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January 23, 2013

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Comments

Jay Kelly

I totally agree that women should not over eat in pregnancy, but I have to ask you to reconsider your words regarding overeating being the cause of increased c-section rates due to babies being too large. This is not actually true. It is the medicalisation of birth that is increasing the woman's chance of being induced. Being induced then tends to lead to an avalanche of interventions, not to mention that most ladies are encouraged to lie flat on their backs, pushing a baby (often when not ready, but they wouldn't know that as the epidural would have numbed those senses) pushing a baby upwards through a u bend. When a lady is upright, gravity is incredibly useful! The lying flat position decreases the pelvis' capicity by approximately 30%, whereas being in an upright squatting position increases the pelvis space by 30%. Of my four babies, and my many clients' babies, size has not be relevant, but birth position has. I do massively advocate healthy eating in pregnancy for other reasons though.

Eve

I also advocate healthy eating in pregnancy but am also concerned about the way that this isssue is framed here. The suggestion is that poor personal discipline is the cause of all birthing difficulties and that is extremely unhelpful for birthing women. The reasons for complications and difficulties in deliveries are complex and suggesting that 'success' equals a particular kind of birth is extremely alienating for women who have experienced difficulty. Further while there may be more helpful models of birthing attitudes in differing cultures the wholesale representation of different cultures here as straighforwardly healthy and better overlooks the dangers faced by any birthing woman in any human culture. It may be the case that a healthy and unafraid woman will be more likely to have a straightforward birth. But I doubt this article will help many women to achieve that - rather it suggests to them that if anything goes 'wrong' with the birth that they have somehow brought it on themselves; they are inherently disabled by being from a culture which is inferior in its birthing practices; and that any intervention = failure. I don't see that attitude as empowering at all, rather I see it as setting up a false standard against which birthing women should judge their personal competance as a woman. I speak as a pregnant woman with a history of straightforward and unassisted birth.

Fresh Network

Hello Eve,
Thank you very much for your comments. We forwarded them to Karen Ranzi, author of the article, who has kindly responded below.

'The article is not meant to judge anyone as there are times when a woman plans a natural birth in every aspect but something still goes wrong. There is no blame at all and I'm so sorry that you misunderstood. What is pointed out here is that different cultures do have different statistic rates based on their overall way of looking at pregnancy and childbirth. In many western cultures, "pregnancy is often looked at as a disease and childbirth as a surgical operation." From what I see on a daily basis involved in working with a mainstream population of women, the medical influence is clear. The situation is definitely complex as you said but there are still certain visable patterns that are obvious in western cultures. Most women do not exert their influence to have the birth they desire. Many more could have ecstatic childbirth if they increased their confidence about the whole birth process. They have been talked out of it over the past few decades and it's a true tragedy. There have been numerous other similar articles published. It's not articles such as these that take away the empowerment of women, it's those who convince them they have no control over their own pregnancies and childbirths, and over their own lives. The following is written by a U.S. midwife:

"What effect does method of birthing have on our children's health? I've delivered or overseen about 10,000
births and wonder why I'm seeing so many healthy babies. I delivered very few babies who were brain damaged
or later developed autism, learning disabilities, or other issues that plague our society today. For over 28 years,
I delivered babies in a free standing birth center where interventions were not an option. When I reflect on the effects of those numbing drugs on the newborn, I wonder if the rise in autism is related to being born numb. Does the rising C-section rate have something to do with the rise in autism and other learning issues? These are questions that remain to be answered. Does taking charge of our children's development and health from the very beginning make a difference?"

Congratulations on your pregnancy.'

Uma

Whilst there's some really interesting and valid points made in your article Karen, your quote from the midwife (in your response to Eve's comment)left me feeling uneasy. I don't think we know enough about autism or any other learning disability to consider their conditions "issues that plague our society today". I'm a health conscious raw foodist who also happens to be a mother of a disabled child. I also work with babies and children with disabilities, many of which were birthed by health-conscious, loving mothers. These children's disabilities rarely are an "issue" for the children, for the most part they are obliviously happy. The only issues I've ever encountered are from other adults who conclude that there's something "wrong" with these children. Do we, with our limited perception, know that for certain? Could it be possible that their souls intended to be housed "in less than perfect bodies" in order to teach us how to love unconditionally?

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