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Your Inner Wisdom: Trusting The Process For Natural Birthing

By Jeanne Ohm, DC

It is sometimes called “our inner knowing,” “the gut feeling,” or “the wisdom within.” Whatever its name, the experience is universal. It is a feeling, a word, an image that stands out bolder than the regular stream of conscious thought and it makes a slightly deeper impression on our minds. It will continue to guide us, depending on our receptive attention to it.

Natural processes like pregnancy and birth are dependant upon a woman’s ability to trust in her inner knowing. This wisdom leads women to support and trust the process rather than work against it. In this way, nature is allowed to take its course.

For centuries, this very intuition led women in their decisions for their own health and the well being of their families. Relying on its ageless wisdom, women listened to its promptings and trusted its guidance.

During birth, women used to decide which position would be most comfortable. They were free to move about during labor and delivery to manage the pain. Somehow, they knew that the squat position allowed the pelvis to open up more freely—one-third more in fact! If other people were present at the birth, they were there to support, not direct the process. Timing was not an issue; the baby was born at just the right moment. Once born, the mother immediately held, caressed, and nursed the baby. Separation was unheard of. Mother and child recovered quickly and grew strong together. There was confidence in this process as in any other body process: with respect and a sense of fulfillment.

Today, however, the birth process has turned into a technological procedure. The medical system in the United States is considered to be the most highly advanced in the world. We spend more on birth than any other country in the world. We expect this technology to improve our lives and solve our problems. We are led to believe this technology alone leads to improved outcomes. Why then does the World Health Organization rank the United States as 24th (last) among all industrialized nations in infant mortality and low birth weight?

Doris Hare, president of the American Foundation of Maternal and Child Health says, “It compels us to ask, what proportions of these complications, which have had their onset during labor and birth, are the direct result of aggressive obstetric procedures?”

This increase in technology leads to restrictions that apparently cause more harm than good. “Women are strapped down with monitors and forced into positions which are counter to gravity and normal physiology. They are forced into the hospitals schedule, inconsiderate of their normal birthing rhythms. This greatly slows down the natural momentum. The origin of this position had nothing to do with being safer for the mom or baby and yet its practice has remained unquestioned for centuries!

These restrictions in birth make women feel afraid and powerless. Fear shuts down the process both psychologically and physically. It actually constricts blood vessels and contracts muscles. This leads to greater pain. Drugs are given to ease the pain and the woman’s physical strength and uterine function is impaired further. Her ability to stay connected with her body is impaired and even cut off. She is not told that the drugs can harm her child’s developing organs and even intelligence.

Because of drugs and maternal positions, women strain and push excessively to get the baby out. Doctors pull and twist the infant’s delicate head and spine to get the shoulders out.

Even in what is called “natural birth,” standard birthing procedures pull the head and neck. Research shows that the routine force used in birth, may injure and damage the baby’s spinal cord and nerves. One medical study published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology by Dr. Abraham Towbin addresses this issue even further. He says, “The birth process even under optimal controlled conditions is potentially a traumatic, crippling event for the fetus… Moreover during the last part of delivery, during the final extraction of the fetus, mechanical stress imposed by obstetrical manipulation—even the application of standard orthodox procedures—may prove intolerable to the fetus.”

Birth in our country is one of the most profound examples of how we have allowed the mystique of technology to overcome practical intuition. Before our high-tech involvement, women gave birth without outside interference. They trusted their intuition and their body’s inherent ability to function as it was created to.

It is no coincidence indeed; the very same procedures where a woman’s intuition has been violated the most— modern birthing—is also one of the greatest causes of injury to a newborn. It is also no coincidence that the health care provider who supports parents’ intuition and trust in the body’s self healing, natural processes—the chiropractor—is also the one who is most able to help reduce and correct the damaging effects of birth trauma.

Doctors of Chiropractic are seriously concerned with the amount of force being used during births. They know injury to the nervous system has a tremendous effect on a child’s ability to be healthy. This is because chiropractors work with so many children whose health has been impaired so early on in life. These birth injuries can have life-long health consequences.