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Who Is Really Ignoring the Needs of Birthing Women?

I recently came across a blog post written by an former OB/GYN basically pointing the finger at natural childbirth advocates and activists insisting they are a community as a whole ignoring the basic needs to pregnant and birthing women. While on occasion I find these kinds of pieces from the other side to be amusing, or sometimes flat out ignorant… this time around it caught my attention so much that I had to give my two cents from the other side.

As someone who prides myself as being a childbirth advocate, or sometimes being lumped into the category of a natural childbirth advocate, I found a lot of the information or I should say, opinion of the author to be nothing short of biased.

One of the original statements in this post, that nagged at me most, was that birth, or “natural childbirth” advocates, try to discourage women from opting for medical pain management during labor because pain during labor is normal. There’s a reason for the pain; it’s “natural.”

But why this bothers me so much is, as someone who identifies myself as a true birth advocate, I do not push one side of the pain relief fence, or the other… I push for what is right for that mother, and education on all of her options. Telling a pregnant woman that something like an epidural carries no risks would be lying, and as someone who advocates for education, and informed decision making, that would be wrong. I would expect providers to take the same approach, unfortunately women do not have that luxury all over the country, and researching their own procedures is something we must do.

When it comes down to it… the only people who are ignoring the needs of birthing women, and pregnant women are those who are not taking the time to actually listen to her, and what she actually wants for her birth. Not the natural childbirth advocates, or just the hospital staff, or providers… It is any person not listening and respecting the wishes of that mother, no matter what they are.

If she wants to hang upside down from a ceiling fan while she is in labor… that is her right.
If she wants to have an epidural… that is her right.
If she wants to birth at home… that is her right.
If she wants to have an episiotomy… that is her right.

We need to stop imposing our personal views, or preferences on women, and recognizing that women have rights, including the right to decide what kind of care they feel is necessary, or right for them!

photo: flickr.com/molly_darling

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