Birthowl’s natural childbirth

Why Should Natural Birth Be Our Goal?
November 16, 2008, 5:48 am
Filed under: labour | Tags: , , ,

When birth is as natural as possible, when the mother is allowed to labor freely without interference from anyone, her labor will go more quickly and safely.

When human beings intervene in the birth process, they introduce elements which the body does not know how to deal with.  Drugs and medical procedures are obstacles to safe birth because they introduce variables into the birthing equation which are not part of your genetically encoded birth instructions.   Your body responds pathologically to drugs in your system, or being confined to a bed and not being allowed to eat or drink. When your body is sending you signals and you ignore them, or you can’t feel them because you have been given drugs or are too afraid to understand what your body is telling you, complications and further intervention are almost inevitable.

Any drug given to you during labor will reach the baby within a few minutes of administration.  Keep in mind that even though the dosage may be right for you, because the baby shares your blood system, the baby receives the same dosage as you do.  I’m sure you have looked at children’s pain relief or cold medications. On the package they always tell you how much to administer according to the child’s age and body weight.  When pain medication is administered to you, the mother, the dosage is administered according to your needs, not the baby’s.  They have to give you enough to numb the pain; you are getting an adult dosage which is much too much for a baby.  If that baby was out of the womb, and a doctor administered that dosage of pain medication directly to your baby, he would be cited for malpractice.  Because your baby is smaller than you, and the amount of medication in his system is too much, it takes longer for it to leave his system than it does you.  Babies of epidural mothers have more respiratory distress than other babies.  After the baby is born, if will often sleep more than normal and be lethargic.  Often these babies have no interest in breastfeeding for quite some time after birth.  They do not experience the calm, alert state that naturally born babies experience.  This quiet alert state is important to maximize postpartum bonding of mother and infant.

When your labor is induced or augmented with Pitocin, your contractions speed up and seem to occur back to back without a resting period in between.  This can cause the uterus to become exhausted and unable to contract effectively.  You may get dilated to a certain point and then make no further progress.  At that point a cesarean section becomes necessary.  Pitocin also increases the risk of uterine rupture because the contractions are much more intense.  Women often start out with Pitocin and the contractions become so painful that they cannot cope without pain medication.  So there are two drugs in your system instead of one.

Most hospitals require continuous electronic fetal monitoring.  This procedure includes strapping an ultrasound device to your belly to monitor the contractions, your heart rate, and the baby’s heart rate.  When you have this device attached, you must stay in bed.  When you have epidural anesthesia you must also stay in bed.  Lying in bed increases the length of labor, increases the pain of contractions, and reduces your ability to cope with contractions.  You MUST be able to change positions as your body tells you to.

Lying in bed often produces changes in the fetal heart beat.  Sometimes these changes represent true fetal distress, and sometimes they are interpreted as such when no danger exists.  Either way, if the mother was allowed to get out of bed and move around, these heartbeat irregularities often return to normal. Sometimes the irregularities are simply the result of the normal birth process and are not distressful at all.  Onlookers have no idea which is the case, so they always intervene.  Studies of electronic fetal monitoring have found that results are not always interpreted correctly, and that although the results may actually indicate fetal distress, other tests performed on mother and infant do not always concur that distress exists.  Where electronic fetal monitoring is used, there is always a rise in forceps deliveries and cesarean sections.  Electronic fetal monitoring has not been shown to significantly improve the outcome for mother and baby, but it does increase the amount of intervention.

In the hospital, you are often given a diagnosis of “failure to progress” if you do not dilate at least one centimeter per hour.  This diagnosis is based upon research done many years ago by a doctor named Friedman.  He kept records of many, many births, and averaged the length and progress of these labors.  He came up with what is now called “Friedman’s Curve.”  The average progression is one centimeter per hour.  If you don’t progress at least this fast, you will probably be given Pitocin.  If you still aren’t progressing with Pitocin, you will be “offered” a cesarean section.  Offered is a funny way to put it, since you will be told there is no other option.

How would you feel if you were told that the average woman is 5’4″ and that because you were 5’7″ you were abnormal?  That is essentially what is being said to those who don’t progress at least one centimeter per hour.  No one seems to realize that Friedman’s one centimeter per hour is an AVERAGE.  Averages are made up of highs, middles, and lows added together.  Some women progress in a steady manner, but many if not most labors progress in spurts.  You may make steady progress for a while, then have a resting period, and then pick up again.  Your labor is also affected by your emotional state, which is why distractions in the labor room must be avoided at all costs.  Many times, a change in the emotional climate is all that is needed to jumpstart labor again.

