Women have been carrying and delivering babies naturally since the world began. So why are we afraid of natural pregnancy?
By Danielle, contributing writer
Maybe you’re wondering what is a natural pregnancy. Maybe you’ve had five natural, homebirths. The majority of us were born into the modern medical care system where pregnancy is treated as an illness and a number of treatments, tests, and drugs are necessary. Those who chose to look into a more natural pregnancy find that somehow, women have birthed naturally for eons and our bodies were designed to hold and deliver a baby.
So, Why Are We So Afraid of Natural Pregnancy?
One thing I have seen in my life and in most women around me is that with each subsequent pregnancy, a mother plans to have her pregnancy and delivery more and more natural. It’s clear that we long for what should be, even when finding what that is is hard.
What keeps us away from experiencing a natural pregnancy? I would start with the issues below.
Let’s face it. Pregnancy and delivery aren’t something we go through everyday, and that can be scary. We think that it should only be handled by the “experts,” physicians who have been trained in surgery (cesarean) and may have not seen a natural birth.
To pacify their insurance, obstetricians want to monitor every moment of pregnancy, although studies show that has no positive outcome. Why? They’re afraid. Afraid they may miss something or do something wrong, and then try to control it. Pregnancy, like life, cannot be controlled.
Midwives, CNMs or CPMs, have experience treating a pregnancy holistically, and are instructed in what a natural pregnancy looks like. I’ve seen a midwife help a hospital nurse during birth. It showed me just how lacking some (I am not saying all) hospitals, physicians, and nurses are in birth knowledge.
You can ditch the fear and learn to trust your body, trust your baby, and focus on creating a positive pregnancy rather than a worried, controlled one.
Lack of Knowledge
Many of us don’t have a natural pregnancy because we simply don’t know it’s an option. Our doctors scare us that anything that is natural is dangerous, and of course, we want to keep our baby safe. So, we stop looking. We stop researching. We stop questioning.
There is so much evidence that choosing a natural pregnancy and delivery is not only healthier for mom and baby, but that it also brings better health outcomes – lower maternity and fetal deaths, lower cesareans, lower rates of epidural and pitocin, and quicker recoveries.
It Takes Work and Dedication on Our Part
Having a smooth, natural pregnancy isn’t as easy as sitting back, eating a bunch of Oreos (totally guilty with my first), and hoping everything goes well. It takes work to ensure we are in good shape, getting enough sleep, keeping our stress low, and eating a high protein and fat, whole foods diet. We have to dig into research to learn our options, how to object to what we do not want, and build a positive outlook on pregnancy.
Going Against the Grain
As soon as you go natural, there will be that cousin, friend and mother-in-law that doesn’t agree. They’ll hand you pharma-funded studies that show how dangerous natural pregnancy is. You will find your pregnancy support groups limited, and only a few, crunchy friends who really understand your decisions and support you. It doesn’t feel good to be the odd man out, but if that odd man has a healthy pregnancy and baby, it’s worth it. Expect this, and be ready to combat their arguments with confidence.
We Do Not Trust Our Bodies
Though women have been giving birth forever, we are told our bodies are dysfunctional, and they need help to carry and delivery a baby. The truth is our bodies can still produce a baby (alone, with little help, and well!) without loads of medical interventions. If you are struggling with trusting your body, do a series of positive affirmations during pregnancy and feed into your pregnancy good food and good vibes.
We are taught in most developed countries, and certainly in the United States, that doctors of all kinds wear the white coat and the pants. Asking for a second opinion or questioning their treatment or diagnosis is on par with heresy, and if you think you’re going to have a healthy pregnancy without 4 ultrasounds (which are harmful and inaccurate) and a flu shot (never tested for safety during pregnancy, and it says so on its box), you’re crazy.
Reality is that all doctors perform a service, and just like getting your nails done, you have the right to direct them, reject their suggestions, and not pay if they do not do what you want. If you want to have a healthy pregnancy, before you see a physician, throw away all your preconceived notions about birth, and research for yourself.
Plan a Natural Pregnancy Without Fear
There is nothing to be afraid of planning a natural pregnancy. Read books by educated midwives, such as Ina May Gaskin, watch documentaries such as Business of Being Born, and contact midwives and doulas in your area to learn more about the natural pregnancy alternatives in your area, state laws and hospital policies, and more ways to find support with your natural pregnancy.