I admit it. I was a doubter. I’m not the only one though. I often get asked why a woman would want a natural birth.
We’ve heard other women talk about it. Why a natural labor is better.
- You feel empowered.
- Your body was built to do this.
- There is lower risk for intervention.
- Recovery is so much easier.
- It is so much better for your baby.
Statements that seem like common sense, but don’t always coincide with life experience.
Most people don’t understand why any woman would choose to go through that degree of suffering willingly.
My first exposure to childbirth, before the days of anesthesia, was an act right out of a horror movie. Women labored in a ward, separated by only a curtain. Alone. Afraid. The terror in their eyes is something that still haunts me.
Then I saw it – a planned natural birth. I can only describe it as that same feeling you get when you witness a sunset for the first time or gaze at the stars on a dark summer night.
Birth can be a wonder of nature.
I have seen peace in its purest form as a woman clutches her newly born child to her chest, witnessed joy at its fullest as a new father is brought to tears and watched a newborn raise its head to gaze in his mother’s eyes.
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As a midwife at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center I often find that many women don’t realize that they have many options and choices when it comes to the birth process. No two births are alike and it is difficult to plan the course of events but you can make some decisions and identify some expectations before labor begins.
A birth plan is like any other important plan – weddings, vacations or retirement. We all have a preconceived idea of how we would like to have things go in our lives. Birth is no different.
How do you envision your labor? Do you feel birth is more of a medical procedure or is it a more spiritual event?
Whatever your viewpoint, the birth of a baby is one of the most significant and remembered days in your life.
From a historical perspective birth plans were introduced by women who were advocates of natural childbirth in the 1970s because:
• Birth had become more like a medical procedure.
• Women labored alone.
• They were heavily medicated.
• They gave birth in sterile operating rooms.
• Babies were brought out of the nursery only for feedings.
Women wanted a voice. The requests were simple – being allowed to be out of bed, having your husband or partner with you, medication and sedation choices and keeping your baby with you.
Most of the requests listed on birth plans now have become a part of routine OB care. However, some providers may have a different opinion or different philosophy of childbirth. Sometime pregnancies develop risk factors that limit options.
That’s why it is important to outline what you would like out of the experience.
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