Thursday, April 10, 2014

What is Normal Birth?

"Normal" is a relative term. We all know that normal can mean everything from "average" to "perfect," but what does it mean when it comes to birth? Does it mean natural? Does it mean vaginal? Does it mean you decided to give birth the way the majority of women in your country gave birth? I think it's time to clear up the confusion and ultimately figure out how to make birth better for women across the board.

What is Normal Birth?

We can define Normal Birth as physiological birth, where labor begins and progresses spontaneously, and the mother moves around freely throughout the process, and she intuitively pushes in advantageous positions. There are four factors that define birth as "Normal".

  1. Spontaneous Onset - Labor begins on its own.
  2. Low-Risk - Mom and baby are low-risk at the onset of labor and remain so throughout labor and delivery.
  3. Spontaneous, Vaginal, Vertex - Baby is born spontaneously in the vertex (head down) position between 37-42 weeks gestation.
  4. Healthy Postpartum - Mom and baby are healthy after the delivery.
I like to think of childbirth as the train and Normal Birth as the train tracks. As long as your birth stays on the tracks of Normal Birth, there is no need to intervene by medical means. As the adage says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Medical interventions exist to help birth get back on track when there is a bump in the road or a complication that could pose a risk to the mother or baby.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Interventions in Normal Birth

5 Steps to a Better Birth

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