The corporatization of natural birth programs and books

Elizabeth - posted on 02/06/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )




There is no doubt that there is now a huge number of organisations and authors contributing to the "natural birth" and "calm birth" market. In fact, intervention-free seems to be the trendy goal at the moment and this is largely supported by midwives within the public health system (at least in Australia). I did a natural birth course for my first pregnancy, and when the worst possible scenario happened (the "cascade of intervention" resulting in an emergency caesarean), I essentially "failed" the course. At least that's how it felt.

The praise that's attributed to a successful drug-free calm birth only paints anything else as a "horror story". I know that for many women who had a traumatic birth, that label provides comfort to them. But we use that term so loosely and attach it to anything that was challenging and difficult and required intervention. Why don't we celebrate intervention in this modern day? Why do we always say "well, women have been giving birth for centuries…"? People have been having sporting injuries and sustaining spinal cord injuries for centuries too, but we don't expect them to go through that "naturally or drug-free". I'm not attacking the natural birth movement. What I am attacking is the unavoidable negativity towards a woman's right to choose intervention.


Chet - posted on 02/07/2014




In an ideal world women wouldn't be choosing unnecessary interventions. The interventions that happen would all be necessary and they would all save lives. And the unnecessary interventions that only serve to interrupt natural processes wouldn't take place.

We have four kids, and I've been reading parenting boards for eleven years. One thing I can tell you is that a lot of moms are overly sensitive about these issues. A natural, drug free birth doesn't paint other births as a failure. Each birth is unique and people do the best with what they have. A congratulations to a mom with one kind of birth isn't meant to be a slight against a mother with another kind of birth. And most people who express negativity toward interventions aren't directing the negativity at particular mothers, only at a system that could do better for the moms and babies it serves.

The fact of the matter is that interventions do cause problems. There is research linking c-section births to an increased risk of allergies, asthma and obesity in children. But a c-section is better than mother and/or baby not surviving labour and delivery, or baby suffering from a dramatic disability that could have been prevented. Necessary c-sections are good, unnecessary ones can be bad.

Very simply, a lot of moms put too much pressure on themselves. They have too many expectations about what their labour and delivery will be like. They read too much into what other people say. They don't understand that they are individuals and all of the research is about population statistics.

In many places people do need to push for reform though. There are countries where the c-section rate is 40% and countries where it's 15%. And when you look at population data, a 40% c-section rate is nothing to celebrate even if within that population a third of the c-section babies really needed to be born via c-section.

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