About Natural Childbirth
There are a lot of misconceptions about natural childbirth. One is that only
a few women are capable of delivering without drugs. (Throughout history,
women have birthed successfully without modern pharmaceutical drugs.) In
fact, women who have had previous medicated births and then had natural
birth under the supervision of a midwife, report that natural birth was
actually easier and less painful. This is due in part to extensive use of
position changes, massage, heat and supportive care from one person.
Babies born to undrugged mothers are healthier, more alert, and do not
have their respiratory efforts impaired by the effects of drugs given to their
Mothers giving birth naturally are not exposed to the potential dangers
that all drugs carry, and do not have to overcome their effects. Most
women report that labor did not become very painful until just prior to the
delivery of the baby, and that is not the time to take drugs! All drugs
cross the placental barrier and affect the fetus.
What the Research Says
“Recognizing the evidence that births to healthy mothers, who are not
considered at medical risk after comprehensive screening by trained
professionals, can occur safely in various settings, including out-of-hospital
birth centers and homes… Therefore, APHA supports efforts to increase
access to out-of-hospital maternity care services…”
American Public Health Association, Increasing Access to Out-of-Hospital
Maternity Care Services through State-Regulated and Nationally-Certified
Direct-Entry Midwives (Policy Statement). American Journal of Public Health,
Vol 92, No. 3, March 2002.
“Several methodologically sound observational studies have compared the
outcome of planned home-births (irrespective of the eventual place of
birth) with planned hospital-births for women with similar characteristics. A
meta-analysis of these studies showed no maternal mortality, and no
statistically significant differences in perinatal mortality risk in either
Murry Enkin, et al, A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth.
Oxford Press, 2000.
“It is safe to say that a woman should give birth in a place where she feels
safe and at the most peripheral level, at which appropriate care is feasible
and safe. For a low-risk pregnant woman this can be at home, at a small
maternity clinic or birth centre in town or perhaps at the maternity unit of a
larger hospital. However, it must be a place where all of the attention and
care are focused on her needs as safely, as close to home and her own
culture as possible.”
Maternal and Newborn Health/Safe Motherhood Unit of the World Health
Organization, Care in Normal Birth: A practical guide. World Health
“Excellent outcomes with much lower intervention rates are achieved at
home births. This may be because the overuse of interventions in hospital
births introduces risks or the home environment promotes problem-free
Henci Goer, Obstetric Myths versus Research Realities: A Guide to the
Medical Literature. Bergin & Garvey, 1995.
“This study supports previous research indicating that planned home birth
with qualified care providers can be a safe alternative for healthy, lower risk
Anderson RE, Murphy PA. Outcomes of 11,788 Planned Home Births
Attended By Certified Nurse-Midwives. A Retrospective Descriptive Study.
Journal of Nurse Midwifery, 1995 Nov-Dec;40(6):483-92. (Abst)