Unassisted Birth: Part 2

You can read Part One of the series first if you like 🙂  I might have to do four or five sets of this, just depends on how long each post is, so just work with me.  I promise you will see the crazy end post when I write it, so just wait for that.


Labor is a time where you are at your most powerful and most vulnerable.  Even when women are numbed during labor and delivery, which makes them more vulnerable since they aren’t an active part of their birth, they and/or their body is working hard to bring a child into the world.

I don’t know a woman that isn’t worried about her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and through their life.  Since you are most vulnerable during labor and delivery, even one comment can ruin the tone and comfort of your labor.  Someone can come in, make an offhand comment about how the heart rate dropped or raised, or check you and say you are the “same” you were two hours ago, and the stress starts.  You are put on a timer, and your labor shifts gears.

It either slows down or it speeds up.  I know a lot of women that pushed their children out when there had been no progress because the doctor suggested a cesarean.  On the same token, I know a lot of women that passively sat by the side and left the decision up the doctor and ended up being cut.

This all depends on your fight or flight reflex.  When you are in danger, your body and your conscious mind decide if it is best to stand and fight or if it is best to run away and hide.

In labor, if you are being told a cesarean is necessary and you know it isn’t, you can fight, or you can agree to the surgery.  Most times women agree because they are so tired of the fight they have had all through labor.  Most women wanting a natural delivery in a medical facility have to fight their entire pregnancy in addition to the labor and delivery, and by the end they are tired.  You only have so much fight in you.

This is different for every woman, but with a cesarean rate at 1 in 3 women, less women fight, and more women accept.

Medical intervention has taken the place of instinct.  Medical intervention has taken the place of nature.  Medical intervention has taken the place of our own knowledge over our own bodies.

Often a woman will say, “Thank God I was in the hospital when I gave birth.  There were complications, but the doctor saved my baby’s life.”  What she may not understand is that the interference by the doctor and the nursing staff, from the moment she entered the hospital, may have actually caused the “complications” in the first place.

Still, safety is the primary reason most women give for turning themselves over to physicians when they’re in labor.  Images of women bleeding to death or coming down with strange diseases still flash through the minds of many women. – Shanley, 11

Most people have heard this from the documentary The Business of Being Born, but it is worth saying over and over again.  The majority of “emergencies” at the hospital are intervention caused.  Pitocin, epidurals, articificial rupture of membranes, vaginal checks – These can all cause the distress a baby has or an infection or account for a woman having “failure to progress” or “a big baby”.  Rarely do babies go into true distress.  Yes it happens, but less than 3% of births will have this, if they are “allowed” to labor on their own without any problems.

There was a study done in 1977 by Lewis Mehl, MD on hospital versus home delivery.  He found that homebirth is actually safer for both mother and baby than delivering in the hospital.  And this is when the cesarean rate was less than 5%!

His points in this study concluded:

  • The hospital has five times higher incidence of maternal blood pressure.
  • The hospital has three and a half times more meconium staining.
  • The hospital has eight times more shoulder dystocia.
  • The hospital has three times the rate of postpartum hemorrhage.
  • Three times as many hospital babies require resuscitation.
  • Four times as many hospital babies become infected.
  • Thirty times as many hospital babies suffered birth injuries such as: severe cephalhemotoma, fractured skull, fractured clavicle, facial nerve paralysis brachial nerve injury, eye injury, etc.
  • Less than 5% of homebirth mothers receive analgesia or anesthesia compared to the 75% in hospitals.
  • The hospital has a three times higher risk of cesarean
  • You are nine times more likely for episiotomy and severe tears.
  • Three times more likely for infant death in the hospital.

Now, sure this was a different time for childbirth.  We didn’t have the medical technology that we have now.  And yet, the maternal mortality and infant mortality rates were lower than then they are now.

Either we forgot how to keep mothers and children alive, or we are doing more harm than good by intervening during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

In so many different ways we are messing up a perfectly natural process.  Instead of letting the baby choose when to be born because it is truly ready to live outside the womb, we schedule inductions and cesareans.  We control what is happening with our own bodies by trying to get labor going.  We are so into control and would love to schedule a birthday when we want it, we forget why the process was created the way it was in the first place.  We forget that the baby is born when ready for a reason.  We forget that not everything can be timed and scheduled.

