A Woman’s Body is Designed to Give Birth–Part 1

As I continue to pursue this journey of planning for a natural birth with my second pregnancy, I’m really learning a lot of things I didn’t know before.  Through conversations with the midwives I’m seeing and the reading I’m doing, it seems like I’m continually surprised and slightly shocked at what a different picture of birth I’m seeing than I had before.

And I’m SO not talking about it simply being about lack of pain medication as though that were some motivating factor for me to try to be SuperMom of the Year by not getting an epidural.  Before I knew anything (and I do mean anything), that’s what I thought.  That the women who want to do natural birth are doing it because they have some strange aversion to medication and they feel like they have something to prove to the rest of the world by doing it naturally.  As though it were a female pissing contest for who could tolerate the most pain without caving.

But now that I’ve done a little research, I’m seeing how shallow and uninformed this idea was.  Yes, I’m sure there is a sense of satisfaction a woman receives after birthing a child without numbing medication.  A sense of accomplishment and pride in her physical capabilities.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a God-given gift as evidenced by the hormonal high that results after delivery.  But the natural birthing concept goes WAY beyond that.  Once I started really paying attention, I noticed that it’s really more about helping a woman deliver a baby in the safest and healthiest way that her body is designed to function.

The more I’m learning, the more I realize that the medical establishment has really screwed-over the process of a woman giving birth.  Many of the things that doctors and hospitals do during a routine birth are very detrimental to the baby’s and woman’s health as well as making a normal vaginal birth less likely.  I’m learning about just how many medical interventions are not only incredibly unnecessary but greatly contribute to birth complications and the final result of a c-section.  Some of the common lines that we’ve all heard from doctors as reasons for why they choose to intervene with medication and/or give a c-section seem kind of empty to me now because I’m seeing another more successful of doing things.

It’s not about avoiding medication because numbing pain is a bad thing.  It’s about avoiding common medical interventions that set-up a woman for a complicated or unsuccessful delivery.  It’s about employing techniques that work with, instead of against, the way our bodies were designed to birth.  It’s about trusting that God designed a woman’s body, in most cases, to function correctly during a birth, and if we would just back-off and let her listen to her body, then things might go a little more smoothly.  It’s about doing what is healthier for the baby, not what it easier or less likely to get someone sued.  It’s about listening to objective medical research concerning labor and delivery and actually following it instead of what’s more convenient or simply hospital policy.  Wanting a natural birth isn’t about me having an inherent mistrust of the medical profession… rather, it’s about letting what we biologically know about a woman’s body be the guideline for how we approach the birth process.

So, ironically, I feel like as I look more outside of the traditional medical boundaries for information on childbirth, I’m learning for the first time what the female body is biologically capable of.  I’m becoming more confident that a natural birth without unnecessary medical intervention will be a much safer option for my baby and me.  Can’t wait to share some of the facts I’ve learned recently….to be continued…

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9 responses to “A Woman’s Body is Designed to Give Birth–Part 1

  1. I was hesitant to tell my family and friends that I had chosen a home birth. Everyone is so misinformed that the only reactions I got were (and sometimes still are) “oh wow that’s so dangerous!”

    The more educated I became the more able I was to defend my position. I delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl last November in the comfort of my own home. I can hardly believe it’s been almost a year! It was an awesome experience and I plan on doing it again for any future babies I may be blessed with!

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  2. I really wanted to deliver Bailey without any drugs or medical intervention. My mistake was not educating myself more before “D-day” so that I could defend my position to the nurses and doctors that I encountered when I went into labor. I knew that I wanted to allow my body to do what God intended for it to do. Unfortunately, because I wasn’t more informed (my own fault) I didn’t know how to respond when they told me that I couldn’t get up and walk around during the earlier stages of my labor b/c it would hinder them monitoring the babies heartbeat, etc.
    This is getting longer than I expected, but basically my delivery was very long and very traumatic and a lot of it was b/c there was way too much “intervening” going on. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am SO proud of you for attempting this. And also for arming yourself with information before hand so that you can make the best decisions for your baby. I can’t wait to hear how it all goes! I wish I could be there… well, not there like in the room, but you know what I’m saying!? 🙂

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  3. Have you read anything yet by Ina May Gaskin? Fabulous and empowering! Or Penny Simkin? I’m always telling people to burn the “What to Expect…” books and buy “Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn” instead. She also has a great website and is local to you.

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  4. p.s. if you look at my site and check out my blog list and check out Bellies and Babies which is written by a doula and midwife wanna be.

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  5. Such great stuff, Em. I’m excited that you’re learning so much, and I can’t wait to hear how your experience goes. I second the Ina Mae Gaskin recommendation. I thought her guide to childbirth was an excellent resource when I was pregnant with Charlotte.

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  6. Emily, I just want to tell you this is beautiful stated. I couldn’t sum it up this well if I tried. I am really enjoying your blog and I am so glad that you also discovered the Birth Center. Heike and Andrea are wonderful!

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  7. Oh gosh!! Well girl, you are a lot more confident than me! There’s NO WAY I could do the ‘natural thing’ this go around, I’m just TOO scared .. and I researched both sides. Hats off to you!

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  8. Keren- Other than the pain (which I’m definitely scared about, don’t get me wrong!), I don’t see what would be scary about doing a natural birth since midwives tend to be more trained than OB’s in vaginal delivery and other than surgery, they can employ the same life-saving techniques. (and at least in my case, surgery would be about 30 seconds down the road, I’m sure they could get me an emergency c-section in under 10-20 minutes) Future blog post coming, but from what I’m learning, there are so many more complications that are in fact the doctor’s fault for intervening than there are natural complications to deal with. That’s what scares me!

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  9. Good for you! I was lucky enough to hear Michel Odent speak on this subject a few years ago – inspiring. He talked about the “love hormone”, oestrogen. It makes so much sense that when you leave the body to do what it will, 99% of times it will do it right!

    I have also been “lucky” enough to have three caesareans completely against my instincts and expectation… if only i’d known then what i do now. Thank goodnesss you are getting informed *before* time. 80)

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