Natural Birth Movement | Childbirth without Routine Medical Interventions

Published: Jun 18, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Woman giving birth in water

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Natural Childbirth is childbirth without routine medical interventions, a phenomenon that became prominent in the 1930s (in the West) being a reaction against the mechanical-technological approach and hyper-medicalization of childbirth.

The premise of Natural Childbirth is that pregnancy and giving birth is a natural process, not an illness, and hence the primary goal is that of minimizing medical intervention, notably that of anesthetics and surgical interventions, allowing women to tap into their powerful, innate birthing instincts.

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In addition, it’s thought that Natural Childbirth empowers women tremendously by giving them confidence in their body’s abilities and in their inherent wisdom and strength, and that it promotes their agency, self-esteem, and autonomy with respect to birthing choices and the actual birthing process.

Natural Childbirth has also other benefits, such as reduced risk of complications, faster postpartum recovery, enhanced bonding between mother and infant, lower respiratory problems in newborns, a natural stimulation of the baby’s immune system, and improvement of breastfeeding success rates.

In fact, research provides evidence that not interfering in the normal, physiologic process of childbirth is the preferable practice for the best health outcomes, unless there are clear, undeniable medical indications that would need medical intervention, a recommendation likewise made by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Throughout its development, the Natural Birth Movement increasingly emphasized education and awareness with regard to birth options, giving women the freedom to make informed decisions about their own bodies and experiences.

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Instead of medical interventions, a range of non-invasive methods may be utilized to manage the mother’s pain and stress levels. Some of these methods and techniques include hydrotherapy, massage, hypnosis, breathing exercises, acupressure, specific birthing positions, hot and cold therapies, vocalizations, visualizations, mindfulness, and water birth.

In addition, the pregnant or laboring women can get help of a professional companion such as a Midwife or Doula during the delivery process or during the entire cycle of pregnancy, labor/delivery, and postpartum period providing them with informational, educational, practical, logistical, physical, emotional, and advocacy support.

Mind also that the Natural Childbirth location itself is thought to be independent of the way childbirth is perceived, that is, the actual period of labor and delivery may take place in a hospital, birthing facility, or at home (attended or unattended).

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