Natural childbirth techniques
Sir, – I would like to respond to the article by Laura Kennedy “The natural childbirth movement has a lot to answer for” (Life, April 17th).
Childbirth is a normal event that sometimes necessitates medical intervention in an emergency.
For the majority of low-risk women it is a normal physiological event.
In the first stage of labour the body will do its own thing, and the advice is to rest, relax and sleep. The woman may not even appear to be in labour, experiencing only tightening sensations but not necessarily pain. Often it is only upon entering the strange environment of the hospital that the woman needs to work increasingly hard on maintaining focus in such a clinical setting.
In the absence of fear, a relaxed woman’s body conducts the orchestra of birth very differently to when one is tired, fearful, full of doubt and anxiety. Fear interrupts the process of uterine contraction and prevents the muscles from working effectively. Natural birth programmes help shorten labour as they aid relaxation and rest.
Moreover, in an undisturbed birth our natural pain relief cocktail of oxytocin and endorphins provide a potent antidote to suffering.
Some hospitals, such as Sligo University Hospital, are very accommodating to women that want to maximise natural childbirth techniques, including meditation, hypnosis, soft music, dimmed lighting, etc, and expectant mothers can choose a birth plan that allows significant scope for maximum control over her own birth.
I myself gave birth to three children using natural childbirth techniques. In each case, my baby was born in under two hours after arriving at the labour ward. My most recent birth eight weeks ago was incredibly empowering as I was able to advocate for myself to birth the way I wanted in my position of choice. The GentleBirth programme allowed me to stay, calm, confident and in control as I gave birth while standing at the foot of the bed. My husband and I then received our baby girl just as I had planned.
I chose a GentleBirth programme as it is inclusive of all birth options – natural, with or without pain relief, or Caesarean.
Birth should not be a competitive event based on how each of us perform, with or without drugs.
Childbirth is a right of passage for women and we deserve to be able to birth where we want, how we want and in whatever position we choose, without judgment. – Yours, etc,