Monday, February 21, 2011

The Rape of Birth: Feminism’s Final Frontier


When I’m in conversation with a tough, feisty, feminist woman and the subject of birth comes up I am always irritated when I get the usual fearful and horrified reaction. “Knock me out and cut me open!” says one friend. “Natural birth is for martyrs.” says another. The most common refrain is “GIVE ME DRUGS!” Why is it that women can see that they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in the boardroom but are unable to recognize the hideous mutilation of their rights in the delivery room?

These women are not shrinking violets… most of them would slay dragons at the mere suggestion that they are anything other than tough, strong, capable feminists and yet the mere idea of natural birth makes them quiver in fear. Why is this? Birth is the one thing that only women can do. Birth is the essence of what makes us feminine and uniquely different from men. And yet we have allowed ourselves to become completely divorced from the natural process of birth and all the joy, beauty and power thereof.
For me, feminism is a belief that women in almost every field are at least as competent as men, if not more so, a belief that women and men deserve to be treated with equal respect and a belief that the differences between women and men should be acknowledged and celebrated.

I believe that my FEMINism should be acknowledged. I have never wanted to be ‘As good as’ a man, as that implies that I would need to limit myself to that which is comparable to his manliness at the expense of all those powerful things about my femaleness that give me the edge over him.  Not that I feel it’s necessary to be in competition but if we were, and I was trying to excel in all the masculine ways, I would fall short. I don’t think the Burn your Bra and wear Brogues school of Feminism embraced FEMINism, I think in many ways it shunned it. And yes, it had its place, it got us the vote, and it kick-started the movement that made a Female Prime Minister and a woman CEO possible. And yes, we still have a way to go. But for the most part, women in the western world have woken up to the fact that we deserve better and that we need to continue to fight for our rights, and we have the right to do this as feminine beings, not as women disguised as men. So why is it that the violation of our bodies, the disrespect of our rights and the horrendously misogynistic patriarchy that gets forced onto women in maternity wards is considered acceptable? Why do women leave their Feminist Principles at the entrance to the hospital?

Women bring in birth plans that they have meticulously researched only to have them completely ignored. Women are regularly forced to lie down during labour – a position proven to narrow the pelvic opening and cause pain and difficulty during delivery.  They are treated like children who have no say in what happens to them from the minute they enter the maternity ward. Even though they are expected to perform a taxing physical task, they are denied food and water. They will be told that they are putting their baby’s lives at risk if they fail to comply with hospital policy. They will often have complete strangers shoving fingers up their vaginas against their will. Women whose babies are about to emerge have their vagina’s cut with scissors without warning or consent. In any other situation a woman who is being held down and shouting “NO” while this is happening would be considered a victim of sexual assault, but if she’s in labour, she’s fair game.

The assumption is that women become hysterical during labour and are unable to make rational decisions. The assumption is that her – generally male – doctor has her best interests at heart and wants to ensure that she and the baby leave alive at all costs. The assumption is that birth is always a dangerous and difficult thing to do and that without the help of the good doctor, both woman and baby would probably die. Not to say that birth is never dangerous, but it is, for the most part, normal and natural and safe. When a baby is born in the parking lot of a hospital, or in the car on the way there, people always say ‘Isn’t the baby lucky to be alive?’ Why? Because there wasn’t a white coated man there to catch it?

Until very recently birth was solely the domain of women. However, medicine, that Great Invention of Man, wanted a piece of that pie. Doctors began experimenting on women, killing many thousands of mothers and babies in their ignorance.  Midwifery was disparaged and midwives were often banned from practicing or imprisoned. Medicine learned – from midwives – and Doctors began to get better at keeping women and babies alive – though never approaching the expertise and knowledge of a good midwife. Gradually birth became something that needed to be treated as a disease, not a natural function of life. Gradually women – wanting to be good girls and fearing to put their unborn babies at risk, began choosing the White Coated Man over the homespun midwife. By the 50’s, hospitals, doctors, and medicine had won. They owned birth. They could dehumanize mothers and behave in any way they deemed fit.  They developed ways to knock the mother out during labour, ways to meddle with the process. What they never seemed to understand – and what the midwives always knew – was that the less you meddled with the process of a normal birth, the better the outcome.

