NATURAL BIRTH REQUIRES THE MOTHER TO FEEL SAFE AND UNOBSERVED
“Anything that disturbs a labouring woman’s sense of safety and privacy will disrupt the birth process. This definition covers most of modern obstetrics, which has created an entire industry around the observation and monitoring of pregnant and birthing women.”
Dr Sarah J Buckley
In order for the natural system of birth to begin functioning optimally with a gradual release and build up of the birthing hormones, the mother needs to feel safe and unobserved!
Safety is a deep instinctual primal need for a woman to feel comfortable enough to relax into the physical state of vulnerability required for birthing. We can observe how animals instinctually seek out a secluded, hidden safe place in which to birth their young.
During the preparatory phase before the onset of labour, women will instinctively want to find this private, safe place. This is the time that many women start ‘nesting’ activities; renovating, cleaning and preparing for the birth. As the majority of women in the developed world birth in hospital, packing the hospital bag has replaced preparing the home as the most common ‘nesting’ activity.
Our culture has been programmed to believe that hospital is the “safe” place for birth and many women want to race off there at the first signs of labour. Often, once they arrive, their bodies instinctively do not feel safe or unobserved and for many women, labour slows down or stops altogether. This then validates the belief that women’s bodies are not to be trusted to birth by themselves and that they require all the intervention that the medical model offers. It is in this situation of arrested labour that the 'cascade of intervention' begins with labour inducing drugs, electronic foetal monitors, restricted movement, large technological machines, epidurals and finally the caesarean section. From the moment she arrives, fear is building in the mother. Fear is contraindicated to natural birth.
Privacy is essential for a woman to feel safe and comfortable to surrender and let go; to allow the body to find its own wisdom in how to birth the baby. Sadly, there is little if any privacy in the hospital setting. Strangers, bright lights, machines, people coming in and out of the room at will, loud noises. Labouring women are often subjected to invasive procedures such as internal examinations, catheter insertion, IV insertion, attachment of the EFM to the babies head and their genitals on show with little respect for the sanctity of birth and the need for privacy. Giving Birth is a truly intimate act, not unlike the act of lovemaking which put the baby there in the first place. Making love in full view of a room of strangers is not conducive to a relaxing and ecstatic experience, the same applies to birth. Even some homebirth midwives do not create enough privacy for the labouring woman and her partner.
If you want this situation to change then you, the consumer needs to start demanding increased safety and privacy in the birth setting. If you don't get the answers you want, then change doctors, change hospitals and spend your money where you can get what you want! This is the power of the people! We have a choice as to how and to whom we spend our money!