The gold standard of childbirth today is without a doubt natural birth. The ideal gold standard natural birth is a homebirth with a midwife. The most ideal gold standard home birth at home is one in which a woman has a water birth. The very, very most ideal gold standard homebirth is when a woman births in water and has a calm birth, trusts childbirth, is left alone to discover birth herself and preferably experiencing a birth orgasm.
Without a doubt, the Internet is full of natural birth websites, Facebook natural birth fan pages and YouTube videos of women giving birth naturally. Having a natural birth is desired by many women nowadays.
Pregnant women wanting a natural home birth are terrified that they might end up having a medical birth in a hospital. In fact, there are many birth advocates and women who believe a hospital birth can never be a natural birth. In reality, there are few natural hospital birth websites compared to natural birth/homebirth websites. The focus for natural birth is primarily on home birth as ‘natural birth’.
We’re going to discuss both natural homebirth and natural hospital birth.
Recent history of childbirth
Of the hundreds of fathers and mothers who developed all the skills in Birthing Better skills in the early 1970s, many of them wanted to have a natural birth. These skills developed at a very medical time in maternity care in US and worldwide.
The ‘evidence-based practice’ in the early 1970s in hospitals and by obstetricians was full of ‘standards of care’ or ‘guidelines of practice’ of that time. How do you like the idea of an enema? We had one! Flat on our back, standard episiotomy, no food/drink … all part of birth in the 1970s. But Cesareans were very, very low (4.5%) because they were quite dangerous to mother and baby.
The US was particularly strict … although Eastern European countries have very sterile births still. In other modern and 3rd world countries, the option of homebirth still existed in the early 1970s. Unlike in the US where midwives no longer existed and obstetrical labor and delivery nurses were the staff in the hospital, in other countries midwives were both the staff in maternity wards and attended home births. But many countries were still moving more toward the hospital birth model with lots of ‘standards of care’ now called ‘interventions’.
Pregnant women wanted change so they began to define childbirth as either natural or medical, at home or in hospital, with a midwife or obstetrician. Expectant families wanted more ‘choices’. Birth advocates pushed for change, not just in the US but globally. From all the hard work natural birth and midwifery advocates did, the present Choice-based childbirth approach took hold. In other words, expectant moms-to-be should be able to choose the birth they wanted. Moms-to-be should be able to choose a natural birth at home with a midwife either funded by a Government Health Care system or through private insurance.
The image of natural birth began to really take form during the mid1980s. It’s been a wild ride. The C-section has risen. There’s more shame, blame, guilt, anger, frustration, and disappointment that grew from that period.
Women who birthed after WW2 through the 1970s within the new medical maternity system didn’t have many expectations. We just were glad we were healthy and had a healthy baby. We were the first generation that had access to antibiotics and immunizations so we still had a collective memory of women suffering in birth, women, and babies dying. We also expected 25% of our children under the age of 5 to die due to childhood illnesses.
On the other hand, Life is much more dangerous than giving birth with or without modern medical care so giving birth without medical care is realistic. Yet, this truth is wrapped up in another truth … ‘there’s no way to know what your birth will be like’. And, that conflict between the Unknown and it probably will be alright is what led moms and dads to develop Birthing Better skills.
We wanted to have a safe birth. We wanted skills to work through our baby’s birth in all circumstances. We wanted to have shared skills as partners/family. We wanted to reduce and prevent any ‘issues’ from becoming ‘problems’. And, when we had more medical care than we wanted or believe we needed, we had the skills to keep working through our baby’s birth journey as empowered moms and dads. We accomplished all of these things.
We want you to benefit from our online birth courses and learn the skills we developed.
Down the garden path
Right now because you want a natural birth either as a homebirth or natural hospital birth you are focusing your Mind on your Birth Plan and the choices you’re thinking about. Your Birth Plan is how you articulate what you want and don’t want for your natural birth.
Women who have had a natural birth are giving you support and encouraging you. Birthing Better families understand what you’re doing and thinking because we all share a similar process as we plan our natural birth. We also want to ask you some questions:
- What skills are you learning?
- Are you creating a Skills-based Birth Plan as well?
- Has your partner learned birth coaching skills?
- Will these skills serve you if (don’t close your eyes!) transfer to hospital?
What skills are you learning?
