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  Home  > Child/Family Wellness  > Myth: Pregnancy and Birthing Are Best Treated as High-Risk Experiences

Myth: Pregnancy and Birthing Are Best Treated as High-Risk Experiences

Fact: While most women in North America continue to regard pregnancy as a semi-invalid state, and birthing a high-risk experience, others are recognizing the whole tendency of pregnancy as being toward health and vitality. So seen, pregnancy and birthing become an opportunity to re-educate our bodies in the movements and postures instinctive to childbearing, and a natural means by which we can regain this lost link with our female heritage.

Remember this: Birth is a process that nature has successfully refined through tens of thousands of years. Knowledge of how to give birth without interventions lies deep within each woman�. All that most women need in order to do this is the belief that birth works, and will work for them. But this is no small thing to hold on to. We are in the midst of an era of high-tech, managed childbirth. Women must reclaim childbirth themselves, for themselves. In the process I believe we will reclaim an important part of womanhood and do a great service to our children. - Suzanne Arms

Birth is woman's gift and woman�s work, a natural part of female sexuality and creativity. Prehistoric figures of the pregnant female body tell us that in ancient times, birthing women were revered for their ability to create life. A primary difference between modern women and our tribal ancestors is that in tribal cultures women do not suffer from fear or distrust of their bodies and the natural process of childbirth. This loss of trust is destroying the ability of women and babies to facilitate their own birth successfully.

Janet Balaskas coined the term "active birth" as a way of describing a normal labor and birth, and the way that a woman behaves when following her own instincts and the physiological logic of her body rather than being a passive recipient of a birth that is managed by attendants. An active birth involves a woman giving birth quite naturally and spontaneously through her own will and determination, having the freedom to use her body as she chooses and to follow its urges. It is more comfortable, efficient, and safer than a passive approach. This is supported by the many scientific studies comparing women who are active in labor with those in a passive, recumbent position.

An active birth is instinctive. It is a means of reclaiming our fundamental power as birth-giver, mother, and woman; and of giving a newborn the best possible start in life and a safe transition from womb to world. If complications arise, modern obstetrical care can be used, while knowing we have done our best, and that this is our choice and the intervention was really necessary.

Childbirth is an experience
In a woman's life
That holds the power
To transform her forever.
- Suzanne Arms


Suzanne Arms, Immaculate Deception II
Janet Balaskas, Active Birth, The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally*
Diana Korte & Roberta Scaer, A Good Birth, A Safe Birth*
Jean Liedloff, The Continuum Concept*
Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child*

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