Sometimes a helping hand is necessary, and sometimes yes, doctors and hospitals do save the lives of mothers and babies. But the circumstances leading up to the births of almost every baby born to women in hospitals are less than ideal, and sometimes downright dangerous. Five minutes of research on the internet will show you that doctors are practicing outdated and non - evidence based procedures. Two minutes on the internet will show that Caesarean Section is twice as likely to kill you and 3 to 4 times as likely to kill your baby than natural birth is. And yet your doctor will quite happily herd you in the direction of C-Section because it’s ‘safer and easier’. One minute on the internet will get you evidence that doctors are practicing DANGEROUS medicine on babies and woman and yet we sit back and let it happen to us. Why? If men gave birth do you think they would allow doctors to take the same liberties with their bodies? Certainly not! Why? Because they haven’t grown up in a society that leads them to believe their bodies are fragile and unnatural and will let them down when push comes to shove.

Studies have shown that C- Section mothers are 80% more likely to experience serious Post Partum Depression. I believe that part of the reason for this is the medical bypass of vaginal birth. Your body feels as though it has failed. When a C-Section does genuinely save the life of a mother or a child, then it is worth the arduous mental and physical recovery. But when a c- section or a highly interventive and traumatic birth has occurred solely because the doctors and nurses have followed stupid, non evidence based hospital procedure, then the mother is left feeling as though she hasn’t been strong enough to give birth herself. She has been subjected to indignities and painful medical processes and has often been treated as though she is stupid or contrary. It’s easy to see how those feelings of inadequacy can lead to depression. ‘How can I possibly be a good mother to this baby if my body wasn’t even able to give birth normally?’ The normal response from family and friends is usually along the lines of ‘All that matters is a healthy baby.’ This response further negates the mother’s feelings and adds guilt into the mix -‘How could I be obsessing over my traumatic birth experience when I have a healthy child?’ The ‘healthy baby’ argument also further cements the Doctor’s right to do whatever he or she feels is appropriate during the birth of your baby.  It also adds to the prevailing myth that pregnancy and birth are dangerous and arduous processes and that without intervention, a healthy baby would not be a normal outcome.

As a mother who was railroaded into an unnecessary C-Section I urge women to begin to question. I urge women to start to say no to their doctors when they know that they are being bullied. Stop being good girls and be strong women. Educate yourselves. This is your body, your baby, your vagina. Don’t leave all the decisions up to your Doctor because he, or she, does not have YOUR best interests at heart, his first priority is to himself and the hospital. Until we start fighting back en masse, nothing will change.  You have the right to question your doctor about his C-Section stats. You have the right to walk around, deliver in any position you want, eat and drink and limit the amount of people in the labour ward. You have the right to refuse the strap on fetal monitor and request a handheld device. You have the right to refuse Pitocin, epidural, vaginal checks and even the hospital nightgown. Do your research. Don’t let yourself become another broken and unempowered mother who allowed the system to bulldoze her. Be a woman.

Links: A Short History of Birth:
C Section - Maternal Mortality:
Birth Rape:
Post Partum Depression - C Section:


  1. We have had misogynistic portrayals of birth shoved down our throats for far too long--it is rarely a life-threatening event that causes excruciating, unbearable pain that women only tolerate so they can have a child. It is a joyous transition in and of itself... and we have lost the empowerment that comes with trusting our bodies instead of the patriarchal medical system.

    Believing that drugs and interventions are necessary and "empowered" is the unfortunate side effect of believing that birth must be painful, must be monitored, must be assisted by men in white coats.

  2. I agree Arual, women are led to believe that they are being offered a better alternative when actually they are being robbed of their birth right!

    I'm so tired of having to defend natural birth. Women are being lied to!

  3. Women are being lied to for sure!
    We need to trust birth! We really do!
    The "health professionals" do not have a women's best interest at heart!
    By the way, what a fantastic thing you wrote!
    I LOVE IT!

  4. I completely agree... The knock me out feminist attitude has always baffled me, just like the undervaluation of motherhood. There is nothing feminist about denying femininity and the great power and beauty it holds. I'm saddened that so many fail to see that.

