Vaginal delivery does not equal Natural Childbirth - Page 6 - Mothering Forums
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#151 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"in order to remain conscious during and assist in delivery"

Wow, and that was progress.
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#152 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 01:39 PM
 
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...natural childbirth was essentially stolen from women in the US when OBs lobbied congress to outlaw midwifery before women had the right to vote.
An act of Congress? Which act was that?

It actually was a bit harder than that. There is the Tenth Amendment which gives the police powers, health, safety and education, to the State. According to Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the booklet, Witches, Midwives & Nurses: A History of Women's Health , published by Feminist Press 1972, the "regular doctors" went from state legislature to state legislature in the 1800s to be sure they were the only practitioners licensed to practice in every state of the Union. Therefore, midwives, homeopaths, osteopaths, herbologists, naturopaths, chiropractors and later acupuncturists were marginalized since allopathic medicine is more lucrative. That, with the establishment of the FDA, clinched their hold on healthcare power in every state of the Union.

Only the VA was a federal health concern until the 1950s with the formation of the HEW, later split into the DOE and HHS.

As for doing all of this before women had the vote, it was a sign of upward class mobility to go to the hospital to have a baby. Women's sufferage, Nineteenth Amendment also shot themselves in the foot by working in tandem with the Temperance Unions to pass the Volstead Law and later the Eighteenth Amendment; this gave the government the power to regulate and outlaw substances. The FDA came into power about the same time. All of these movements came together. Almost all drugs were legal before this. You could virtually go into any drug store and buy morphine, codeine, and cocaine any time, any where...

Women lined up to go to the hospital for childbirth at the turn of the century because they were imitating the upper classes that tended to do that. However, mass hospitalization of laboring women did not fully take hold until after WWII when there were extra hospital beds after all of the veterans left them empty after the war, and there was a baby boom.

When I was born at home early in 1954, and my sister in 1955, 1957,... the neighbors thought my parents were too poor to afford the hospital. That was the attitude, the mindset. It was considered upward mobility into the upper class to go into the hospital and get drugged with amnesiacs and hallucinate during labor.

Now that is progress!

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but do we still have a warped view as a society surrounding birth
See Doris Haire's booklet, The Cultural Warping of Childbirth; she was a poor woman from OK who happened to marry up. She had her first child in the hospital and was treated very well because she was the wife of a wealthy attorney. She knew this and worked to change labor and delivery for the rest of us; she is a strong advocate of homebirth.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-17111670.html

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#153 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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When I was born at home early in 1954, the neighbors thought my parents were too poor to afford the hospital. That was the attitude. It was considered upward mobility into the upper class to go into the hospital and get drugged with amnesiacs and hallucinate during labor.

Very similar cultural ideas about breastfeeding went along with this, too. My grandmother has told me that when she was a nursing student, the laboring women would be totally freaking out, but not from pain but from the drugs. She said the doctors would joke about it being a good thing they weren't going to remember b/c the mothers would be embarrassed by their behavior.

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#154 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 02:01 PM
 
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Yes.

LLL was started in 1955 in Chicago at a Catholic Parish Picnic with some young mothers sitting around nursing their babies. The conversation was, "wouldn't it be nice if other mothers could get together and share information about breastfeeding as we are", and an international movement was born. Many of those women also pioneered natural childbirth movements. I have had the great pleasure and opportunity to speak with Marianne Tompson and others on the phone and others who were there that day. They are now grandmothers and greatgrandmothers of breastfed, and mostly natural born, when possible, babies.

BTW, the drug used to dry up women when they did not or "could not" breastfeed was DES injections directly into the breasts. And you all wonder where all of the breast cancer comes from.

Also, not breastfeeding and hiring a wetnurse were also a sign of moving up in socio-economic class. Therefore, in my own view, women thought they were doing themselves a favor economically by not breastfeeding and going to the hospital to labor and deliver their babies. If you watch the late 1960s movie, "Rosemary's Baby", in which Satan's child is delivered at home in her apartment, Rosemary delivers at home under protest, moaning and saying that she wanted to go to the hospital because, "everything is so nice and sterile..."

It was an attitude, not founded anywhere in science, of course.

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#155 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 02:53 PM
 
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Personally I'm enjoying this debate. Admittedly I haven't been on MDC very long, but this discussion seems like a worthwhile use of our time. It has raised some points I hadn't considered before. Maybe some posters are a bit nit-picky, but that's the nature of this particular thread. There are lots of other threads out there if you're more of a practical-minded person than a semantics person.

There may be a slight "pissing contest" aspect of it, but really not that bad considering who we all are. Obviously we all care about childbirth or we'd be on more mainstream boards, and any time you feel very passionately about something there's a bit of defensiveness and territoriality. I can accept that, although I would hope we all try to rise above our personal experiences in the service of trying to develop a workable definition of "natural childbirth."

