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Watch your language: "normal" birth

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 
I read something interesting tonight: it was a UK midwifery site, and on its statistics page, it compared their rates of what they called "normal" birth with the "normal" birth rates of a local hospital.

In North America, we tend to use the term "vaginal" birth more often, and sometimes people are now referring to vaginal as "natural" birth.

I like the term "normal" better than "vaginal". Thoughts?
post #2 of 106
All I know is that it : me to no end when people say "natural" birth when talking about a pit induced, epidural, add any other intervention, birth. I'm sorry but it is not "natural" to have an epidural. It is not "natural" to have pitocin. Makes me want to scream!

I've started refering to my homebirth as a "pure" birth. Makes people confused and then roll their eyes.
post #3 of 106
we call it spontaneous birth around here.
post #4 of 106
I don't consider anything that happens in a hospital as "natural." However, I've attended a lot of med-free (pain meds, that is) births at the hospital.
post #5 of 106
I think that the majority of the american population has no idea what normal birth is, or think it's a hospital birth with an epidural.
post #6 of 106
I admit, when I got pregnant 5 1/2 years ago, I thought a "natural" birth was not a c-section. Simply anything other than a c-section. If that baby came out a vagina, it was a natural birth, no matter what happened to help him/her out.

For my own clarity, I say "unmedicated birth." I think natural birth sounds so nice but I do find it irritating that pitocin and epidurals are often thrown in there. Normal birth sounds "reclaiming," like making breastfeeding basic instead of better.
post #7 of 106
I use "normal" a lot when talking about spontaneous, unhindered birth. Unfortunately, I think that if people start commonly using it to describe vaginal birth, it will go the way of "natural", in other words, used to describe vaginal birth no matter how it happens. I hope not, because the word then wouldn't be useful to me anymore.
post #8 of 106
In the halls of medicine, a "normal" birth, that is, a birth without medical interventions, is often referred to as an "unremarkable birth".
post #9 of 106
As there is no agreed upon central authority defining "natural" and "normal" birth, everyone reads into it what they will, and the many definitions create far more confusion that clarity. I prefer the universally understood terms like vaginal vs c/s birth, induced vs spontaneous labor, medicated vs drug-free labor.

Normal can only be defined in context. In our regional medical center with the NICU, epidurals (at 90%) ARE normal and they think natural births include episiotomies and directed pushing. I think it's a VERY small group of women who comprehend intervention free and natural birth.

Another gripe I have with the word "natural" is how the Madison Avenue types have turned it into a buzz word for good and wholesome while radically devoid of any semblance to how things occur in nature. I'm a homeopath and see "homeopathic" used in the same manner with no connection to the practice of homeopathy or to substances prepared according to the standards of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States. Because "natural" has become such an emotionally loaded term, women can interpret it as a slam against their maternal fitness. I think that's one reason so many online discussions about natural birth turn into flame wars... women are reacting to inferred judgments about them rather than responding to an argument.

That's my ramble.

~BV
post #10 of 106
IMO, just walking into a hospital makes it UNnatural.
post #11 of 106
I tend to use "vaginal" for any delivery where the babe comes out the vagina...regardless of interventions. I use "natural" for a birth in which there were no direct medical interventions regardless of where that birth took place.

I don't know that I'd use "normal" in relation to birth for a couple reasons...first, every birth is different so there really wouldn't be a standard against which "normal" could be set (IMO of course) and second it would automatically create the category of "abnormal" birth. And I think it would be sad to have that sort of mindset or to feel that somehow birth was abnormal, even if a specific birth didn't go as planned or desired.
post #12 of 106
There are all kinds of births!

What I used to call a "natural" birth I now call NORMAL birth. Indicating that the mother began labor on her own, with out use of western or herbal medicine. Labored unhindered, with out interventions. And with out medicinal pain relief. The use of hydrotherapy and things like counter pressure are completely with in the realm of normal.

If the labor includes any kind of intervention, but ends vaginally, I call it a vaginal birth (and tack on with out pain relief where applicable)

Or a c-section. But with in these 'catagorys' there are many many different kinds of births!
post #13 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by miriam View Post
In the halls of medicine, a "normal" birth, that is, a birth without medical interventions, is often referred to as an "unremarkable birth".
How sad. It seems that 'normal' birth should be considered even more remarkable than a typical medical birth, if only because it's so rare in a medical setting.
post #14 of 106
I wanted to have a natural birth more than anything but was manipulated into pitocin because my water had been broken and I wasn't making progress "quickly enough". I was in a hospital because of no midwives and my husband's insistence on not being comfortable with a UC.

Next time we are UCing. But I try to refer to my birth as "without drugs for pain relief" since I considered massage great pain relief
post #15 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
I tend to use "vaginal" for any delivery where the babe comes out the vagina...regardless of interventions. I use "natural" for a birth in which there were no direct medical interventions regardless of where that birth took place.
That's the way I use the terminology, too. However, although I use "vaginal birth" I'm not entirely happy with it. It implies that there's another kind of birth that's not vaginal. To me, "birth" means the baby comes out the vagina. Otherwise, it's not birth, it's a surgical procedure.
post #16 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
That's the way I use the terminology, too. However, although I use "vaginal birth" I'm not entirely happy with it. It implies that there's another kind of birth that's not vaginal. To me, "birth" means the baby comes out the vagina. Otherwise, it's not birth, it's a surgical procedure.
I feel this way too... although philosophically I'm against the use of the word "normal" because there are too many variables, the one kind of birth that to me is completely NOT normal is c/s. I do think it's still BIRTH... after all my daughter got born. But I did not give birth to her. So my daughter had a birth, but I had nothing to do with it. :
post #17 of 106
If I remember correctly, in MacBeth, he is told that he will be vanquished by a man who was not born from a woman, or some language like that. Turned out, the guy who stopped him was born by c/s. So, even 500 years ago, people didn't consider a c/s to be birth.
post #18 of 106
Ummm... if a baby is born, it's a birth.

Sure, a c/s may be a surgical procedure to deliver a baby, but it's still a birth of a child.

So my dd was not born, she was ...... surgicalated???
Gah! Gimme a break!
post #19 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
That's the way I use the terminology, too. However, although I use "vaginal birth" I'm not entirely happy with it. It implies that there's another kind of birth that's not vaginal. To me, "birth" means the baby comes out the vagina. Otherwise, it's not birth, it's a surgical procedure.
Wow: So, my dd wasn't born? Should we start having surgery days instead of birthdays?! I gave birth, even if it was with the help of a c-section.
post #20 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lilya View Post
If I remember correctly, in MacBeth, he is told that he will be vanquished by a man who was not born from a woman, or some language like that. Turned out, the guy who stopped him was born by c/s. So, even 500 years ago, people didn't consider a c/s to be birth.
I know some people who had c/s do not call them "births". That is fine for them, as that is their experience they are describing and they are entitled to use whatever language they choose.

For me, and MANY mothers who gave BIRTH by c/s, we do consider it a birth. I find the implication that a c/s is not a birth offensive and dismissive of my life experience. Not to mention what that means for my baby if people don't consider her having been "birthed".

I gave birth. Life came from my body. Period.

So if we are watching our language, please remember that for most women and society as a whole, a c/s is a BIRTH first and formost.
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