  5. Thank you for sharing these empowering thoughts. You're probably right on most accounts, including the risks of c-sections, but I must admit that without fact-based evidence included in a post like this, it's hard to tell. Info/videos on the internet at large isn't always reliable, so sourcing is important.
    I do agree with your point on feminism: it should absolutely celebrate the amazing capabilities women have, including birthing (and might I add breastfeeding!) You're right that comments about wanting to be knocked out for a birth shouldn't be considered feminist.
    Personally though, I've never heard a women who makes those comments claim to be feminist or to be making a feminist statement. Including me. When I was pregnant with my daughter (now 3), I said things like that, but it was completely out of fear and lack of experience. I thought I was educating myself during the journey, but it turns out you need to be *really* savvy to discover the issues you discuss above. Fortunately, I think that these issues are becoming more widespread. I feel lucky to be more aware now, but I think I only listened after having a bad experience. More than likely, unless you have a close friend or family member to inform you and challenge your way of thinking, you'll likely head down the humiliating and traumatic hospital/medical path.
    I feel really strongly that if our goal is impart this knowledge on prospective mothers, we need to choose our wording carefully, so as not to appear self-righteous ourselves and to be open-minded to the fact that many women have the best intentions for themselves and their babes, but just haven't found the right resources yet.

  6. Hi all, thanks for the comments. I wrote this in response to a thread on one of my parenting forums which distressed me... Glad I hit the mark, I didn't even edit so it was quite long...

    Rach, I added some links - I intended this post to be aimed more at the women already in the natural birthing community so I didn't link while writing. However, you are right, it makes my point much stronger if I have evidence to back it up.

    Thanks all. I'm currently in debate over this post on facebook, so your comments have perked me up!

  7. I want to add that I don't think you sound "self-righteous," and you chose your words well... you sound informed and confidant. Our joy over our good birth experiences and hope of helping others know how they can have a good experience as well can be misinterpreted because of the emotions of the listener, not because we said something wrong.

  8. I enjoyed reading this! I gave birth to my 8lb 6oz baby 10 months ago, drug free. My labor was almost 19 hrs, it was hard work but i am so happy i decided no drugs. I had a free labor, I had most of my labor on a yoga ball. Other than being able to eat i had a great labor. Although the smell of food made me feel sick. My nurse was actually a 'nurse-midwife' she worked in the hospital. I loved how i had the freedom and choice to decide what i wanted to do. I nursed the second she came out, and she stayed in that room with me for 2 days. I loved the points you made. I do feel like it's the same situation with breastfeeding as is labor. I hear my friends say they dont want a baby to mess up their breasts, i feel like they are so misinformed. Its sad that normal in our society is druged labors and formula.

  9. Also i wanted to comment on Rach's quote "More than likely, unless you have a close friend or family member to inform you and challenge your way of thinking, you'll likely head down the humiliating and traumatic hospital/medical path." My mother used to be a midwife for years and years, and if she wouldn't of informed me of my rights etc as a pregnant mother, i would of chose a drug labor, and probably formula. I feel sorry for the women who wern't guided in a positive dirrection. I think that people like you that are such a positive influence make a huge difference and are an inspiration to all women :) Thank you for your wisdom

  10. I agree, and I also would like to add something, those among us that ended up with a C section for unclear reasons and feeling badly about it, often dream up about recovering thanks to another birth but then again, after a C section the scarred uterus identifies the woman more than anything else in the eyes of doctors, therefore a VBAC becomes a huge stake, and ofte too difficult to overcome while all the entourage is calling the woman an egoistic baby-killer because she would at least like to try to give birth naturally... then she tenses up, the baby is certainly scared to come to such a dangerous world, it stays in late... becomes too big, way to big for a scarred uterus and for nurses and doctors to wait around in a dangerous long labour on a scar! therefore they will tell her that either the baby comes out in 2-4-6 hours (According to the hospital) either it going to be a re-C-Section... ah, and please do sign the release with all the ugly dangers: adherences, bladder injuries, hemorrage... to name just a few. Forget about asking to hold the baby in the first hours, they won't even hear your demand.
    I feel grateful to nature to have made me strong enough to keep breastfeeding - at least that natural thing - through all these bad things.
    Keep your heads up! we^'re not alone and our daughters will hopefully have another approach to birth! let's keep on working to change things for them!

