Is There a Right Way to Birth a Child?

by December 10, 2013
filed under Activism, Life
Topics ,

Mother's love

What does the future of childbirth look like? Childbirth is an ever-evolving topic within the conventional and holistic community. One takes a medical intervention, while the other takes on a natural, mother-centric perspective. It’s a choice that should be left up to the expecting mother as to which resource to use pre, during and post birth. Unfortunately, many women in certain parts of the world don’t have a choice towards how they give birth and raise their children, and it’s vital as citizens of the world that we support women in their individual decisions.

The US has seen an increase in natural childbirths over the past decade. A natural childbirth is characterized as a philosophy in which women are adequately prepared for childbirth without medical interventions, as it’s one of the most natural things a woman can do. Some women choose to have water births, home births and or a birth supported by a midwife. The funny thing is that throughout history, women gave birth without doctors, medical interventions and/or medication. The western perspective on childbirth is a newer phenomenon, but is seen as the norm in our society.

Take Adele Allen: She is an American woman who opted for a natural lotus birth. This is a birth in which the mother decides to keep the placenta attached to the child until it falls off, which usually happens within a week. I was intrigued by this practice as it’s something rarely used by westerners. The comments after the article were disheartening and a common reality for individuals who choose practices outside societal norms. Women are too often criticized for their choices in society, and birthing practices is no stranger to this reality. Here in the US it seems as though a majority of women birth in a hospital without questioning other options. Women who choose a home birth, water birth or other non-medical birthing techniques are often criticized for what they do because we are socialized to believe birthing in a hospital is the safe way.

On the flipside, women in other parts of the world, in particular developing nations, have little to no access to birthing resources. Many women in the US who choose to have a natural birth have resources, doulas, midwives and or birthing centers to aid them in their birthing experience. This allows another level of comfort for expecting mothers if something doesn’t go according to plan and they can be taking to the hospital for medical interventions. Unfortunately, women in developing nations and rural parts of the world lack adequate access to resources, medicine and nutrition.

We see the reality of inadequate medical care with Irma Lopez, a Mexican woman who was forced to give birth on the lawn of a medical center. Irma arrived at the center after a one-hour walk from her rural home; she was refused services because the nurse said she was only eight months pregnant. The nurse then told Irma and her husband to take a walk and come back tomorrow to see a doctor. The couple left, went for a walk and an hour later Irma’s water broke. The mother to be gave birth on the lawn of the medical care center. Fortunately, Irma and her son are doing well – but this is a reality for many women throughout the world. No access or lack of access to maternal care can cause premature births and death for both the mother and child.

I truly believe whether a woman decides to have a water birth, hospital birth or home birth that she needs to be supported in her decisions and given the proper care she requires. Women need to have adequate access to resources, no matter what their choices are. We need to stop judging women who choose to birth differently than what societal norms agree with. What a woman does with her body should be no one’s choice but hers. As long as children are safe and secure, the mother should always have the final say.

What are your thoughts on childbirth? Is there a right way to birth a child? Let us know in the comments below.

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