5 myths about childbirth

Let’s get right into this one!

There are so many more than just 5 myths but these are some big ones that I have been hearing about really often recently in my work with the Positive Birth Movement Helsinki especially.

Myth #1 - Birth is rushed

When you think of birth scenes that you have seen on Hollywood movies, you might have a picture of a woman whose waters have just broken and she is freaking out and rushing to the hospital. Once she arrives to the hospital she is rushed in on a wheelchair, quick, quick, quick!

This is the way Hollywood likes to present birth because you know what, if it was presented in the way a physiologic birth actually looks like it would be really long and really boring (for the big screens at least)!

Birth is actually much slower than that! It takes time for the uterus to soften, flatten, and open. It takes time for the baby to descend deep into the pelvis. And in the situation when something in the birth changes its course, there will still be time to assess the options. The movie “These are my Hours” is a beautiful capture of a woman birthing physiologically at home without interruption. It is 45mins long and gives an incredibly realistic view of birth.

Myth #2 - Birth is dangerous

Birth is not an inherently dangerous event. Most healthy pregnancies unfold into uncomplicated births when they are left alone with as little interference as possible.

The fear around birth and the perception that birth is dangerous comes partially from the lack of positive birth stories in mainstream society. Those who have had positive birth stories may sometimes feel uncomfortable to share it to not make those with a harder story feel uncomfortable. But all stories are valuable and have a place and are worth telling!

This myth gets further perpetuated when the very thing that often causes birth complications is the unfit birthing environment that causes birthing people to feel stressed. It’s the very people who are meant to be supporting birth, whom are hindering the physiologic process of it by observing, checking, speaking loudly, monitoring, not trusting the woman and her body, and not trusting the baby.

When birth is left alone, is trusted, and is supported with gentle love and warmth, it is not inherently dangerous!

Myth #3 - You cannot birth or catch the baby yourself

You absolutely can! In fact, you can do exactly what it is you feel like you want to do in your own birth! It is your body, your baby, and your choices.

If you birth in a squatting position, you will be able to reach down and catch your baby yourself as it emerges. Some even birth standing up and catch their babies like that. Another way is by bending one leg 90 degrees to the ground and one knee on the floor, so that your baby can easily emerge onto the floor below you, which allows you time to look at it before picking it up to your chest. A small pause to digest the birth experience before opening your heart and arms to your newborn baby.

You do not need a doctor or midwife to assist you in catching your baby if you feel that you want to do it yourself!

Myth #4 - Women must give birth lying down on their back

This birthing position get's way too much publicity than it deserves. It's one of the most uncomfortable positions to birth in that works against gravity and physiology.

It also compromises the birthing space within the pelvis and can make it harder and slower for the baby to emerge.

It does make it much easier for the medical staff to check and examine the birthing person but as you’ve probably realized already, to have a physiologic birth that respects the woman’s body and the baby, she needs to be in a position that makes her feel good, not the doctor or midwife!

In fact, in many physiologic births which allow women to just assume any position their body wants , women very rarely freely choose to lay on their back. Many women squat, go on all fours, or lean over onto the bed.  

Myth #5 - Sex and intimacy are unrelated to childbirth

Well, this simply isn't true because of the simple fact that you most likely had sex in order to get pregnant. It’s the same body parts that are involved in the conception and in the birth of the baby. Also, women will often make sounds in childbirth that resemble the sounds of love making. But more than that, it is the very same hormone that is produced in sex and intimacy that is responsible for the contractions of labor. This hormone has been called the love hormone and that’s oxytocin.

It is the same cozy, warm, dimly lit, loving, safe, unobserved environment of sex that invites the love hormone which starts and keeps birth progressing!

There are even some women who are able to relax their bodies so deeply and connect to their yoni and body so closely that they experience orgasms during their birth. From the mainstream image that we have of childbirth, it may be almost impossible to imagine how anyone could orgasm when they are rushed, checked, monitored, spoken to, asked questions, told how to push, and all of that!
But it is exactly those warm, cozy, safe birth environments that allow for the free flow of oxytocin, where women can have such a sexual experience during birth.
Watch this ABC news article to hear more.

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