If you haven’t experienced childbirth yourself, then perhaps you are somewhat familiar with what it entails from what the media has shown you, and if there’s one thing many of us think of when it comes to giving birth, it is to PUSH. However, the notion that one needs to push, coincidentally, is all wrong, and is not a part of natural labor, along with many other commonly held beliefs that mainstream medicine and the mainstream media has shown us.
Nine in ten women experience some form of tearing during childbirth, and in some cases they are left with lifelong nerve damage as a result of this. After the rate of perineal tearing rose quite drastically in 2014, the Royal College of Midwives initiated a call to action.
An extremely simple fix was implemented: the hospital simply stopped telling women to lie on their backs and “push” during childbirth — this resulted in a reduction of third and fourth degree perineal tears from a whopping seven percent to one percent.
Dot Smith, the hospital’s head of midwifery, says that the numbers of tears are directly related to the misconception and misguidance that women in labor need to push, push and push harder.
Where Did This Notion Come From?
Until about the 1950s, women generally gave birth at home with the assistance of midwives and doulas. They would give birth standing up or squatting on their knees and were encouraged to breathe through the contractions and only to push when they felt a natural urge to do so. The urge to push does arise naturally, so listening to your body and letting it determine when it’s time is generally a good thing to do.
Instead of pushing until the head comes out and then having a doctor pull out the baby, the midwives usually allow for the rest of the baby to come out at it’s own pace, and this has proved to be a much more gentle and successful birthing process for mother and baby.
Many women decided themselves that they would like to have a doctor give birth to their children because they wanted a pain free childbirth, and it was the doctors — not the midwives that had the appropriate anesthetic and pain relief, such as epidural. But it was this decision that ultimately lead to more complications during childbirth and sometimes a disconnect between mother and child because the natural hormones and chemicals that are naturally released at this time, aren’t.
There Is No Right or Wrong Way
Whatever the mother chooses is up to her, and there is no right or wrong way, and there are pros and cons to both having a midwife or a doctor deliver your baby. However, there are some important points to consider about midwifery that are often overlooked.
Many women view other women as crazy for even considering natural childbirth although it was being done this way for thousands and thousands of years (most women are made for giving birth), and up until recently it became mostly male doctors that were delivering their babies often with little or no real experience doing so. Increasingly, births are being scheduled on a pre-arranged date and delivered via c-section, all in the name of convenience. Does this method of childbirth come with unknown implications.
How About Merging The Two?
Like the hospital mentioned above they have had great success with utilizing some of the practices midwives have been using for hundreds of years — if not longer, at the hospital and simply not telling women to push. Instead of on their backs in stirrups being yelled at to push, women are able to give birth standing up, or squatting with no instruction to push.
This is one option. Many people are unaware of the trauma that babies can experience during their birth that leaves an imprint on them for the rest of their lives. Of course this can be overcome, but many have no awareness of this trauma in the first place.
Regardless of whether the birth happens in a hospital or at home I think we can all agree that it should be as easeful and comfortable for the mother and baby.
If this topic is of interest to you and you would like to learn more, I highly suggest checking out a documentary called The Business Of Being Born.