Claire qualified as a doula in 2007 and ran her own doula practice for 2 years before moving back home to the UK. She has studied lactation management as well as some perinatal education modules such as HIV/Aids and Pregnancy, Newborn care and Kangaroo Mother Care. Currently studying a Diploma of Higher Education in Adult Education – Antenatal Education as well as teaching her own one-on-one and small group antenatal classes, she has a passion for all things birth.

Claire has a dream to reach every mother-to-be, whether via internet or in person, and to share with them that pregnancy, birth and labour are not unnatural and that it is a perfectly normal time in their lives. Part of her dream is to treat each mother as the unique woman that she is, and to walk with her, beside her, on this wonderful journey that she is on.

You can visit her site at www.betterbirthing.blog.com

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  1. Amanda says:

    Thank you for this. With my last home birth, I had candles lit, and listened to music. This time I plan on the same thing. A dark room, with candles, music, and my birthing pool. I am practicing Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies. I want to do what I can to be as relaxed as possible, with my room as peaceful as possible.

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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