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The Four Components of a Better Birth: Consciousness, Empowerment, Skills and Practice

In the 1980s and 1990s, the concept of “active management of labor” became more prominent, which involved the use of medical interventions to speed up labor and reduce its duration. This included practices like inducing labor and setting time limits on labor progression. This trend, which some would argue “advancement,” continued in the 21st century and the overall medicalization of childbirth continued to increase with a higher prevalence of interventions such as labor induction, episiotomies, and assisted deliveries such as forceps or vacuum extraction. The focus on medical control of birth has led to a decline in the prevalence of natural childbirth even today. 

I am sure that those working on these advances in medical science are doing so with the intention of making birth “safer” and “better.” I fear the added intention to control birth medically and technologically has often taken a primary role and may in many instances in fact have the opposite intended effect. Creating a holistic practiced “skills” approach to childbirth that respects a woman’s autonomy and preferences while balancing medical support with natural processes may actually be a better approach… 

First, let’s talk about the term “Natural Birth.” I have learned that different people define this term differently and really no one definition is accepted as the norm. We are all just looking at it from a different perspective. Some may define this as simply vaginal no matter the method, some define it as a vaginal birth in the absence of any medical intervention be that by hands, medication, assistive tools, and/or surgery, and still some see natural birth as just simply doing nothing and letting your body intuitively do its thing. I would suggest we all ideally want an experience that is positive, safe, and best for us and our baby during the process of birthing the amazing little human that our brilliant bodies have created. Many of us also find we have a goal of a safe, vaginal, positive birth with as little complication as possible, but we are not sure which of the above “natural births” we will push for and most women do not know how to get there. Let’s talk about birthing from a more holistic approach.

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