  11. bertaberta I hear you!
    I can't even talk to pregnant women anymore without wanting to cry. the last few weeks I've spoken to 3 disempowered pregnant women... one said 'My doctor said my pelvis is too small but she's going to let me try for natural.' Perfect priming for an 'emergency' c sect. How is anyone able to birth natuarally with all those fears loaded onto them?

    In the 37th week of my pregnancy I had a doctor scanning my perfectly healthy and beautiful baby say 'I just delivered a stillborn baby.' and talk about how the woman should never have been 'allowed' to have a natural labour. Two weeks later when my 'emergency' c section yeilded a live baby my tears were not of joy and accomplishment, but of relief that my baby was alive. I had carried that fear around and I wonder if that is what 'caused' my c section.

  12. This post is full of crap, myths and lies. The tipical "I know best" than my doctor... but when the shit hits the fan, it never becomes their fault but their doctors...

    I wonder if these people do actually use their brain before pouring misinformation on the internet.

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  14. ? Angry Coder.
    Please be more specific. Which are the myths and which are the lies?

    I live in South Africa and our C Sect stats in the private clinics are nationally at 75%, but our public hospital c sect stats are at 9%. Tell me, do you think this is normal?

  15. The author has a biased view based on her ideology and tries to make a case to support her ideological views based on (I'd say) plain ignorance and total misunderstanding of facts.

    In your case: who in SA goes to a private clinic? it's for sure not the people living in the ghettos, but middle class women who have grown used to the comforts money can provide. They get asked what they want and they pick a C Sect. The average women in your country, the ones who go to public hospitals and in a way "endure" pain from day and in several aspects pf their life... just pick to have their babies the traditional way.

    Is it normal to have babies by C Sect? if you say NO, then you should remember that it's not normal to survive a heart attack. If you say YES, then you are just being picky on what benefits modern medicine provides to you. In the end, male and (more importantly FEMALE) doctors DO NOT command you to have babies by C Sect... they just present the facts to you and you then make a choice based on whatever factors you want to consider.

  16. I'd also caution you to not argument for the sake of winning a discussion just by throwing numbers away.

    You've said that C sect stats in private clinics are at about 75% but it's just 9% in public hospitals. Judging from the tone of your question, you seem to have assumed there is something wrong there with private clinic practices.

    Is that a logical and rational assumption? I'd say not since it's just merely based on the fact that 75% is greater than 9%. We're missing information there to place those percentages in context. Let's play a bit with those numbers...

    SA total population is about 50 millions. How many people go to private clinics? Let's say 30% (based on current socio-economics) which accounts for 15 million. How many go to public hospitals? 70% or 35 million. Obviously those numbers include male/female individuals. Just assume we have an even distribution, so we have 7,5 million going to private clinics and 17,5 million to public hospitals.

    75% of 7,5 millions is 5,625,000 individuals having a C sect in private clinics.

    However... 9% of 17,5 millions is 1,575,000 individuals having a C sect in public hospitals.

    So, comparing 9% vs 75% means almost a 7.5 times trend on one side. However comparing the actual numbers it's gets lower to about 4.5 times from one to the other.

    Which one is the right one? What do these numbers mean? Is there a trend? We can't tell because we're still missing information and the above is just based on assumptions.

  17. TheAngryCoder: You may very well be right about the stats in SA, but, as you say, we don't know all the facys.

    In another area, however, you are sorely mistaken. Women are most definitely NOT given the facts by most healthcare professionals. There is something called informed consent or informed choice. That is, choice, or consent to intervention based on havin all the facts, not biased medical opinion. Most doctors, and many midwives, believe that women should not be given too much information, in some cases, it's believed women should have no information. For example. Those of us choosing to VBAC are told we're doubling our chance of uterine rupture. Sounds scary, right? Well, given the facts, ie the statistics, get this, there is a .5%-.75% chance of uterine rupture in a "normal" labour, while there's 1-1.5% chance in a VBAC. Furthermore, when you have a cesarean, you have a 1.5% chance of a your child's head being lacerated with a scalpel. Nice, huh? No one talks about that last bit, do they? No, they talk about doubled chances of rupture. Want sources? I'd be more than happy to oblige.

