Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What is birth in nature really like?

One of my constant themes is that modern obstetrics has been so successful, that many people have no idea what birth in nature is really like. Indeed, "natural childbirth" as understood today has very little in common with what birth was like before modern obstetrics and what birth is like in parts of the world where there is limited access to modern obstetrics.

What was birth like before modern obstetrics? Was it is ethereal experience of women discovering their own ability to birth as idealized by contemporary advocates of natural childbirth? Or was it agonizing and dangerous, with the possibility of death ever present? Is natural childbirth, as we understand it today, a return to birth as it was in nature, or is it a social construct that would be unrecognizable to the women of other times and cultures?


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