With the exception of Birthing Better, every skills-based method available focus on achieving a natural birth. Make a list of the skills you are learning. Then ask yourself question #4 from above. Will the skills you are learning now work well if you transfer? Make certain you have skills that work in however your birth unfolds. This is why we want you to look into Birthing Better skills. Families developed them for ALL births.
This may be hard for you to understand what Birthing Better families discovered about natural birth. We discovered that birth is always natural. We’ll shout that from the highest roof.
- We get pregnant to have a baby not a type of birth. Getting pregnant is natural even if it’s IVF.
- Birth is the NATURAL end of pregnancy … 100% guaranteed!
- Every single type of birth (even non-laboring Caesarean) is an activity we have to do which means we are present and accounted for!
- Birth and birth-coaching skills gave us the way (the how-to) birth our baby and being able to consciously work through our baby’s birth was the ultimate experience of having a ‘natural’ birth. We birthed consciously!
Your skills must be able to work for you no matter how your birth unfolds. This means you need to learn a range of skills and see yourself using them in the most medical birth you can imagine.
Skills-based Birth Plan
What you’re thinking is a Skills-based Birth Plan?
Why haven’t I heard of that before?
And why would I possibly need one?
We’re about to walk you down the garden path to a whole new way of seeing your coming natural birth.
STOP for a moment and pay attention to what your Mind is thinking as you’re planning your natural birth. What are your thoughts and wishes … write them down just like an informal list. These may go on your conventional Birth Plan. Count them.
How many of these things are about what you want and don’t want? Then ask yourself, how many of these things you’re thinking right now explain what skills you’ll use throughout your natural birth?
We can bet you that the vast majority, if not all, of your thoughts, are about what you want and don’t want and nothing or very little about what skills others will see you use during your natural birth. Yes, others can tell whether you’re using skills or not.
Do we have your attention? We hope so. Write a Skills-based Birth Plan as well. Tell your midwife or obstetrician what skills they will see you use and what birth-coaching skills your partner/other will use. Include in this new Birth Plan how you can teach your birth providers the skills or how you want them to encourage you to use them.
When Birthing Better fathers and mothers developed these skills fathers were called ‘birth coach’ because Lamaze and The Bradley Methods (focused on achieving three goals: natural birth, painless labor and less medical care) were very much about father/husband as birth-coach. Lamaze, Bradley and Grantly Dick-Read classes had been around from the 60s to the mid1980s. After almost a generation of using these methods to achieve those three goals, not enough women did. The failure of skills to achieve those three goals led birth advocates coupled with midwives to focus on something else … ‘choices’.
Once the Birth Plan developed the role of father/husband shifted dramatically away from being a birth-coach to ‘support’. Here’s the reason why this shifted:
Lamaze and Bradley advocated ‘hold your breath, put your chin on your chest and push, push, push’. Birth advocates didn’t want fathers to be a football coach telling women what to do. Skills were dismissed! Today natural birth advocates like yourself think about the role of your partner/other as a support person to your choices. But you want them to be there and help you.
Helping is a form of ‘coaching’. Coaching does NOT mean you get screamed at to ‘push, push, push’. Birthing Better skills are divided into birthing skills and birth-coaching skills because both roles, tasks and jobs are different and important.
Will your birth skills work in a medical birth?
Keep in mind. Only you are birthing your baby. Pregnancy and birth are infrequent. You can’t replay your birth. This is a one-off, intense, dynamic, important and transforming Life Experience. Become skilled and use your skills to birth your baby no matter where you birth, who is present and what they are doing as well as what happens to or around you. We can’t stress this enough.
Birth your baby with skills as your commitment to yourself and your baby!
Natural birth back in Time
As women who live in modern societies, we forget that anything that happened at birth (when and where there is no medical care available) is and always will be ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ even if undesired or infrequent. Natural birth is a phrase. That phrase is now loaded with implications.
The word ‘natural’ birth is now being used to mean: safe, easy, good outcome and manageable as well as desirable.
In the totality of Time and Place, the words ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ has and will always mean ‘anything’.
You must absolutely understand this without doing an ostrich. If you do an ostrich you set yourself to feel shame, blame, guilt, disappointment, anger, and trauma. When you come to terms with everything involved with birth is normal and natural then you’ll truly understand the huge value of being skilled.