Your body knows exactly how to give birth.  All you must do is remove the obstacles so that your body can do what it knows how to do.  Allowing the woman to control her own birth insures that things are going just they way they are supposed to go.  Your body will not do something to sabotage your birth, unless obstacles make it impossible.  Focus on learning how to remove every obstacle possible.


picture by Justin Henry


Calm Water Baby Video

The proud father about this video:

for the love of our child we chose a NATURAL water birth.

moments after the “Certified Health Nut’s” baby was born in water at home the midwifes test him for health. he is very calm, no crying and very healthy.

we used 5W (last 5 weeks) herbs as it came highly recomended for not tearing the vagina…… worked……..also a lot of Tradicional Medicinals pregnancy tea, the midwifes said it was a very healthy placenta.

for the mom it was very important to rebalance the endocrine system/hormones so we used a lot of Sumacazon
hormones play a critical role in post partum depression and other complications so we wanted the best for restoration and rejuvenation. [Birthowl: See also Placenta- the Gift of Life by Cornelia Enning. The Placenta used medicinally prevents naturally postpartum depression and restores and rejuvenates.]

zero screaming for mommy, to induce labor we walked around the block. when she was ready she got in the tub and 16 minutes later this guy came out.

the maori shaman/midwives i work with talk about many of the imbalances of the world today stemming from our treatment of children at birth. when drugs,
forceps, scalpels are NOT used, and instead babies are welcomed into the world by the hands of their parents, we are imprinting them with love NOT fear.
there are infinite ways that a loving and gentle birth
experience effects the life of that child and all whom they come into contact with.

many are scientifically documented (see ‘primal health research institute’s data base) but science aside, there are the benefits that one can determine
with common sense.
birth is our first impression, and when our first
impression of life, or anything or anyone for that matter, is one of love, peace, welcoming and grace, we tend to continue our life and our relationships with that as our foundation.

it is not always possible to do everything for our childrens’ well being that we may wish to, once they are in the world, but it is within our power to offer them the gift of birthing consciously with the intention of welcoming them with love!

5 months later we see all the natural tools paid off as the baby and mom are energetic, strong and healthy!

Birth is a healing thing


“Having been raped at 17, I knew that I needed my birth experience to NOT resemble rape in anyway. And to me Rape is being in a vulnerable position with a man that you do not trust or know, touching you in places you would rather not be touched telling you what to do, against your better judgement, and feeling like your not in control. For ME that meant staying as far away from the hospital as possible, where all the potential birth rapists convene.

I knew before I even experienced birth that I would be in the most uncontrollable, vulnerable situation in my life, and I not only wanted, but I NEEDED it to be a good experience, with the only person in my life I trust implicitly, my husband John. If it was not, or had not been the birth it was, I fear what my mental state would have been afterwards. I feel it would have been like being raped all over again, and being the basket case again, I was for 9 years in silence before I started to even admit to anther human that the rape had happened.

I can’t imagine not having UnaBirthed my daughter, my first child, Anjohli. I knew from long before she was ever conceived that gentle was the way to go, and that only I and John would be able to fully understand the process of MY birth, and what I and the baby needed, emotionally, as we had confidence that the physical just happens without needing to be guided.

Seeing that John and I are so close in our relationship and love for each other we feel each others pain and pleasure without the other one expressing it, I knew that the birth of out child HAD to be a good experience for all three of us. It was OUR inner wisdom that allowed us to have the best birthing attendants available to us for our Unabirth, us alone, sharing an intimate moment, trusting each others actions, without question.

There is something so feminine in giving birth that for me was enhanced tenfold by just being in the moment of the waves of the contractions pushing our baby out into the world, feeling the overwhelming urge to push and following my husbands directions without questioning his authority or knowledge.

Birthing his child into his hands, I, at that very moment trusted him so implicitly. I was probably the most vulnerable I have ever been in our relationship, and I didn’t shy away from it. I accepted it and embraced it, for the first time in my life, I just wholly trusted another human being. The first time since I was a small, innocent, newborn infant myself, before I had lost the automatic trust in my care givers. Before they had given me just cause to not ever trust another human being, which was reinforced at 17 years old.

Trusting completely was amazing. It was healing. Birthing my daughter was primal. I was woman, he was man, we were doing without words what women for thousands of years before me had done, yet it felt so much like I was the first woman to ever birth. There were no worries about shaved legs, or looking decent or worried about how I looked in the moments of strong contractions or worrying about my woman’s rights in our male society. There was no worry about what kind of sign it sent to my husband and the world that I was giving in to my husband’s directions and commands. No thoughts about the fight for power or to be leader in our relationship that happens on occasion. No fight over whose job was what. We were just doing.

We were two, and in love, with complete trust, we became three.”
By Ril G.

Photo by Glenn Bruynooghe

smiling baby

Ina May Gaskin Part 2

Turning Fear and Pain into Relaxed Focus for Birthing

When my wife became pregnant with out first daughter, we did a lot of research into my wife’s family birthing experiences and other cultures. We found that her grandmother gave birth in a Hawaiian sugar plantation by herself.

Two children were born to her in this manner. There was no pain or distress. Labor was a matter of minutes once her waters had broken, she took a day off work, and resumed work the next day with her baby strapped to her back.

To her such an outcome was unremarkable. A later birth in the local hospital was another matter. She reported that as very painful and the labor took 10 hours. She found the whole experience very unpleasant, and demeaning in how she was treated.