We place our children on a schedule even before they are born.

Only about 5% of due dates are correct.  And an estimated due date isn’t even based on anything scientific or true.  Sure, it is great to have an idea of when the baby will be born so you can plan accordingly, but having a 40 week gestation has been proven to be wrong time and again.  Most first time mothers have their children naturally at about 41 weeks 3-5 days.  Subsequent pregnancies normally go a little shorter than that.

Sure, as with all things, women go longer and shorter.  Welcome to averages and why they have no right to be around pregnancy and labor.

So many things stem from the idea that pregnancy has a 40 gestation.  The idea of “overdue”, term being at 37 weeks, thinking that baby is ready on your due date.  All of these are more come from the idea that pregnancy is only 40 weeks from your last menstrual period.

Even though that most women ovulate on a different day than day 14, it doesn’t matter.  Most women don’t have 28 day cycles, but that doesn’t matter.

It should be emphasized that in all cases of induced labor – and this is true with other interferences as well – it is not the mother, nor the doctor, but the baby whose delicate system must correct the effects of such interference as soon as extrauterine life begins.  Since many of the infant’s vital organs are only beginning to function at the time of birth….such artificial effects as change in acid balance, respiratory sluggishness, or disalignment of parietal bones (all of what can occur when labor is artificially induced), are extraordinary burdens to place on such a physiologically innocent beginner of independent life. – Suzanne Arms, Immaculate Deceotion, 58.

Most times when an induction is over, the woman has to cope with either a medicated vaginal delivery with severe tears or an episiotomy, or a cesarean.  Rarely do people think about the baby and how they are impacted by the delivery.  They are the ones that truly have to cope with being born too early.  They are the ones that sometimes struggle to breathe and eat, that have immature organs so as to put their body at risk, they are the ones that have to work after birth to make their body work outside the environment they weren’t ready to leave.

When you have a timeline, and you think it is off, instead of going by what knowledge you have, they order ultrasounds to pinpoint when your due date is.  Not thinking that these can be off by nearly a month once you hit the second trimester.  Again, medical intervention is seen as the greater tool than knowing your own body.

There are so many things that can take away from the natural progression of your labor when you give birth in the hospital, and yes, even at home with midwives attending.  An IV for fluids, no eating or drinking during labor, electronic fetal monitoring, vaginal exams, episiotomy, supine position for pushing, forced pushing, drugs, amniotomy, augmentation, induction, instrumental delivery, cesarean, suctioning the baby’s mouth and nose, early clamping of the cord, making the placenta detach within minutes of the delivery, controlled cord traction to expel the placenta, vitamin K, eye drops, separating the mother and child for observation, transfer from home for no reason besides protocol from certification – all of these take away from a natural process purely for control.  Rarely are any of these needed if you just let the body do what it does naturally.

Decide how you want your labor and delivery.  Research for yourself what is safe and what is risky.  The body does know what to do.

When you decide to trust your body, you might be surprised.

What will it take to get women to learn how to trust themselves?  A traumatic birth, hurt pride, lies told to them basically because they don’t like waiting?

What does it take to shift power from the doctors and midwives back to the woman were it belongs?


3 Responses

  1. To piggy-back on my comment on your previous post… I guess what I’d need to be convinced of is why an unassisted birth would be better than a midwife attended TRULY hands-off natural birth (no checks, no augmentation, not even necessarily catching baby) at home.

    p.s. Is there a way to make your full posts show up in Google Reader view?

    • I have a midwife like that, and I still want an unassisted birth. The rest of the series will be about what even having a provider at your birth can do for your labor. The series isn’t over yet haha.

      And no idea about the google reader thing.

  2. I’m a Chinese too, so what different you saw in these pictures apart from what the communist party told you?
    Cartier love bracelet lady yellow gold http://womensyellowgoldcartierlovebracelets.wordpress.com/

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