If you are visiting this page for the first time, I have one simple request: Please take the time to watch the documentary “The Business of Being Born” and read “The Official Lamaze Guide” before you make a decision about how and where to have your baby.
Thanks and love, Aryn
Natty Birth gives you the info on…
Interventions: Most hospital and physician directed childbirth involves a variety of interventions, most all of which have negative consequences to mother and baby, that a natural childbirth can help you to avoid.
Safety/Optimal Care: There is a wealth of scientific data that proves having a baby in a birthing center or at home is AS SAFE OR SAFER than childbirth in a hospital (for normal pregnancies.) Optimal care defines the most efficient and empowering methods for childbirth.
News: Recent news articles, research and studies released about childbirth (updated blog)
Tips: Secrets to have a healthy and empowered pregnancy and childbirth experience including herbal supplements, exercise regimens, hypnotherapy and sweet products!
Resources: Aryn’s recommended list of books, movies and websites related to childbirth.
About Aryn: Read Aryn’s natural birth story
Shared Stories: Leave a comment or post your natural birth story
Natty Birth Philosophy:
First of all, I acknowledge that natural birth is not for everyone. On rare occasions, some women experience complicated pregnancies, and these women DO need the assistance of doctors and hospitals. However, the point is, the overwhelming majority of women who give birth every year have uncomplicated (low-risk) pregnancies, and for these women, birthing at home or at a birthing center with a midwife is just as safe (and in many cases might actually be safer) than a hospital birth with a doctor. Why? Because doctors and hospitals are inclined to look for pathology, and have a strategy of “actively managing” labor, as opposed to allowing women and their bodies to have control. Active management leads to unnecessary interventions that could potentially be harmful to mother and/or baby. A wealth of scientific research proves that every intervention (electronic fetal monitoring, labor induction, epidurals, episiotomies, C-sections) usually leads to more interventions. On rare occasions due to medical emergency, these interventions are necessary. However, in most cases, they simply put a healthy mother and baby at risk for complications that would not have existed in a natural birthing environment.
I believe the overwhelming majority of women are not informed of the risks of these, increasingly common, interventions and choose to have a hospital birth with a doctor because they assume it’s the easiest and safest way to birth. This, I believe, is simply untrue. The majority of women, especially in America, are likely putting themselves and their babies at greater risk every time they step into a hospital to give birth.
Why I chose natural birth:
Before my husband and I began trying to conceive our first baby, I was already researching elective C-sections. Before my first pregnancy had even begun, I was already convinced that giving birth would be too difficult and too painful for me to handle. I was sure my baby would get stuck and I would need a C-section. Why??? I believe so many of us first time moms (or soon to be first time moms!) have been bombarded by our culture into believing that birth is scary, traumatic and is to be treated like a disease that needs to be dealt with in a hospital. Movies show us women who are screaming and crying, everyone we know who has kids feels compelled to tell us their birth “horror story” and we are now living in a country where 99% of births happen in hospitals and 1/3 of those births end up in C-sections. So, even though my pre-conception research seems extreme, I believe I was just a product of my culture. After finding out that I was pregnant, I began to do what every first time mom does, I read those baby books! I also was fortunate enough to, very early on in my pregnancy, watch the film, “The Business of Being Born.” After copious amounts of reading, research and thought, I came to the conclusion that I wanted a natural birth in a birthing center with a midwife.
When I first began to tell people that I was having my birth naturally with a midwife, people would say to me, “oh, you’re so brave!” Which, in light of my research, seemed like a ridiculous thing to say. I guess people assume I’m brave because I have made the choice to birth without an epidural and without a doctor, but believe me, bravery is far from the primary motivation to have a natural birth. If anything, I am AFRAID.
I am afraid of birthing in a hospital with a doctor. I am afraid of a doctor that will scare me into not waiting for spontaneous labor because of (scientifically proven) bogus reasons including low amniotic fluid, macrosomia (large baby) and gestating past my due date (even though going to 42 weeks is well within the “safety” curve). I am afraid of being pressured by a doctor into an unnecessary induction. (Which happens to almost 90% of women). I am afraid that my unnecessary induction will be harmful to my baby (Researchers believe spontaneous labor begins only when the baby signals the mother’s body that its lungs are ready to breathe) I am afraid that my unnecessary induction with Pitocin will be more painful than real contractions (and scientifically, it is!) I am afraid that artificial oxytocin (Pitocin) will block my natural brain oxytocin and prevent me from bonding with my baby (and it can!). I am afraid that because my unnecessary Pitocin induction will be so painful, that I will have to have an epidural (as most all induced women do.) I’m afraid that because of the epidural and hospital required electronic fetal monitoring, I will not be allowed to eat or walk during my labor (things which are proven to help ease labor pain and length). I am afraid that because I will be hooked up to all these machines and drugs, I will be forced to birth in the lithotomic position (flat on my back, feet in stirrups) which is perhaps the most anti-productive position to birth in. I am afraid that if my labor continues to progress “normally”, my doctor and nurse will coach me to push too quickly and I will tear my perineum when the baby is born (tearing happens to most women in hospitals, and rarely to women outside of hospitals).
However, I am also afraid that if my labor does not progress “normally” (under very strict hospital guidelines of dilation of 1cm per hour, which is in fact very fast for a first baby) then my labor will be labeled as “failure to progress.” I am afraid that I might be slapped with the label “failure to progress” because all these drugs in my body are working against each other (Pitocin speeds up labor, epidurals slow it down) or because the fetal heart monitor (which is proven to be widely ineffective) will give a “nonreassuring” signal. I am afraid that for any and all of these reasons I will be pressured into an unnecessary (i.e. could have been avoided) C-section. (C-sections accounts for 1 in 3 hospital births now). I am afraid of major abdominal surgery that will have far reaching repercussions for now and for future pregnancies. (including higher risk of: infection, longer recovery time, post-partum depression, uterine rupture, placenta accreta, increta and percreta and maternal death). I am afraid that all these unnecessary drugs will get into my baby’s bloodstream (and they do) and negatively affect her first days of life (on average naturally birthed babies have higher average Apgar scores, and less breathing distress).
I am afraid that a little bit of fear about birthing naturally, the way God intended our bodies to, will drive me to choose a hospital birth that is putting my self and my baby at much higher risk. I am afraid that most women aren’t informed of the risks of intervention inclined hospital birth, and are given false assurance that the choice of a doctor and a hospital is a “safer” one. I am afraid that our culture is so biased against natural birth, that we are approaching an induction and C-section epidemic, which will negatively affect our future generations or children and mothers! I am afraid my friends, and that is why I have chosen a natural birth.