Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I should add that Unassisted Childbirth does not mean that women labour and deliver entirely alone in all cases. I know of two women who delivered their first babies totally alone without their husbands or anyone else there for support, BY CHOICE~but I believe this is not a typical UC delivery. Most UC birth stories I have heard include the presence of non medical support people that the woman knows and trusts implicitly, including a husband, doula, and possibly some other family members. This wasn't clear in my previous discussion of Unassisted Childbirth. Proponents of this movement trust birth, their bodies, their own intuition, and themselves and generally wish to have a birth that is uninterrupted and untarnished.

Of course, in my personal opinion one should interview several midwives when you are first pregnant, and choose one which suits your personality in order to develop a positive and trusting relationship with her SO THAT you can rest assured that during labour and delivery you will be able to trust her to listen to you, your preferences, and support you in the manner that is best for you [and not for her]. Kind of like a doula-midwife-friend all rolled into one. I also believe the optimum doula to be a close friend of a birthing momma who happens to be a doula.

Problems arise when women's wants or needs regarding a non interrupted labour conflict with the basic level of interaction a midwife is comfortable with. For example, listening to a baby's heart tones during labour is fairly standard, and most midwives I know of in my area would not feel comfortable attending a birth if the woman didn't want her baby's heart tones to be listened to at all because it would interrupt her labour process and her concentration. This is a legitimate concern, for both sides: I know I found the doptone incredibly bothersome in labour, uncomfortable, and intrusive. I also know that a prolonged or extreme drop in a baby's heart tones can be the first, and sometimes the only (though fetal movement can be reassuring, as I learned from my friend Asheya, and subsequently noticed in my own delivery), indication of fetal distress and as such most midwives are not comfortable 'not knowing' how a baby is handling labour via heart tones.
Every midwife has a bottom line, beyond which they are not comfortable attending a woman giving birth. It is certainly possible to find a balance between a woman's needs and preferences in labour and a skilled attendant's preferences as for minimum medical interaction.

I just wanted to clarify that most UCs are not entirely labouring alone, and add a few extra details.

I would also like to add that I would fight to the death for a woman's right to choose an unassisted birth, despite the fact that I do not consider it the safest type of birth. It is eating cake, but women have the right to decide for themselves whether to eat cake or not, and any movement in the direction of disallowing women to choose what happens to their own bodies is dangerous, violent, and counter to the core of what I believe is ethical and right.

What do you think of this post of mine? I know there are more of you out there!!


Tonya said...

Good clarification. I didn't really know what the case was. I have heard of some people saying that basically since it was their husband and them together when they got pregnant that is all that should be there when the baby comes out. Hmmm. I've even heard the opinion that it is a religious, ummm, must? I know I'm not wording this correctly. But I think they think the Bible says something about this. Somehow. I'm guess taken out of context! Right!!!

Dana said...

Still processing, and formulating my comment! I don't have a lot of brain power to spare these days!

Louise and Gary Chapman said...

Not a comment about UC, I just wanted to say that I find it so interesting that everyone's idea of an ideal birth is so different. For me, I felt best at the hospital. I trust doctors and nurses and felt that if anything happened, they would be prepared to deal with it. The more people checking on me and my baby in utero, the better. Finally, when Kai was born via C-section they said that there was absolutely no way he would've made it out and had I been somewhere where C-sections were not available, he would've died.