We found several cultures where birthing is gentle, quiet, relatively painfree, and labor is measured in minutes once the water bag has broken. (This is not to say that conditions are ideal in many other areas in these cultures. They are not.)

We decided after comparing home birth with hospital birth to have our baby at home. We found a very supportive and kind midwife and ignored the warnings of disaster and threats of prosecution for manslaughter if anything happened to either mother or child!


When her waters broke her contractions were strong and regular and birth seemed imminent. Then as soon as the midwife and two friends arrived everything stopped. My wife was displaying symptoms of fight or flight. So I sent everyone out of the room to make tea, and as flight was impossible I got her very angry and for quite a while she pounded the pillows and mattress and shrieked her rage as loud as she could.

Once she had discharged her rage her contractions restarted and her cervix dilated, and she had a very easy birth. This experience gave me a new perspective on birth and how the birth process can be effected. From then on whenever I was called upon to attend a birth I began to suggest and apply some techniques that I had developed for mitigating or resolving chronic pain.

For a while I was quite puzzled as to why so many birthing mothers went into fight or flight when midwives, Doulas family or friends arrived or they went to a hospital. Particularly as so many these days have undergone extensive preparation for the birth with relaxation classes. Then I realised that the adrenalin rush is a primitive response designed for survival and we have probably underestimated it’s power, and while conscious training will help under some conditions, if a birthing mother unconsciously senses danger, birthing will cease until either the threat has left or the adrenalin has been discharged with violent exercise, and no amount of training will inhibit it.

We are almost certainly the only species that allows relative strangers into the birthing environment. The cultures that appear to have benign births are those where the birthing mother is attended by people who she has known all her life, or she is encouraged to give birth by herself. Even then, if the wise woman or midwife of the tribe senses a family member present who stimulates tension for the birthing mother she is asked to leave. Which brings me to a very important aspect which can have disastrous consequences for the neonate. It is to do with that we are also the only species which allows strangers into the nurturing environment before maturity.

Happy birthing and nurturing.
Rayner Garner <> 

Photo by Madaisa

Homebirths Are Safe

Studies Indicate That Homebirths Are Safe

Myth #1 — Hospital births are statistically safer than homebirths. mom and baby
 Safety in childbirth is measured by how many mothers and babies die and how many survive childbirth in less than perfect health.

Studies done comparing hospital and out-of-hospital births indicate fewer deaths, injuries and infections for homebirths supervised by a trained attendant than for hospital births. No such studies indicate that hospitals have better outcomes than homebirths.

Respiratory distress among newborns was 17 times higher in the hospital than in the home.

The U.S. has the highest obstetrical intervention rates as well as a serious problem with malpractice suits.

While maternal death rates have vastly improved since the turn of the century, factors like proper nutrition and cleanliness have played a big part in the change.

Overall neonatal death rates have also improved since the 30s, but homebirths appeared to be safer even then. In 1939, Baylor Hospital Charity Service in Dallas, Texas, published a study that revealed a perinatal mortality rate of 26.6 per 1,000 live births in homes compared to a hospital birth mortality rate of 50.4 per 1,000.[1]

Since the 1970s, research done in northern California, Arizona, England and Tennessee all point to the relative safety of homebirth.[2] The only matched population study, comparing 1,046 homebirths with 1,046 hospital births, was published in 1977 by Dr. Lewis Mehl, a family physician and medical statistician.[3]

While neonatal and perinatal death rates were statistically the same in Mehl’s report, morbidity was higher in the hospital group: 3.7 times as many babies born in the hospital required resuscitation. Infection rates of newborns were four times higher in the hospital, and the incidence of respiratory distress among newborns was 17 times higher in the hospital than in the home.

A six-year study done by the Texas Department of Health for the years 1983-1989 revealed that the infant mortality rate for non-nurse midwives attending homebirths was 1.9 per 1,000 compared with the doctors’ rate of 5.7 per 1,000.[4] Certified nurse midwives’ mortality rate was 1 per 1,000 and “other” attendants accounted for 10.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.[5]

A study of 3,257 out-of-hospital births attended by Arizona licensed midwives between 1978-85 shows a perinatal mortality rate of 2.2 per 1,000 and a neonatal mortality rate of 1.1 per 1,000 live births.

In testimony before the U.S. Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality, Marsden Wagner MD, European Director of the World Health Organization, suggested the need in the U.S. for a “strong independent midwifery profession as a counterbalance to the obstetrical profession in preventing excessive interventions in the normal birth process.”[6]

Wagner states that in Europe midwives far outnumber physicians: “In no European country do obstetricians provide the primary health care for most women with normal pregnancy and birth.” He states that the U.S. has the highest obstetrical intervention rates as well as a serious problem with malpractice suits and concludes that a strong, independent midwifery service in the U.S. would be a most important counterbalance to the present situation.

Read more about homebirth at

Photo by Kuan-Jian Foo

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