Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Nutrition during Pregnancy
January 31, 2008, 7:00 pm
Filed under: herbal remedies, pregnancy

Herbal Allies for Pregnancy Problems
By Susun Weed

Wise women believe that most of the problems of pregnancy can be prevented by attention to nutrition. Morning sickness and mood swings are connected to low blood sugar; backaches and severe labor pains often result from insufficient calcium; varicose veins, hemorrhoids, constipation, skin discoloration and anemia are evidence of lack of specific nutrients; preeclampsia, the most severe problem of pregnancy, is a form of acute malnutrition. Excellent nutrition includes pure water, controlled breath, abundant light, loving and respectful relationships, beauty and harmony in daily life, joyous thoughts and vital foodstuffs.


During pregnancy nutrients are required to create the cells needed to form two extra pounds of uterine muscle, the nerves, bones, organs, muscles, glands and skin of the fetus, several pounds of amniotic fluid, a placenta and a 50 percent increase in blood volume. In addition, extra kidney and liver cells are needed to process the waste of’ two beings instead of one.

Wild foods and organically grown produce, grains and herbs are the best source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed during pregnancy. All the better if the expectant mother can get out and gather her own herbs: stretching, bending, breathing, moving, touching the earth, taking time to talk with the plants and to open herself to their spiritual world. 


A father’s birth story


A new member of the tribe arrived last night at 9:14pm but not without a fight.


Apparently, Calder liked his mommy’s womb so much, he was hesitant to leave it. Can’t say as I blame him. Karin labored for nearly 40 hours. She did not take any drugs for the pain, which was, at times excruciating. Karin took control at 9pm and taught Calder his first lesson – about who was in charge. She simply insisted he come out and meet his parents. Despite repeated attempts to scurry back up into the safety of the womb, Calder came out with his mouth open, screaming his presence to the world. He does not yet have the power of words, but I’m pretty sure he was saying HERE I AM.

Karin was simply amazing. She is the strongest person I have ever known. You have never in your life seen anyone so calm, so brave, so focused, so dedicated to her child. Karin was a hero last night, to me, to our baby, and truly to anyone who saw her struggle. It was the hardest thing she has ever done, and she stepped into it with power, with grace and with unfathomable courage.

In the last 30 or so years, Motherhood has taken a hit in some quarters, by some feminists, as something less than befitting a strong modern woman. While surely that attitude has resulted from the years of patriarchial oppression of women in modern western society, nothing – nothing- could be further from the truth.

Any woman who ever doubts the nobility, the beauty or the honor of motherhood, should have been in that room with us to witness what I saw – a woman in complete control of her body and her life, fully conscious and capable of ferocious, irrepressible love. And any man who ever doubts a woman’s ability to accomplish anything, anything, in this life has certainly never seen one in her finest moment. I was fortunate enough to bear witness to one such woman, in one such moment, and it was something to see. I plan on telling my son this as soon as he is able to understand the words. And he will understand.

<!–[if gte vml 1]&gt; &lt;![endif]–><!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>He will understand that his mother is a warrior of peace. A warrior of love. Karin suffered pain and mental exhaustion to ensure that her son, my son, our son, would be born into his life fully conscious without any drugs coursing through his veins, and subsequently fully aware of his entry into the world. She fought for his health. She fought for his spirit. She fought for his life. And he appreciated it. Calder took to his mothers breast immediately. He hugged her tight in his first minute of life while the umbilical cord, still attached to his mother, pulsed gently between his skin and hers.

So Calder is born unto this world with a crushing, all encompassing love and respect for the woman in his life. Many men forget this. I will make sure this young man never does.

I have never had more faith in the human race than I do right now. I am joyful and hopeful for this world because of this baby, the woman I married, and the lesson I learned last night about how truly powerful human beings can be.

by Nick Raio 

Prenatal Influences

from “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child”
by Thomas Verny, M.D. with John Kelly

… at one time or another nearly every expectant mother senses that she and her unborn child are reacting to one another’s feelings. …

  • The fetus can see, hear, experience, taste, and, on a primitive level, even learn in utero (that is, in the uterus — before birth). Most profoundly, he can feel — not with an adult’s sophistication, but feel nonetheless.
  • A corollary to this discovery is that what a child feels and perceives begins shaping his attitudes and expectations about himself. Whether he ultimately sees himself and, hence, acts as a happy or sad, aggressive or meek, secure or anxiety-ridden person depends, in part, on the messages he gets about himself in the womb.
  • The chief source of those shaping messages is the child’s mother. This does not mean every fleeting worry, doubt or anxiety a woman has rebounds on her child. What matters are deep persistent patterns of feeling. Chronic anxiety or a wrenching ambivalence about motherhood can leave a deep scar on an unborn child’s personality. On the other hand, such life-enhancing emotions as joy, elation and anticipation can contribute significantly to the emotional development of a healthy child.
  • New research is also beginning to focus much more on the father’s feelings. Until recently his emotions were disregarded. Our latest studies indicate that this view is dangerously wrong. They show that how a man feels about his wife and unborn child is one of the single most important factors in determining the success of a pregnancy. …

Waterbirth Photo Gallery Part 1



Lyle’s Waterbirth


Our second son’s welcome into this world.

