There’s an interesting report on the Dutch tradition of giving birth from the perspective of a Reuters reporter. Basically, the Dutch believe birth optimally happens at home (30 percent of births happen this way, compared to a tiny fraction in the U.S.,) no pain medication is necessary, and that labor pains are part of the way the mother bonds with the baby. (If so, I ought to be practically fused to my child.) The bottom line is that birth is not seen as a medicalized process. Oh, and get this: A maternity nurse takes care of the family at home for a week and does cooking, cleaning, and infant care. Sign me up for that part!
While I’ve never been a convert to the notion of natural birth as essential–at least, not since the epidural became my BFF–I will freely admit that the Dutch system makes the whole thing sound kinda nice. However, it does sound like some feel that pain relief should be more readily available to moms in labor. As it stands now, there’s no guarentee an anesthesiologist will be available, since it isn’t seen as necessary. However, even those who want more options for women say it would be a shame to lose the Dutch perspective and practices in labor and delivery. But this is nice from an ob-gyn professor: “Giving birth at home, a unique Dutch tradition, should not be a goal in
itself. What really matters is a good result of the pregnancy for
mother and child.” You said it.