    As for the point of the article... you've missed it: why be feminist if you don't believe in yourself as a woman? but if you do want to just nitpick the facts, actually she seems pretty bang on with the research I've done from medical and midwifery perspectives. It's just whether you let docs make the decision, or inform yourself and inforce your choices.

    Finally, though, I would challenge you not to say anything if you can't say anything nice, at all...

  18. well angrycoder, what is your point? you have done some kind of statistical tango and basically said nothing. as a woman who was railroaded into a completely uneccessarry c section by outdated and non evidence based hospital protocol i can safely say that i did not choose my section, i fought it bitterly every step of the way but my wishes were ignored or superceded by my doctors. there is so much evidence of this kind of blatant mismanagement of birth that stories like mine are mild in comparision to most of the stories on the net.

    where are the myths and lies in the blog? it clearly states that when lives are saved by medical intervention then it is necessarry and good - "Sometimes a helping hand is necessary, and sometimes yes, doctors and hospitals do save the lives of mothers and babies" i still would like to see you point out one myth or lie.

  19. Bonnie!! You are on fire and loving and courageous. I am a mother who was robbed of my good birth TWICE. I am now a midwife, trained using the obstetric model of birth (shite) and now qualified(?) is having to learn the truth about women and birth myself through reading research, books, talking to women, observing women birthing (sitting on my hands), my own apprenticeship with woman-centred, skilled midwives & personal reflection. Every word in your blog speaks my experiences and my heart. The safest place for birth is with women. Obstetrics is there for pathology. End of. Normal powerful birth has been stolen by the medical profession and those that collude with it. Women and their compassionate, skilled and trusting supporters, for holistic morbidity and mortality sake and for the worlds sake, NEED to take birth back.

  20. I loved this post! It was amazing and so right on. As a woman who has slowly gone down the path path from epidural birth, to two natural hospital births (which were way over managed and where my requests were denied, though, according to their own monitors, my baby(s) were doing great), to now planning my first homebirth, this post just reaffirmed my reasons for wanting a homebirth. I truly am excited to let my body do its job, without strangers staring at my Yoni and sticking their hands up me, whether I like it or not. I am so excited to finally be a WOMAN and have my baby the way God intended me to.

    As for AngryCoder... I think the username says it all and this troll should just be ignored, as the poster if obviously ignorant.

  21. Thanks all, I am so glad some most people are reading this post in the spirit with which it was intended to be received.

    I am by no means attacking women who have had empowered C Sections (sometimes they are necessary and when they are, they are wonderful, life saving interventions), and I am not saying 'all women should birth at home.' What I AM saying is that the way we are treated by hospitals and doctors is WRONG! I am saying that there is no reason to tolerate bad treatment by doctors and hospitals. There is no reason to allow nonsensical and harmful hospital protocol to dictate your birth. If you have to give birth in a hospital, be educated and make sure you have an educated care provider and support team. The more we shout, the more they will HAVE to start listening....

  22. Excellent post! I just wrote a nice long comment for you, and then my internet decided to stop working when I hit enter. Boo. Anyway, the gist of it was that I think you are right one with this post. Birth is something that only women can do, a beautiful experience that teaches her her own strength like nothing else can. After giving birth, I feel like I can do absolutely anything. I think if more women discovered what it was like to give birth as only they know how, they wouldn't submit so easily to mistreatment in the labor room.
    Thank you for posting this. I think you were quite fair in your As you said in your last comment, "The more we shout, the more they will HAVE to start listening." Thankfully, I have seen a few cases that look like at least a couple OBs are starting to listen. However, we still have hospital policies, legalities, and monetary influences to break through... It's still a long way off, but blogs like yours help to raise awareness.
    Thanks for posting. I'll be back to read more for sure!

  23. Thank you for this. As the recipient of an unnecessary C section I can totally identify with the "all that matters is a healthy baby" paragraph. I felt awful that I was so upset over my experience when it had all worked out ok in the end.

    I have been laughed at for being so specific in my current birth plan with #2 but clearly if I don't outline every specific point then there is room for (mis)interpretation. All I want is to be left alone to let nature take her course. If I need help, so be it, please do jump in and help, but in the mean time leave me alone.

    This post sums up perfectly so many of my feelings about modern birth that I have been struggling with. The crux of it is - if women have been doing this for millions of years, why do we suddenly need all the technology under the sun for such a natural process to be deemed 'safe'...?

