Birth, Parenting, Pregnancy

Dispelling Birth Fear

Where does fear come from? Typically, it comes from the “unknown”. Lack of information and misinformation can feed fear until it is all consuming. Fear of labor sends women to the hospital mostly because they’ve learned that the hospital equals safety but is this the truth?

We live in a society that speaks highly of “evidence-based health care” yet little of what occurs during pregnancy, labor and birth within the medical model is based on the scientific evidence. Instead it is based on the “worse-case scenario”. In other words, one is to prepare for the worst outcome, however unlikely, because it is best to be prepared, right?

Why not prepare for the best outcome – the most likely scenario when the process is left alone?

We seem to have lost site of the most basic information that the female body was designed specifically to conceive a child, labor and give birth. This is an anatomical and physiological fact. No one argues the validity of that fact but many talk about the lack of instinct when it comes to human birth when compared to the animal birthing process. This is misinformation and we do a great disservice to expectant mothers when we spread misinformation.

There is indeed an instinctual response in labor for humans but what keeps us from following that inborn instinct? The biggest obstacle found in the human world that is not found in the animal world is the current medical model. I have yet to hear of a veterinarian planning to induce a cat, or a cow for that matter. I’m pretty certain that a veterinarian would never consider performing major surgery on an animal for the purpose of bringing the off spring into the world. And veterinarians certainly never put a laboring animal on a monitor to “make sure the baby is tolerating the contractions” nor do they track down the animal to get fetal heart tones. Veterinarians trust birth and they know it works best when left alone. They also recognize and accept that they are human and will make mistakes especially when it comes to estimating due dates.

Another thing that veterinarians know that the medical doctors don’t seem to know is that labor happens better on the mothers turf as well as on her own terms. I’ve never once seen nor heard of anyone insisting that a laboring animal labor in a specific location or position. Animals are allowed to roam and to labor where they are most comfortable. Why do we assume that human mothers are incapable of locating the best location or position for her labor?

How do we change the current situation? What can expectant mothers do to discover the truth about this natural and instinctual process of birth? Who can they trust to give them the scientific evidence that supports the natural process of birth?

Expectant mothers will continue to fear this natural process as long as the “evidence-based” health care system continues to spread misinformation. Once an expectant mother begins to listen to her intuition (which is instinctual) she will begin to discover the truth behind the fiction and will find the scientific evidence that supports her instinctual desire to labor on her own turf and on her own terms. Only then will she be willing to seek out those who can help lead her to the information that will bring to her the true glory that comes with trusting birth.

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