I would like to help all pregnant women have better births. I know it is possible to give birth naturally without experiencing overwhelming pain. I'd like to share the knowledge I have gained after 18 years of studying childbirth and bearing 7 children with those women that I come in contact with IRL (in real life,) but I have found that most of the women I meet don't care to accept my offers. Instead they are content with planning a medicated birth or without preparing for childbirth at all.
Apparently, this is a new trend. A recent study published in the Journal of Obstetrics showed that increasingly women are foregoing childbirth classes and allowing their practitioner to make their decisions for them. Unsurprisingly, women who use a midwife are more apt to be informed about their options and the pro's and con's of birth practices.
Equally as unsettling as expectant women not studying childbirth for themselves, is that young obstetricians are more apt to prefer epidurals and c-sections than older doctors. If women don't study for themselves and they let the doctor have the reins they are setting themselves up for difficult experiences.
I have seen first hand the apathy that many women have toward childbirth study and planning on an epidural without knowing the risks.
For example, I asked a young woman who frequents the store I work at if she was planning a natural birth. She informed me that she was definitely planning on getting an epidural. I told her I was a mother of 7 and had given birth naturally and that I could teach her methods for dealing with the pain naturally. She declined.
The same story played out with another young woman. This woman was two weeks from her due date and I asked about her childbirth studies. She said she hadn't taken any childbirth class nor read anything about birth.
I pointed out that people have to study to drive a car, be shown how to use a microwave, and learn from a coach how to play baseball and childbirth isn't any different. She didn't budge: She was satisfied with her boyfriend's sister telling her what to expect.
A couple of months after my conversation with the first young woman I mentioned above, her boyfriend informed me that they had had their baby. I was very happy for them and after congratulating him I asked if she'd gotten through the birth without a c-section. He informed me that yes, she had. He then said, "The only thing is that she wasn't able to get the epidural when she wanted it, cause they made her wait, so she felt it all the whole time until the very end."
This is a perfect example of why women who are planning on getting an epidural should also study natural childbirth techniques. There are many reasons, besides waiting for either a woman to dilate to a certain point, or waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive, that an epidural may not take the pain away.
Here are some helpful links that provide information on why expectant women should study natural childbirth even if they plan on an epidural.
5 Reasons to Learn Natural Childbirth Techniques by Jennifer Vanderlaan (Birthing Naturally.)
Discover Natural Alternatives To Epidurals a blogtalkradio interview conducted by Pastor Carla with a midwife.
Natural Birth vs. Medicated Birth by Brenda Lane mother and doula.