In my writings, and perhaps those of others, you may have seen the term physiologic birth. In order to understand why I choose to use this term and how to provide support for a physiologic birth, I thought it might be helpful to discuss a few definitions.
Natural Birth: This term has come to mean different things to different people. To some it simply means a vaginal birth. To others it means a birth that was free from all medical intervention. It can even lie in between these two extremes: a birth that did not use pitocin, but used an epidural, for instance.
Normal Birth: Normal means to be average or typical. This term is used to describe lots of varying situations also. To some it means a birth that, again, uses no medical intervention. To others it can mean that you just followed the normal course of labor.
I dislike both these terms because they are vague and tend to evoke some sort of judgment with them. Because of this, I like to use the term physiologic.
Physiologic Birth: This is a birth defined, not by our choices, but by how our body functions. For instance, a physiologic birth is spontaneous. Our body will go into labor on its own due to a complex hormonal mother/baby response. It is just how our bodies were made. When we interfere with it, you are not good or bad, but you are interfering with your normal physiology. Which may have consequences for the rest of your labor. Sometimes, there are medical conditions that change our physiology so that it does not work right. This will also have consequences for the rest of our labor.
The care that women have today can be problematic, in that it does not take into account our basic physiology. There are consequences of intervening when it it not necessary. There is also not enough support given to promote physiologic care.
Want to know how to support physiologic birth during early labor? Learn How.
What can we do to help our bodies function the way they were made to function.
1) As stated above, physiologic birth is spontaneous. Doing anything (natural or unnatural) to start labor when your body is not ready, will disrupt your body’s process of giving birth.
2) Keep a calm, dim, peaceful environment. These things are important to how our own hormones are produced.
3) Do not worry about how much time labor takes. The time constraints imposed on most women during birth are artificial and unsupported by research.
4 )Eat and drink during labor (unless there is a medical reason not to). This helps provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
5) Medical pain control will interfere with your body’s ability to function the way it needs to. That said, I also feel like pain can stop your body from functioning the way it needs to. This is an individual decision you and your care provider must come to, to decide what may be the best way to work with your body.
6) There should be delayed cord clamping and mother and baby should be skin to skin as soon as possible after birth.
7) Fear and anxiety from any source must be dealt with.