Natural childbirth is making a comeback of sorts. More and more parents are opting for a relaxed, stress-free, birth environment and are taking steps to achieve it.
While the definition of ‘natural’ can be very broad, it is generally accepted that natural childbirth involves the least amount of intervention possible, a relaxed atmosphere and a great team of experts.
Natural childbirth can be done within a hospital setting but also within a birthing centre or at home.
Recently, many parents have chosen to have a home, midwife delivery instead of an obstetrician lead hospital birth. Midwives are licensed by the province, extremely well-trained and able to deliver babies, whether in a hospital setting or at home.
Also, birth doulas and traditional birth attendants are increasingly becoming part of newparents’ birth teams.
While some might question the safety of having a home birth, studies have shown that, for non-complicated pregnancies, homebirth is just as safe as a hospital birth.
A recent study conducted at UBC concluded: "The available evidence suggests that planned home birth is safe for women who are at low risk of complications and are cared for by appropriately qualified and licensed midwives with access to timely transfer to hospital if required."
Also reported within the study was homebirths required fewer interventions such as fetal monitoring and caesarean, compared with hospital births.
The concept of natural childbirth at home is not a new one. In fact, homebirth was the only option for thousands of years prior to the urbanization of cities. For many in rural areas at the time, hospital births were not even an option.
While birth outcomes have certainly improved since then, informed parents are choosing to return to natural childbirth out of comfort as opposed to necessity.
They recognize that childbirth is a natural process and not necessarily a medical emergency and opt for the least amount of intervention possible.
Whether you choose to have a hospital or home birth, your decision should always be an informed one. Take the time to research alternatives to hospital birth and you might find that a more traditional method, or a combination of the two, might suit your needs better.
Dr. Christian Chatzoglou, D.C. is a chiropractor, writer and natural health expert.