I never really thought about natural childbirth before and I was actually planning on writing about fertility today (but I’ve done that). Is it really surprising that after a digging a little, I am a little partial to the natural idea now? Like I said my sister-in-law is pregnant. So when gathering with other women, there is always a discussion about the advances we’ve made. How back in my day they didn’t have sonograms or epidural. My mother had us in a hospital, but still rather natural compared to today. But then while reading, I found: for 999,998 generations, 99.998% of human history we delivered babies naturally. Only for 2 generations have we delivered medically. We have flipped, so that today less than 1% of the US population give birth naturally.
It’s ingrained in our thinking now. You have babies in a hospital with a doctor. You have an epidural. You have sonograms and find out the sex and size beforehand. Hospitals are safe. Complications can happen no matter what. In hospitals, at home. but most healthy mother I think could have birth at home. Instead we move from the safety of our homes to the glaring hospital, where we are injected and on-display. Where we must perform. Where we’re drugged to help with the pains of having a child. Instead of viewing childbirth as something instinctual and natural, we have come to view it as a medical process. Many will argue the benefits of having a baby naturally:
- Faster: Because epidural don’t allow mothers to really feel, the process can take longer. Whereas the natural laborer can feel what’s going on, listen to her body, and push when she has to.
- The baby is more alert.
- Because the baby is more alert, breast-feeding is often facilitated better.
- Empowers the mother
- Faster recovery for the mother
- There is preliminary research that vaginal birth may trigger production of a protein in the baby’s brain needed for development
Ultimately the decision is up to the mother and what is best for her and her baby. I think what’s important about the last few posts are to realize health decisions we have to make. To realize how important our eating habits are preconception, during pregnancy, and during lactation. To realize the importance of our lifestyle choices: smoking, drinking, stress, sleep, exercise. Once the baby comes what kind of choices do we want to make. Do we breastfeed? Do we co-sleep? Do we carry our babies? All decision unique to the mother, child and situation. But I think we should plan ahead (if we can) and do a little research and follow our instincts.