Women’s bodies are made so that we can birth our babies. We can trust in our bodies to be able to come through the experience of childbirth as they were designed. With that principle in mind, let’s focus on how natural childbirth is better and leads to healthier moms and babies. Unfortunately modern society in general has forgotten to trust in a woman’s body to be able to birth naturally. Instead we view pregnancy and childbirth as a medical condition and not a natural process.
The U.S. is 41st of the list for mortality of mothers giving birth in the world. This is startling for a developed nation with access to good health care. This statistic has started to encourage many moms to consider natural childbirth options and shy away from too much medical intervention. Natural childbirth is when you use little to no medical intervention to birth your baby. This usually means: no induction, no medications, no unnecessary fetal monitoring, no invasive tests that have no proven value (in terms of outcomes) and can go as far as having a midwife present for a homebirth.
photo credit: timatymusic
Here are some reasons why natural childbirth is better for moms and babies:
There won’t be any reactions to drugs. Even though a large percentage of people do not experience serious side effects to drugs, there are still many mothers who do. These drugs can cause complications with the delivery and even afterwards – both for mom and baby. Babies exposed to drugs in labor also sometimes have difficulty learning to breastfeed.
Natural childbirth without medication helps to keep mom aware and functioning at high levels during her birth. Using numbing drugs that paralyze her from the waist down can mean the birth process lasts for much longer and mom and baby can get tired, leading to the possibility of a c-section. Anesthesia also tends to cause a “slippery slope” of intervention that can lead to induction and again, unnecessary c-section.
Statistics show that reduced medical intervention mean fewer difficulties during birth. This includes pitocin to induce contractions, breaking the water to start labor and even a planned cesarean.
Medical intervention tends to cause stress in the mother (sometimes without her being aware of it) and can cause labor to slow or stall out completely. Although some women report that anesthesia during labor helps them relax you so you can dilate better, other times it slows down the whole process putting you and the baby through a lot more work than is needed.
Since medical intervention often interferes with the normal birthing process it also raises the statistic for cesareans. Doctors only want you to birth so long, they say you get too tired and you can’t handle it, etc. Many times they could be more worried about getting it over with so they can get back to their families. This is another reason so many people have planned cesareans.
Although for many people they are safe, cesareans are performed on 30% of pregnancies in the U.S. when they are only needed for 10% or even fewer, and unfortunately even the smallest mistake in a cesarean can cause the mother or baby to have complications as tragic as death. With natural childbirth as an option, why take the chance?
Sometimes cesareans are completely necessary and the mom or baby would be at more risk not having one. All too often, however, it is the interventions and hospital environment that cause the complications, not the other way around.
Interestingly, in other developed nations where home birth and natural birth are more common, outcomes are better and there is much lower infant mortality.