Reclaiming every women's birth right
Birthing from the heart
"In our culture childbirth has been seen as a medical procedure with majority of public discussion concerned with safety and statistics, as defined by physicians, and with little room for debate and dissension - specially from those who are at the center of the process: women themselves. [...] In a repeat survey published in 2006, 94% of those women who gave birth vaginally had routine eletronic fetal monitoring, 86% used pain-killing drugs, 80% were administered IV fluids, 76% had epidural analgesia. All of this in a extremely healthy population, among whom at least 70 to 80% could give birth whithout drugs or interventions[...] As a family physician and mother I ask myself why women are tolerating this situation. Why educated, articulated women who are prepared to battle for their rights in their personal and professional lives, so accepting the high intervention rates [...]" Birth is a women's issue, birth is a power issue..."(Gentle birth, gentle mothering, Sarah J. Buckley. MD, 2009)
Medical science and thecnology has brought unquestionable improvements in maternity care, but why despite all this the high rates of low satisfaction with birthing experiences and related post-partum depression ? Why safety is not the only factor that should count in caregiving? And how emotional, physical and informational birthhing support fulfills these gap?
Giving birth is natural and we are programmed by millennia of evolution to do it well, but here is the point : our society forgot it ! A gentle birth normally occurs when you have a non disturbed physiology and constant emotional support during labour and birth. Sometimes babies need some medical help to be born and that's fine (e are privileged for living in a society where we can have proper medical care whenever is needed). The problems starts when we misunderstand the places of Nature and Culture in childbirth. By consequent we don't honour them and don't allow neither natural birth nor medical assistance occurring in their best ways.
The World Health Organization statements on c-section rates indicates that between 10% to 15% of c-section rate is an acceptable roof number at any national level. Well developed countries have been presenting rates higher than 30% of c-sections (and this percentage is alarmingly growing). When we check the statistics of the famous "The Farm" (a birth center ran by midwives in US that supports natural births) we see the insignificant 1,7% of c-sections rate from 1970 to 2010, than we realize that something fundamentally changed for the worse in our current birth reality.
After many decades of a fear-based birthing culture, natural childbirth has been promoted and expanded again. Researches shows the impact of birth for a lifelong term. By consequent, more attention has been paid to the emotional state of the mother and the more humanized care emerged.
We see the revival of the midwifery and the reappearance of the figure of doulas as birth companion. This more mindful and compassionate care giving has a powerful impact on birth outcomes and on the mothers and babies well being.
Birthing from the heart is part of this bottom-up change lead my mothers and partners, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, and many free-mind doctors, nurses etc. We advocate for natural birth. We celebrate the revival of home-birth. We welcome medical help and technology as recommended by the "Fortaleza Declaration". We orient our practices under the scope of the "Human Rights for Childbirth" and the "Doula’s Practice Code of Conduct".
The spirit of our time changing for better. We are witnessing the so-called "Renaissance of birth" and we believe that as a consequence of this revolution, a more caring and loving humankind is already "birthing from our hearts."
Letícia Coutinho Lobach
Doula, Childbirth educator and Hypnobirthing teacher