    Thank you for this article. Truly.

  24. @Bronwyn

    You say: "well angrycoder, what is your point? you have done some kind of statistical tango and basically said nothing."

    I think you are missing the point, haven't read properly or did not understand my post.

    I threw away some number in the same fashion you did and concluded we could not be certain of anything just based on those numbers. I actually did it on purpose to show that you comparing 9% vs 75% did not mean anything significative. Ergo, if you say I said basically nothing then your 9% vs 75% example says basically nothing as well.

    You say: "as a woman who was railroaded into a completely uneccessarry c section by outdated and non evidence based hospital protocol i can safely say that i did not choose my section, i fought it bitterly every step of the way but my wishes were ignored or superceded by my doctors."

    I'm sorry for you having to go thru some traumatic experience. I understand the emotional impact of it and my best wishes go to you.

    However, you state a few things which probably you should explain in the context of this discussion.

    1. Why was the procedure unnecesary?
    Could you pls share the doctor's motives and why you think he/she was wrong?

    2. What was the hospital protocol?
    Could you please explain to us why you think the protocol was outdated and non-evidence based and what would the proper protocol be?

    3. Why were your wishes ignored or superceded?

    If you have been subject to medical malpractice, then I'd encourage you to sue the doctors and hospital. clinic, etc. and prevent them from practicing medicine again.

    You say: "where are the myths and lies in the blog?"

    I'll repeat myself. The author has a biased view based on her ideology and tries to make a case to support her ideological views based on (I'd say) plain ignorance and total misunderstanding of facts.


    "Until very recently birth was solely the domain of women. However, medicine, that Great Invention of Man, wanted a piece of that pie"

    Medicine is not an invention. It's a science and it has developed thanks to the contribution of uncountable male and female doctors. In South America for instance, 95% of gynecologist are women and they are the primary help when the time comes for giving birth. So much for evil men trying to get their hands on vulnerable women... although I must say that th wording used by the author is effective to bring an emotional response on the reader, response far from being objective anyways.


    "Doctors began experimenting on women, killing many thousands of mothers and babies in their ignorance."

    Probably we should ask how many women and babies were killed at the beginning of the times when midwifes did not have a clue of what to do? Again, wording crafted to bring up emotional responses. Propaganda some would say.

    "Gradually birth became something that needed to be treated as a disease, not a natural function of life."

    Any sound facts to support this statement? Or is it just propaganda?

    "Why do women leave their Feminist Principles at the entrance to the hospital?"

    I found this particularly disturbing. How's that different from a Jehova Witness sticking to his/her beliefs and refusing a blood transfusion (that could save his/her life) just based solely on ideological/religious principles?

    Ideologies, religions, faiths, etc may be the greatest thing on earth but when it comes to preservation of human life... I pick life rather that ethereal ideas.

    Again, I'm sorry for you and or what you had to go tru. As a human being, I feel the pain probably as much as you did. We're all one on this planet.

  25. LOL at Bronwyn being two women - don't you just wish?

    I had an unnecessary CS, proven by the fact when next time I said "please will you support me in a TOL?" they did and I did. I was told that at 5% rupture rate (I have a "special" scar) I was not a candidate for VBAC.

    Unfortunately my own team were not on that night and I had to put up with a team that were going to either cut her out or pull her out. No preason why they should, she was born 12 hours after asking to go on the monitor (I was already in hospital) 6 hours after being effaced, half an hour after my waters broke, 12 minutes after starting to push and 6 minutes from her head not being there.

    How was there not an agenda? I was labouring fine, baby was fine, delivered at APGAR 9. There was never a reason to bring her out quicker or to interfere.


    Midwives, before male doctors (because they were, we're not talking about today) were able to vaginally deliver placenta previa without killing either mother or baby - even our doctors today can't say that. The biggest killer of mothers, we all know it, we see it in historical films. What caused it? Doctors who didn't wash their hands after doing a PM. One doctor thought it would be a good idea to wash his hands after having them inside a dead body and had the best outcomes so the practice spread and more women started surviving birth.

