Why Not The Hospital?
We tend to believe that the way we give birth in the United States is normal, typical of how birth is done. Typical does not mean normal. Normal birth is not a medical emergency, does not require drugs to get through it, nor is it an ordeal to survive.
Around 1914, birth moved from the home and being a family centered event to being a medical event, involving drugs and intervention at the hospital. Drugs became a typical way of managing the birth, a way to deal with the fear of birth and to disassociate the body from the birth. Not being present by means of medication allowed a routine to be born.
This routine of using drugs for birth is still being used in various ways today, often lengthening labor and the pushing stage, increasing the risk of something going wrong and often preventing women from being able to care for their babies or themselves after birth. So, the separation of mothers and babies and the family unit after birth became typical. Two professions were developed to manage this separation. One to care for the mothers after birth and one to care for the babies.
We have inherited this set of circumstances along with the fear of pain, fear about birth and shame about our bodies. We still have the belief, mostly because we have been told over and over, that our bodies don't work well enough to birth and we have to be rescued from the process. Scientific evidence does not support the medical model of birth. Birth outside the hospital with a qualified attendant is as safe or safer than what has become typical in our lifetime. A woman's body is designed to birth. Her body and her baby know exactly what to do and always have.
Facts to Know and Tell:
The average length of a prenatal visit:
OB (Obstetrician) 6 minutes
CNM (Certified Nurse-Midwife) 15-20 minutes
DEM (Direct-Entry Midwife)
LM (Licensed Midwife)
CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) 45-60 minutes
Out of four million births annually in the United States: 800,000 are by cesarean surgery; 500,000 of those cesareans are medically unnecessary.
Studies show conclusively that the continuous presence of another woman during labor shortens first labors, dramatically lowers requests for epidurals and other drugs, and reduces cesareans by up to 60 percent.
There are 4 vital experiences a baby needs from it's mother in order to trigger future brain development to its full potential:
- Closely Gazing at Her Face
- Hearing the Sound of Her Voice
- Feeling the Beat of Her Heart
- Feeding at Her Breast
If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replaces fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust.
Facts and information excerpted from Suzanne Arms' "Giving Birth" DVD.