Choice in Childbirth
The average American does not understand the concept of birth choice. Americans have a preconceived and honestly, often incorrect, understanding of childbirth. Childbirth is considered an unpredictable and dangerous event that should be handled like a medical emergency. As a result, women feel they are ill-equipped to make any choices about the way they give birth.
Following are Some of the Most Prevailing Beliefs that Rob Women of Their Birth Choices:
1. Childbirth Is Very Complicated
Delivering a baby in an “Intensive Care Unit” (Labor and Delivery is considered one) seems appropriate to American families. We have been inundated with images of women in labor covered in blue surgical drapes with oxygen masks on their faces, laying in specialized hospital beds under bright lights surrounded by loud, anxious voices of nurses and doctors who are dressed in surgical scrubs. There are tables covered in metal instruments, machines attached to the woman and baby to monitor every minute of the labor and NICU teams at the deliveries. The logical deduction is that childbirth does not happen without a lot of assistance and intervention.
2. Childbirth Requires Medical People to Make the Decisions
In America, we believe that women in labor could endanger themselves and their babies if they were free to choose whatever they wanted in their labor and birth.
3. Labor and Childbirth Can Only be Accomplished One Way
We believe that a woman should labor on her back with her legs in stirrups because the bottom of the bed has been removed to allow her doctor a comfortable position for delivering her baby. In actuality, when a woman is given the opportunity to ambulate and change positions, the process of moving the baby down is much more efficient given the law of gravity.
4. Is Incredibly Difficult and Excruciatingly Painful for Women
Because this has become the pervasive belief in our culture, women decide to avoid as much of the process as possible. Avoiding pain is a huge reason most women do not explore their options for birth. They believe that they need to sacrifice their autonomy in order to avoid suffering in childbirth.
5. Childbirth Is Dangerous
This viewpoint is the single biggest reason why women and their partners choose to abdicate their power in childbirth and let Medical Professionals make all the decisions. They place their faith in the medical approach to childbirth because they desperately desire a guarantee that their baby will survive. They do this without ever considering the negative impact of interfering in a safe, physiologic process.
6. Childbirth Should Always Happen in a Hospital
In less than 100 years, America has gone from delivering almost all babies at home to delivering almost all babies in a hospital. There was never any evidenced-based reason to nearly eliminate homebirth. Homebirth has always been safe for a certain group of women.
7. Physiologic Birth & Things like Water Labor and Birth are for “Natural” Moms Who Don’t Mind Taking Risks
Delivering in a tub of water is only for the most “earthy, crunchy moms” – not the “regular” mothers. They believe the hospital, the monitors, the epidural and even cesarean birth are the “safest” way for babies to be born. The mothers who make a less medical choice are lucky when it all goes well.
Medical studies have shown that healthy women who are not interrupted and are behaving instinctively can deliver their babies safely with minimal intervention. Of course, healthcare providers do occasionally need to keep mothers and their babies safe. A woman should have a provider with her to monitor labor progress and watch for signs of complications but their role should be more like that of a lifeguard; watching or any signs of problems, trying to prevent accidents and jumping in only when there is really something wrong.
Want to Learn More? Join Us at The New Jersey Symposium for Physiologic Birth: 2017 The Evidence for CHOICE
The medical evidence shows that many of the choices women would naturally make during their labor and birth are safe, often safer than the normal labor management in most American hospitals. The Midwives of New Jersey are hosting a conference that begins a discussion about birth choices in our state and details the evidence that shows these individual variations in how a woman gives birth to be safe and reasonable.
Our conference will have offerings for both families and healthcare professionals in and around our state. The first day of the conference is geared toward parents with 2 birth workshops. The first is a waterbirth seminar and the second is the Savvy birth workshop. The second day, November 4th is designed for birth workers of all kinds including nurses, doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, physicians and hospital administrators. Choices such as Midwifery Care, Homebirth and Waterbirth will be on the schedule as well as many other choices including eating and drinking in labor and starting labor spontaneously.
Register for this not to be missed conference full of beautiful birth images and powerful speakers. Meet with our sponsors, Hoboken University Medical Center, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, Bioreference Labs, Total Wellness of New Jersey, Morristown Medical Center and Core Therapies Chiropractic. Enjoy delicious meals and snacks. We are planning a “Birth Bash” after the conference to celebrate and network with one another.
Our keynote speaker is Dr. Rebecca Decker from Evidence-Based Birth®. Rebecca has built a reputation for excellence in maternal and infant health circles for her pioneering work as the founder of Evidence Based Birth.® The mission of Evidence Based Birth® is to change maternity care from the inside out; educating families and professionals based on research evidence rather than relying on increasingly risky customary medical practice. Dr. Dekker serves as a peer reviewer for maternal health research journals, volunteers on the advisory boards for Improving Birth and DONA International, and has presented to a number of leading organizations in the childbirth field, including the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the March of Dimes, Lamaze, and DONA International. She is an amazing speaker!
Interested in being a Sponsor at our Conference? Contact us at 908.509.1801 or [email protected] for more information.