You might ask whether a c-section is natural or normal. On the one hand, it’s now more normal then you’d like because many women are having a cesarean delivery. But that’s not what you want to hear. No, surgery is not part of the natural world, however, (and we’ll get to this issue below) you are still having a baby or giving birth or doing the activity of driving to hospital, getting prepped and having the surgery, being sown up and in recovery. You might hate the thought, hate if that happens to you but you can use skills to birth your baby. Using skills to birth our baby is always the internal place we go to for our personal pride and empowerment … ‘I DID IT!’
Please keep in mind that childbirth has a very wide range of natural and normal. For example, there’s natural occurring pain of contractions. It’s normal for women to get varicose veins during pregnancy. It’s natural to often hate birth. it’s normal to not bond immediately with your baby right after birth. It’s natural for some women to tear badly or to bleed. Some babies don’t naturally breathe and need assistance. And these are only a tiny, insignificant number of natural and normal aspects of birth that can occur even at the most ideal gold standard type of birth.
Back to your natural birth
Only you know how important a natural birth is to you. Pregnant women who want to have a natural birth tend to fall into several groups:
- Ideology … you’re anti-medical and absolutely do not want to go to hospital for any reason.
- Religious … your faith does not involve medical care.
- Sounds good … you’d like a natural birth or a home birth but not too fussed if there’s a need for more medical care.
- You don’t want to be bested … a friend or relative had a natural birth either in hospital or home and damn you’re going to too!
Write down your reason/s for having a natural birth and/or home birth. Write down what reasons would cause you to accept increased medical care. Don’t write down generalizations … be as specific as you can. Then write down what steps or skills you are going to use to help yourself achieve your natural birth.
It’s your choice
When push comes to shove, it’s your choice whether you just ‘trust’ birth and believe your conventional Birth Plan full of your thoughtful wants and don’t want or whether you’re going to arm yourself with effective birth and birth-coaching skills. It’s your choice.
What Birthing Better families discovered very rapidly is simple. There’s no way to know what your birth will be like. And no matter how much you’ve thought about what you want and don’t want, these choices can change unexpectedly. And a funny thing can happen, you might not like the choices you’ve chosen when your birth unfolds. That’s common and confuses your partner, friends, doula, obstetrician, and midwife. Birth professionals are all too familiar with women who have 10-20 wants and don’t wants for their natural birth, get 3/4 of those and are still teed off. Partners, friends, and relatives also know how teed off women can be months after their birth when they changed their minds during their natural birth and then feel ripped off even though everyone tried to give them what they wanted at the time.
Not being able to control birth drives pregnant and birthing women nuts.
We’ve arrived at the end and the beginning
Birthing Better families want to share this incredible insight. Choices and plans are variable, being skilled is fundamental. Regardless of all factors, if you are skilled then you’ll cope, manage, deal with, handle, work through, stay on top and in control no matter what is happening. In other words, shift your Mind to ‘doing’ the birth rather than imagining or hoping to orchestrate your birth … the place, type, people, things. Just keep ‘doing’ the activity of birthing your baby. Just keep working with your baby’s efforts to be born.
Your BIG QUESTION
‘What if my natural birth goes to custard and becomes a medical birth?’
Take a deep breath. When you view birth from a ‘choice’ basis full of your wants and don’t want it’s incredibly easy to become disappointed because there are too many moving parts that you have no ability to control. How many things do you want or don’t want in order for you to achieve your natural birth? Many conventional Birth Plans are several pages long with extensive details. Between 30-50% of women ‘choosing’ a natural birth end up with a more medical one.
Take another deep breath. When you view birth from a ‘skills-based’ approach then you absolutely know you have the depth of skill to work through your baby’s birth journey because you totally choose to stay engaged and active rather than go passive because you didn’t get what you wanted. Birthing Better families want you to really take this on board. Every Birthing Better family has to make that choice … use skills or hope you get your choices. They chose the former and felt totally empowered by that choice. They chose to become skilled birthing families.
Choose which online birthing classes you want, couple the skills with the other things you are doing. When you are highly skilled you are more likely to trust and be very intuitive. Mastery of skills is what leads true intuition!
Birthing Better online birth courses are housed in Common Knowledge Trust.