This is the mommy in this birth video. I’m giving background info for viewers understanding. My husband posted this but I’m glad to share this wonderful exp. This was our 2nd birth (1st was Taylor now 5 born at home in tub too after 12 hours of labor). If mom and baby are healthy and you have all the necessary pre-natal care and are fully educated on labor/birth and what to expect and really want a homebirth exp. (no fear) than this is the way to go man! It was the most empowering exp. of my life.

The reason midwife is not here is my husband told her it would be 1 hr. when she called to check on us at 4am. what does he know—he’s just a man and I couldn’t really verbalize that is would be sooner. The call you see in the video (where my husband has the head in his hands)at 5am is midwife again, @ 30 min. away still. Well, she’s gonna be late,huh? My sister, best friend & my mom who is tending to our 22 month (Taylor—now 5) were there. He was crying because its 4:45am, he just woke up & wanted Mommy like all kids do at 5am-he also wanted to get in the pool. He was not traumatized by seeing me give birth. I was having a baby–one of the most nautural things in the world.

Painless Childbirth

by Alice B. Stockham, M.D.

“I know of no country, no tribe, no class, where childbirth is attended with so much pain and trouble as in this country.”

Thus replied a traveler who had been many years in foreign lands, upon being interrogated as to the comparative sufferings of savage and civilized women. His occupation and sympathies had brought him into close relationship with all classes of people, and therefore fitted him for an intelligent and discriminating judgment in this matter.

Neither in India, Hindostan, China, Japan, the South Sea Islands, South America, nor indeed in any country do women suffer in both pregnancy and parturition as they do in this. Possibly among the higher classes in Europe there may be equal suffering; but the peasantry everywhere is comparatively exempt.

The usual testimony of missionaries and travelers is that the squaws of our own Indian tribes experience almost no suffering in childbirth, and the function scarcely interferes with the habits, pleasures or duties of life.

Mrs. Armstrong, one of the early missionaries in the Sandwich Islands, says: “With native women the labor was not long nor severe; the mother, instead of remaining in bed, arose, bathed in cold water, walked and ate as usual.”

Dr. Storer says: “There is probably no suffering ever experienced which will compare, in proportion to its extent in time, with the throes of parturition.” Dr. Meigs says: “Men can not suffer the same pain as women. What do you call the pains of parturition? There is no name for them but agony!”

It is too true that women go down to death in giving birth to children. Thousands of women believe that this pain is natural and that for it there can be no alleviation. “In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children” is thought to be a curse that applies to all women of all time.

If this pain and travail is a natural accompaniment of physiological functions – if it is a curse upon women, then why are the rich, the enlightened and more favored daughters of earth greater sufferers than the peasantry, the savage, the barbarian, and those who we call heathen? Is it not possible, by research and comparison, to learn the natural and true mode of life, so that motherhood may, among enlightened people, be relieved from this burden of suffering? May it not prove that our traditions and teachings upon this subject have been altogether erroneous?

American women in education and enlightenment, in freedom and progress, are the peers of the best and noblest of their sex. From individual, social and national interests, they ought to be conversant with all that pertains to this subject, so closely allied to the interests of the race.

We find in women of superior education and marked intelligence an exaggerated development of the emotional nature, and a corresponding deterioration of physical powers. Weakness, debility, and suffering is the common lot of most of them. Not one in a hundred has health and strength to pursue any chosen study, or to follow any lucrative occupation, and what is vastly worse, most are unfitted for the duties and perils of maternity.

Dr. Gaillard Thomas says: “Neither appreciation of, nor desire for, physical excellence sufficiently exists among refined women of our day. Our young women are too willing to be delicate, fragile and incapable of endurance. They dread above all things the glow and hue of health, the rotundity and beauty of muscularity, the comely shapes which the great masters gave to the Venus de Medici and Venus de Milo. All these attributes are viewed as coarse and unladylike, and she is regarded as most to be envied whose complexion wears the livery of disease, whose muscular development is beyond the suspicion of embonpoint, and whose waist can almost be spanned by her own hands.


“As a result, how often do we see our matrons dreading the process of child-bearing, as if it were an abnormal and destructive one; fatigued and exhausted by a short, walk, or ordinary household cares; choosing houses with special reference to freedom from one extra flight of stairs, and commonly debarred the one great maternal privilege of nourishing their own offspring. These are they who furnish employment for the gynecologist, and who fill our homes with invalids and sufferers.”

