It seems like from the moment you first announce your pregnancy, everyone is asking about your birth plans. And no matter what your plans might be, there’s bound to be a spirited debate about your choices and opinions. Childbirth is an issue that gets people hot under the collar.
This article will explore some of the issues around the birthing choices available to you, and help you to decide what is right for you.
Natural childbirth in a modern world
Women have been birthing babies naturally for many thousands of years; it’s what our bodies were designed to do. It’s only relatively recently in human history that people have started viewing childbirth as something requiring medical attention.
Today, the exact timing of a birth can be scheduled to coincide with the doctors’ weekend plans. C-sections are so common in most parts of the world; women are left with little control over their birthing experiences. A growing number of women are turning to all natural childbirth as an alternative to the stressful, drug-induced birth experiences that occur in hospitals around the world on a daily basis. And it’s not only the bare-footed tree-hugging earth-mother types who rave about the benefits of natural childbirth. Doctors, midwives and various international medical authorities all agree that in a standard low-risk pregnancy, an all-natural birth is better for both mother and child, and studies show that there is no significant difference in outcomes for the mother or baby.
Consider an all-natural birth: here’s why
- A better experience for the baby: There is little argument that many of the toxic drugs used are passed through to the baby before, during and after birth (in the form of the breast milk). If you are serious about giving your baby the best possible start to life, a natural birth is something to consider.
- It’s an important rite of passage: for many women, giving birth naturally is something they have imagined since first hearing the news of their pregnancy. Giving birth naturally is considered by some to be one of the most powerful rites of passage in a woman’s life. It’s empowering to know that you can withstand the pain of childbirth and bring life into the world without help!
- It’s cheaper: No reason to choose natural childbirth but a good reason never the less! With healthcare costs soaring and the average c-section costing tens of thousands of Rands, it’s no wonder that expectant mums are concerned about savings!
- You will heal faster: Women heal faster after an all-natural birth, it’s all those feel good hormones that nature intended to help you heal and regain your strength again. No nasty scars or medication hangovers for you or baby to worry about either!
- Better bonding with baby: Research has shown that women who birth their babies naturally bond more easily, are able to breastfeed more easily and are able to settle in together better than babies who have been born through a c-section or using painkilling medications.
C-sections: when to let modern medicine take over
Not all pregnancies are destined to end in a natural birth. There are many medical situations that necessitate a C-section. Previous c-sections, maternal obesity, diabetes, HIV and a number of different risk factors can all result in a caesarean section being scheduled from the outset of pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, it might become apparent that the baby is too large to be delivered vaginally and a c-section will be scheduled. While it can be disappointing to realize that you aren’t able to have the earth-mother all natural birth that you always envisioned, at the end of the day it’s all about having a healthy baby, whatever that means.
Since modern medicine has almost perfected the art of pain-free childbirth, it seems almost sadomasochistic to put yourself through the pain of childbirth if you don’t really have to. Modern medicine is continually evolving to provide the best possible chances that your baby will be born without complications, in a pain-free environment, should you choose.
And statistics seem to indicate that more and more women are electing to have the less painful birth. There are a few reasons why the c-section rates are rising, some theories that it is partly because most doctors and hospitals charge for services rendered, and a c-section is far more profitable than an all natural birth. But it isn’t only profit that drives ever-increasing medical interventions; many doctors believe that they are merely using the tools available to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your baby.
When it comes to deciding what is best for you and your baby, you and your healthcare provider have the ultimate votes. And as long as you are blessed with a healthy baby at the end of it, does it really matter how it happened?