I don't think the oft-quoted modern dictionary definitions are specific enough for us -- they don't even agree with each other. One says "without medical intervention" and other other says "medical intervention is minimized," which means what exactly? That gets back to my posting of a few days ago in which I wondered whether continuous fetal monitoring was an intervention.
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#156 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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Mother to two great kids. &
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#157 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 04:03 PM
 
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This is one conversation that I had which relates to this debate:

Elspeth: So, Dana had her baby last week? Did she labor long?
Elspeth's friend: Not at all. Something like 8 hours* and then she had a nice natural childbirth.
E: Really? She was unmedicated?
EF: Well no. She had an epidural, but it was still...you know...natural.
E: When I think of natural childbirth, I think it is unmedicated.
EF: Yeah, well she didn't have a c-section, so it's still...natural, I don't know how else to describe it.
E: How about "vaginal"?
EF: Yeah, well I don't really like to say that word.

:


My point? Well, none really. I always use the word unmedicated or medicated now.


*I made this part up. I don't remember what she said about how long it was.
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#158 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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I just wanted to chime in with my $.02.

With my first birth, I was young and went with anything my OB did/said. I went into the hospital at 37 weeks with what I later realised were so/so contractions, and probably would have been sent home except my OB was in to visit another one of her patients, and went ahead and broke my water to "move things along." Then she started the pitocin when my contractions died off. I ended up getting an epidural because everyone else I had known had always gotten one, and I saw no reason not to. My OB ended up having to use the vacuum because I couldn't hardly feel to push. My daughter was born vaginally.

With my second, I was induced at 39 weeks, because my OB brought it up, and I wasn't educated enough to question anything my OB recommended. After 13 hours of labor from the start of the pitocin and another epidural, again the vacuum was used, and finally when my OB started talking about forceps, I was able to birth my daughter, again vaginally.

That being said, I believe that a "natural" birth, is when labor begins and progresses without any medical intervention, no drugs are used for pain relief, and the baby is born without any interventions like a vacuum or forceps. I think what I had with both my previous births could and only be classified as vaginal births.

Generally, I think of a hospital birth without pain meds as a "drug-free" birth, but not necessarily "natural".

I'm not looking to offend anyone that might disagree, and I'm not even saying that I'm totally right. I just wanted to share my perspective as someone who HAS had two labors/vaginal births that were riddled with interventions. I think one's ideas about what is or isn't natural or otherwise is very much influenced by cultural practices, as well as family and friends-and I don't think anyone should be ridiculed because of their own beliefs about such, and I don't think anyone should be offended when others disagree with their personal definition either.

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#159 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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I think that "physiological childbirth" can be a more useful term than "natural childbirth", since it sidesteps the debate about whether birth pools, the presence of health professionals or whatever are "natural", and instead focuses on the concept of the woman undergoing a physiological process, like digestion or orgasm, to birth the baby.
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#160 of 164 Old 12-08-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tsmapoh View Post
I think that "physiological childbirth" can be a more useful term than "natural childbirth", since it sidesteps the debate about whether birth pools, the presence of health professionals or whatever are "natural", and instead focuses on the concept of the woman undergoing a physiological process, like digestion or orgasm, to birth the baby.
i don't understand this. it seems to me getting your belly cut open is also physiological; your body and its functions are implicated, if interfered with. unless i don't understand what physiological means.

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#161 of 164 Old 12-09-2007, 04:52 AM
 
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applejuice, I think it is important to note that OBs lobbied for midwifery to be outlawed and criminalized before women had the right to vote because the majority of women did not want to give birth in the hospital. They did not want to be forced in to be guinea pigs and rightly so - maternal deaths rose sharply after birth was moved into hospital.

You do bring up a good point about many upper class women giving birth in hospitals by choice but this was definitely the minority and doesn't really contradict what I wrote but I'm glad you mentioned it as it is relevant. It is also a chicken v egg thing regarding the influence of the political climate.

I don't think it is accurate to say that women lined up to choose hospital birth at the turn of the century in an attempt to imitate upper class. Many did so because they had little other choice. DeLee and the like decided they needed the lower class to use them in order for OBs to hone their skills on. The following books opened my eyes to the history of childbirth in America:

From Midwives to Medicine: The Birth of American Gynecology

Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950

Lying In: A History of Childbirth in America

Birth as an American Rite of Passage

Death in Childbirth: An International Study of Maternal Care and Maternal Mortality 1800-1950
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#162 of 164 Old 12-09-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by readytobedone View Post
i don't understand this. it seems to me getting your belly cut open is also physiological; your body and its functions are implicated, if interfered with. unless i don't understand what physiological means.
I was thinking of it in the context of:

Quote:
Physiological: characteristic of or appropriate to an organism's healthy or normal functioning <the sodium level was physiological>
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#163 of 164 Old 12-09-2007, 11:52 AM
 
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I can see both sides here. I had an unmedicated birth in a hospital. No gown, no IV, no coached pushing, BUT, I had a doctor screaming at me the entire time b/c I would not take an IV, or lay on my back to push. That is unnatural to me.

But, to me I had a baby the way my body would naturally do it, but in an unnatural place.
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#164 of 164 Old 12-09-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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I don't think it is accurate to say that women lined up to choose hospital birth at the turn of the century in an attempt to imitate upper class. Many did so because they had little other choice.
That's an excellent point. It's helpful for me to remember that the amount of information (and ease of access) available was so very different than today for many of women. And IME, we're right back to having our choices limited today especially considering the options for women who wish to VBAC.

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