Understanding and following physiological laws, pregnancy ought to be as free from pathological symptoms, and parturition as void of suffering with American women as with any on earth, or even with the lower animals.

Dr. Dewees says: “Pain in childbirth is a morbid symptom; it is a perversion of nature caused by modes of living not consistent with the most healthy condition of the system, and a regimen which would insure a completely healthy condition might be counted on with certainty to do away with such pain.”

The great English scientist, Professor Huxley, says: “We are indeed, fully prepared to believe that the bearing of children may and ought to become as free from danger and long debility to the civilized woman as it is to the savage.”

The following paragraphs from one of the essays in Dr. Montgomery’s classical work on Pregnancy, give practical details of cases in illustration of the belief in painless parturition.

“In a letter to me Dr. Douglas states that he was called about 6 A. M., Sept. 26, 1828, to attend a Mrs. D., residing on Eccles St.

“On his arrival he found the house in the utmost confusion, and was told that the child had been born before the messenger was dispatched for the doctor. From the lady herself he learned that, about half an hour previously, she had been awakened from a natural sleep by the alarm of a daughter about five years old, who slept with her.

“This alarm was occasioned by the little girl feeling the movements, and hearing the cries of an infant in bed. To the mother’s great surprise she had brought forth her child without any consciousness of the fact. “A lady of great respectability, the wife of a peer of the realm, was actually delivered once in her sleep; she immediately awakened her husband, being alarmed to find one more in bed than there was before.

“I have elsewhere mentioned the case of a patient of mine who bore eight children without ever having labor pains. Her deliveries were so sudden and void of sensible effect that in more than one instance they took place under most awkward circumstances, but without any suffering.”

Dr. J. King, in his work on Obstetrics, speaks of attending cases where there was no sensation of pain.

He found that by placing the hand upon the abdomen, the muscular contractions were distinctly felt, and examination proved the progress of labor, while, excepting a suppressed breath, the patient experienced no change from the ordinary condition.

With Dr. Holmes, I believe it will take many years to eradicate diseased conditions which are the heritage of this generation, and thus to produce men and women of physical perfection. Science has proven, however, that any woman possessing sufficient vitality to make procreation possible, can do much, even during pregnancy, to alleviate the sufferings of that period, as well as the final throes of travail. Pain and suffering have so long been the customary attendant upon the maternal functions, that many are slow to believe they can ever be alleviated. Painless childbirth is thought to be an impossibility. The reader is begged to lay aside all previous prejudices, and it is believed that when this volume has been thoroughly studied he will be convinced that women in bearing offspring should furnish no exception to the laws of nature, and that pregnancy and parturition may and ought to be devoid of suffering.

Tokology: A Book for Every Woman

1911 by Alice B. Stockham, M.D


The Place for a Waterbirth


Apart from medical factors, psychological factors also influence the birth process. The more familiar the environment is for the birthing woman, the more complication-free and easy a birth is. Beyond that the water offers a shelter into which the birthing woman can dive into, if she wants to concentrate on the process of labour.

A water birth can take place in the hospital, in the birth center or at home.

Water birth in the hospital

Some hospitals [in Germany] have special bearing tubs in the in the maternity ward, which are equipped with all comfort. A birthing tub is accessible from each side, has handles and footrests build in and is fillable up to the chest with water. The parents do not have to worry about the filling of the tub or the disposal of the waste water. In some gynaecological clinics the cardio activity of the baby and the activity of the labour of the mother can be supervised with waterproof telemetry. Many midwives and physicians trained themselves further for water birth. If you are interested in water birth in a hospital, get information from the hospitals of your region whether this possibility of birthing is offered there.
See also Waterbirth International

Water birth in the birth center

Some birth centers have a birthing tub available. Sometimes parents can bring a birthing tub of their choice. Water basin rental companies offer different, transportable birthing tubs. Many midwives of the birthing centers trained themselves further for water delivery and how to connect it with the midwife assistance for a active birth.
See also water babies (Germany)
waterbirthinfo (USA)

Waterbirth at home

With the waterbirth in the own home parents can create their individual birth surroundings. Parents themselves decide which persons are to help with the birth, in which rooms they want to experience it the “celebration of the birth” (Leboyer), which music they want to hear and they determine want they want to eat. They can use the bathing tub or rent a birthing tub with a lot of space. Many parents buy a inflatable children’s pool, which permits a depth of water of 50 cm at least. The liberty to “create your own birth” (see also video: “Kinder kriegen “, Birth center Vienna), requires good planning and birth preparation. Freelance midwives support parents, accompany the house/water birth and lead the following water training in the childbed. From midwives led water baby meetings in the first year of life of the child helps with the transition from the water life in utero to the future land life

See also hebinfo (German), the website of aqua midwife Cornelia Enning from where this translations come

For rental pools or purchasing birthing pools:
gentlewater (UK)
My lens on waterbirth: