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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:46 AM   1
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What is "natural" birth anyway?!

Something I have noticed. When people say "I had a natural birth":

- Some mean "vaginal" (instead of CS)
- Some mean "vaginal with no epi"
- Some mean "I had no analgesic pain relief"
- Some mean "I had no drugs at all" (ie. they started labour spontaneously and had no drugs for pain, or augmentation) (but they might have had a managed third stage, but to them, that doesn't count).
- Some mean they had no drugs at all not even for the third stage
- Some mean they had no drugs at all and no interventions at all (like assisted delivery)
- Some say "waterbirth" isn't natural birth, because we humans are not aquatic creatures!

Oh and "interventions"! That's another good word!
- Some count "hands on" care from a midwife as intervention.
- Some count herbs as intervention, and say the birth wasnt "natural" if you had herbs to get labour start, keep it going or stem bleeding afterwards or whatever....
- Some count a sweep as an intervention, some don't.
- Some count early cord cutting as intervention, some count ANY cord cutting as intervention.

Some people I've spoken to think I had two natural births, because both were vaginal.

Some think I had only one natural birth, because my first I had pethidine and forceps in a hospital.

Some think neither of my births were "natural" because I had some gas and air second time, and the third stage was managed and then I had to transfer to get the placenta out.

It's got to a point where, if anyone says "I had a natural birth", I don't actually have the foggiest clue what they mean! I've even started to suspect that "natural childbirth" just doesn't exist. There will ALWAYS be SOME form of intervention, even if minimal (in the form of a waterbirth for example, or dad cutting the cord.... ) because it's in our nature as humans to Fiddle. We can't help ourselves.

What is so great about "natural" anyhow? I don't eat my meat raw and live in a tree. My cat is spayed. I have a television. My baby wears nappies. My son eats food from a supermarket. None of these things are "natural". Why is "natural" the holy grail of chidbirth in some circles?? And... what does is even mean?!!!

Did you have a natural birth (by your own definition)?

What does the word "natural" (as in childbirth) mean to you?

//end random musings. over and out!

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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:52 AM   2
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i suppose to me natural birth means labour starts on its own and u have a vaginal birth. and also being able to listen to ur own body and being able to be free and move around

with my son early labour started but i had to be induced, i was strapped to a bed so couldnt move and my body wasnt able to do what it naturaly wanted to do.

so this time im planning a home water birth, i want to be free to move around and do what u feel i naturaly need to. i will have gas and air on stand by but im hoping to just use the water and breathing to help with the pain.
to me this birth would be natural, because for me its what i think my body wants and needs

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Old May 20th, 2011, 06:11 AM   3
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i would say spontaneous labour and vaginal delivery. but to be honest i get sick of people getting snotty about this. All of us woman have conceived and grown a baby, delivered it into the world and are a mother to that baby. So what if you had to be induced, or you needed some pain relief (cause it bloody hurt! lol) or you had to have forceps because baby was not coming out. Or in my case you had EMCS cause baby was so stuck he wasn't even moving with forceps.

Its wonderful if you can have a lovely calm birthing experience but its not the be all and end all. I think you just need to go with it really. Next time i'd love a "natural" birth- For me that would be a vaginal delivery, with gas&air (cause i know i will need that after last time), in a pool (but not sure if this will happen as a vbac) and in a hospital.

Hope i've not offended anyone but this is what i think.

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Old May 20th, 2011, 06:50 AM   4
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heck, no, not offended at all... I hope I havent caused offence either, just been pondering all the different meanings of the word lately, and discovered it has so many meanings it is practically meaningless!

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Old May 20th, 2011, 13:42 PM   5
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From a medical point of view natural means vaginal, no matter what intervention or pain relief you had.

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Old May 20th, 2011, 13:54 PM   6
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I would say spontaneous onset of labour, vaginal delivery (with no intervention of forceps or ventouse) and no drugs except gas and air.

My first son - managed delivery (epidural, pethidine, forceps)
My second son - completely natural delivery with only 10 minutes second stage (approx five hours first stage

I wouldn't say a manual removal of a placenta takes away from a natural delivery at all (which I had the first time around) as there is absolutely nothing you can to do about it - you cannot 'manage' the situation yourself or 'grin and bear it.' If they don't quickly manage the situation for you, you could haemorrage. So this scenario must be dealt withby professionals.

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Old May 20th, 2011, 14:28 PM   7
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Its a difficult one, and a 'definition' that will vary as much from mother to mother as each labour differs.

For ME I would consider my first labour to be natural from spontaneous onset until the point I had synto pumped into me and from there on in it most defo NOT natural especially the EMCS delivery.

This baby I would say was all natural until 3rd stage, spontaneous onset, no AROM, GnA only and vaginal delivery with no help, although i had to have a managed 3rd stage due to blood loss concerns - I did make them delay clamping and cutting a few minutes though!

This topic came up on offbeatmama before...

How a woman defines her own labour is ultimately up to her, although we did have a giggle here before about a lady saying she had a waterbirth when she did not give birth in water LOL!

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Old May 20th, 2011, 15:13 PM   8
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For me when I say I had a natural birth I mean I went into labour naturally (spontaneaous onset - not induced), I laboured naturally and unmedicated (no pain relief at all) and then I delivered naturally and unmedicated (vaginally and unassisted; no forceps, pain relief, etc.)

Also I don't think it's a case of being snotty. If you endure the pain of labour unmedicated it's obviously a completely different experience to if you have an epidural. I'm very proud that I got through it, it's honestly one of my proudest achievements and I did it becuase I believe that (if there are no complications) it is the best for a baby to not be affected by loads of drugs etc in their system, as studies show epidurals and such affect their breathing, ability to breastfeed etc.

One of my friends recently delivered and requested an epidural early on, then had a c section because it was easier for her and by her own admission she didnt want to deal with the pain. I don't care that she chose to go that way and would never say anything rude about it to her because baby's birth is always an accomplishment, but do I feel like I did a better job so to speak, because I dealt with the (bloody immense) pain for my baby, and it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life - if that makes sense.

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Old May 20th, 2011, 15:33 PM   9
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Wow, thinking about it this is a really hard question to answer. I guess fundamentally, I'd say 'natural' was a vaginal delivery with as little assistance as possible, but actually quantifying that 'little assistance' is almost impossible.

I still class my labour and birth with April as natural, even though she needed a final helping hand from forceps while I had a spinal in case of cs. Others won't agree, and that's fine.

I think to some extent it's about mindset and happiness with the route the labour took, if that makes sense. At the end of the day, having a baby (whether in a birth pool at home with no drugs whatsoever or via an elective c section in theatre) is the most beautiful and natural thing in the world and that's all that matters.

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Old May 20th, 2011, 15:54 PM   10
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I've sometimes wondered this too. I'd consider it spontaneous onset of labour, no augmentation or pain relief, and vaginal delivery without forceps etc.

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