    Did you know the NHS is pushing for more homebirths? Why? They're safer. Every British woman has the right to request a midwife attend her at home. The NHS, whilst not having an ideal section rate, has a pretty good rate and is trying to lower that. Why? Because they know that not all of them are necessary or wanted by the mother. According to WHO, Unicef, RCOG etc there is an ideal rate of sections which is about 15%.

    Why shouldn't women go into birth informed? Why shouldn't she know that if she labours on her back then she's working against gravity and therefore more likely to need a section? Why shouldn't she know that this position will open her pelvis and encourage the baby to move down better than that position? It doesn't suit doctors and midwives to have women walking around or kneeling or bouncing on a birth ball or in a birth pool - all things that help the labour - because they can't see what's going on so well. So you have a choice, the mother in a bad position so the HCP can see what's happening and increase the liklihood of a section or the mother in a good position for vaginal birth but the HCP can't see without getting into a position they don't want to? You know what, when I'm pushing a baby out, I'm going to get into the position that helps me get the baby out, they can deal with it! My comfort affects my labour, their comfort doesn't until it affects mine.

    Lastly, where's your evidence? Where are your stats? You ask for people to prove it but can you do it yourself?

  26. Angry Coder: why are you even reading this post if you don't agree with the blogger's ideology and views? It is a blog, a forum for viewpoints and discussion, not a medical research paper with a full reference list. That doesn't mean its not valid or not true!
    Do you work on the healthcare system? If so, can you honestly say you see informed choice for women in all or even most cases? Or do you just blindly accept any medical opinion because it's medical and therefore must be backed by good science? And if you don't work in the healthcare system, where on earth are you getting this notion of informed choice actually occurring from?

    I do work in the healthcare system in maternity care, and the state of practice based on opinion and belief VS actual evidence even in hospitals is appalling. So is the fact that most care providers and hospital systems operate on a time clock instead of measures of fetal and maternal well-being, and have no respect for the legal and moral rights of women to be active participants in the decision- making processes and to true informed choice. That is why there are so many women sharing the views of this blogger- the system is fucked, and is not healthy for women or babies.
    I'll throw out a few stats for you-
    Fact: the world health organization, which includes the input of high profile doctors and medical professionals, states that any country's ceasarean rates should be no lower than 5% and no higher than 15% for best maternal and neonatal outcomes- in north America it averages above 30%! Do you maintain that all of those 30% were medically sound, that NONE of them were unnecessary?
    Fact: risk of uterine rupture in VBAC trial of labour is actually 0.2-0.5% if you use good research that actually looks at rupture versus incidental dehiscence noted on repeat section, which is NOT a problem for mum or baby. And the ACOG and SOGC both recommend counselling lower risk VBAC candidates (which is most VBAC candidates!) that a VBAC is a reasonable option to choose. Why then are there so many hospitals with bans on VBAC trials of labour, an so many obstetricians who counsel their clients that "once a cesarean always a cesarean" or that their baby will surely die if they attempt a VBAC? That is NOT informed choice at all.

    There is a huge problem with the maternity care system in north America, and in the US decisions are largely driven by the fucked up legal system that encourages everyone to sue everyone for just about everything.

  27. @angrycoder:
    - women have only been allowed to study medicine for a shot amount of time, so yes, modern medicine is a man thing, and still is very much in many countries, with the majority of chief of staffs being men, adn the majority of professors being men
    - you cannot ignore the many deaths infection brought on before doctors realized they had to wash their hands when touching a birthing women (especially given that they also cut into cadavers bare handed)
    - you question wether or not pregnancy is being treated as a disease, ask yourself if you regularly ask your doctor to be present when you go to the bathroom. Do you have a nutritionist at your side when you eat? Do you need to be screened and tested when you want to go running?

  28. The first problem we have is treating birth as an illness. I just went through an induction with my oldest daughter and her newborn son. I tried my best to stand aside and let her make the decisions. Even when the nurse was someone I knew from high school, my daughter wasn't given all the information she needed to make informed choices. It was always, "You should do XXXX because it's standard procedure." In fairness, my daughter didn't ask many questions, either. I think we've become too reliant on the medical system and have given up the faith in our bodies to do amazing things like birth a baby. Births aren't meant to be convenient or scheduled. Birth hurts but that doesn't mean it is bad. Birth should be taken back by the WOMEN who own it.