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Who Controls Birth?

There are few things as universal as birth, yet regardless of its great significance in our lives, we too readily relinquish control of this most sacred rite.

In recent years Americans have become over-reliant on experts in every field. Consequently, we have abrogated our responsibility and given away much of our power. Birth is a particularly good example of this.

As a culture, we have in recent decades accepted the medical establishment's self-serving assertion that it is impossible for a woman to safely deliver a baby anywhere but in a hospital, attended by an M.D. Obviously, this could not be true, or the human race would not have survived into modern times. Nevertheless, the woman in labor has precious little to look to for a positive model of what birth can be.

All the cultural messages describe labor and birth as excrutiatingly painful, which usually causes the mother great stress and fear. She wonders if she is capable of delivering naturally, without drugs or high tech intervention. What she may forget, and what is absolutely critical for her to remember and know, is that millions of years of evolution are on her side! She doesn't have to do much of anything, her body already knows how to birth a baby!

Outside the USA, about 80% of the world's babies are delivered with the assistance of nurse-midwives and traditional midwives, often in home settings. And in America, in our grandparents' and great-grandparents' generations, most babies were born at home.

In contrast, in the USA today, institutionalized medicine has virtually taken over childbirth. As a result, it has created many procedures for the convenience and benefit of the doctors and hospital staff, rather than for the safety and comfort of the mother and baby.

The result is often an aggressive approach and the medical management of birth, typical of doctors, rather than a more gentle, passive approach that allows nature to take its course, which is more typical of nurses and midwives. Many critics believe this to be one of the primary reasons that cesarean births have been on the upswing in America for many years.

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