Watch your language: "normal" birth - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-29-2007, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:29 AM
 
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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.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:35 AM
 
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we call it spontaneous birth around here.

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Old 05-29-2007, 04:29 AM
 
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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.

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Old 05-29-2007, 12:00 PM
 
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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.

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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In the halls of medicine, a "normal" birth, that is, a birth without medical interventions, is often referred to as an "unremarkable birth".
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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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.

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Old 05-29-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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IMO, just walking into a hospital makes it UNnatural.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:31 PM
 
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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.

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Old 05-30-2007, 12:00 AM
 
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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!

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Old 05-30-2007, 02:16 AM
 
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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.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:50 PM
 
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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

Sunny coolshine.gif: gun toting, retired breastfeeding, car seat loving, guitar playing, home birthing and schooling mama to Jakob (10.06), Mikah (07.08) and Korah (07.11). uc.jpg 

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Old 05-30-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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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.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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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. :
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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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.

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Old 06-06-2007, 11:09 AM
 
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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!
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Old 06-06-2007, 03:45 PM
 
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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.

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Old 06-06-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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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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Old 06-06-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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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.
Yes I say unmedicated, as in pain medication, because my hospital birth was not "natural". I had cervadil to help start my labor, fetal monitoring, pitocin after birth etc. Vaginal birth is a good way I guess to seperate it from C-section but definitly wouldn't call a medical birth natural.
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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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.
I understand what you're saying, and of course I don't think any differently of DS#2 because he was delivered by CS, and of course we celebrate his birthday, not his "surgery day." I don't mean to dismiss anyone's experience. Still, it seems to me that categorizing Cesarean surgery as "birth" is buying into the medical attitude that there's no difference between the process of birth and a surgical procedure.
I went through labour and birth for my first two children. My third couldn't be born without very likely dying in the process. The surgery was done in order to bypass birth. It probably saved his life, and I'm grateful for it, but the operation wasn't a birth, according to any reasonable definition I can think of. To equate them seems extremely disrepectful of the nature of birth itself.
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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The dictionary that I have defines birth as :The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother. To me that includes a c-section birth. I have no problem saying that my dd's birth was not natural in the least bit, but I still say that I gave birth. My c-section was the point in time where Lilly was seperated from my body, so I don't see why I wouldn't refer to this time as her birth. It was a medical procedure that resulted in Lilly's birth.

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Old 06-06-2007, 06:15 PM
 
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Sigh. I'm really starting to hate MDC.

Those of you who sit around smugly thinking that an unmedicated birth that took place outside of a hospital was somehow more normal or natural than my unmedicated birth that took place in a hospital, I hope you feel good about yourselves for belittling my birth. Really, I do.

And those of you who actually announce that a c-section isn't a birth at all, well, you really ought to be proud of yourselves. That thought, as unwelcome as it is, will surely be in my mind in the next few weeks as I undergo my non-elective c-section. Can't wait for that warm and fuzzy feeling.

You are creating a closed community here that does not feel welcoming at all. I hope you and your Vastly Superior Births enjoy it.

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Old 06-06-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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As far as I am concerned, the location is irrelevent.

Also, since linguists consider languages as an evolving thing, and since c/s are commonly referred to as births, I don't think we can really say that they are not births. A different kind of birth, but still a birth.

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Old 06-06-2007, 06:40 PM
 
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Sigh. I'm really starting to hate MDC.

Those of you who sit around smugly thinking that an unmedicated birth that took place outside of a hospital was somehow more normal or natural than my unmedicated birth that took place in a hospital, I hope you feel good about yourselves for belittling my birth. Really, I do.

And those of you who actually announce that a c-section isn't a birth at all, well, you really ought to be proud of yourselves. That thought, as unwelcome as it is, will surely be in my mind in the next few weeks as I undergo my non-elective c-section. Can't wait for that warm and fuzzy feeling.

You are creating a closed community here that does not feel welcoming at all. I hope you and your Vastly Superior Births enjoy it.

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Old 06-06-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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Sigh. I'm really starting to hate MDC.

Those of you who sit around smugly thinking that an unmedicated birth that took place outside of a hospital was somehow more normal or natural than my unmedicated birth that took place in a hospital, I hope you feel good about yourselves for belittling my birth. Really, I do.

And those of you who actually announce that a c-section isn't a birth at all, well, you really ought to be proud of yourselves. That thought, as unwelcome as it is, will surely be in my mind in the next few weeks as I undergo my non-elective c-section. Can't wait for that warm and fuzzy feeling.

You are creating a closed community here that does not feel welcoming at all. I hope you and your Vastly Superior Births enjoy it.

The discussion was around the term natural and whether or not a common intervention filled birth could be termed natural. I personally don't think my induction was natural so I wouldn't qualify an induced birth as natural. Most women have some kind of intervention so doesn't that make it different than what nature intended? 95% of my birth was "natural" but I wouldn't qualify it that way. FWIW I don't really think giving birth in a rubber pool in a living room is natural either.

The discussion about c-sections being births is kind of silly. Birth means producing offspring and isn't qualified by how it exits your body. I think that was the whole point of the thread is the term birth by itself doesn't explain the entire process so should it be defined as vaginal vs abdominal birth?
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Old 06-06-2007, 06:48 PM
 
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Sigh. I'm really starting to hate MDC.

Those of you who sit around smugly thinking that an unmedicated birth that took place outside of a hospital was somehow more normal or natural than my unmedicated birth that took place in a hospital, I hope you feel good about yourselves for belittling my birth. Really, I do.

And those of you who actually announce that a c-section isn't a birth at all, well, you really ought to be proud of yourselves. That thought, as unwelcome as it is, will surely be in my mind in the next few weeks as I undergo my non-elective c-section. Can't wait for that warm and fuzzy feeling.

You are creating a closed community here that does not feel welcoming at all. I hope you and your Vastly Superior Births enjoy it.

Yeah... that.

Seriously? Anything that happens in a hospital is "unnatural?"

There have been healers in human communities for as long as there humanity has been around...

Good grief...

And, to say that someone delivered via c/s was never BORN? Does anyone else feel like that's erases the basic humanity of person?
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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I will add that my previous pissy post is not entirely due to this thread, but a general response to spending time in this forum. And, probably, because I'm 39 weeks pregnant and generally irritable.

But I do get really tired of people acting like their births are somehow "better". Better choices or better options for their personal circumstances, maybe. But not better births than mine or anybody else's. That's all.
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Actually, this discussion wasn't about "natural" or whether C-sections are births. It was about using the term "normal" instead of "vaginal".
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