One of the greatest myths perpetuated by the medical system is that hospitals are the safest place to give birth. Stories abound of women dying in childbirth before the advent of modern hospitals. And yet, few people realize that women were not dying due to the fact that childbirth is inherently dangerous, but rather because of the living conditions at that time.
Birth is essentially an emotional/spiritual/sexual act. And just as most couples would find it hard to relax and have sex with others in the room, many of them feel the same way about birth. Actually, some couples do choose to have sex in labor. When a woman is sexually stimulated, oxytocin pours through her system, stimulating the contractions. Pitocin, which is often administered in the hospital to speed up contractions, is artificial oxytocin.
Not only, however, do some couples find a the presence of a midwife or doctor inhibiting, they also find it unnecessary. Women’s bodies were designed to give birth. When a woman is physically and psychologically healthy (free from fear, shame, and guilt), babies can often be born easily. As Grantly Dick-Read, author of Childbirth without Fear writes, “If left alone in labor, the body of a woman produces most easily the baby that is not interfered with by its mother’s mind or the assistant’s hand. If left alone, just courage and patience are required. Faith, if she is a believer, is the secret to having a healthy baby and being a happy mother.”
Some women actually prefer to give birth completely alone. Of course, most of them would say they weren’t alone – God, their innerself, or the larger consciousness, was with them, guiding them each step of the way.
Unassisted childbirth is empowering for the woman, her partner, and her baby. Women who have given birth with little or no assistance often describe it as the most fulfilling experience of their lives. With no one around to tell them what to do, when to push, or which position to be in, many women find they know how to give birth.
Unassisted childbirth is free!
Although some women find the presence of midwives or doctors comforting, others find it inhibiting. It is up to each one of us to decide for ourselves who we want to be with us in birth.
Photo copyright David Glover.