Birth in film has a lot to answer for. Women flat on their back,usually in stirups, they’ve usually been rushed to the hospital after their waters break in some unusual location, and it’s all a big hullabalu. I’m calling bullshit on the myths of birth.
Myth 1 – Labour begins when your waters break.
Not always the case, and your waters don’t need to break in order for your labour to progress either. Many women have their labours artificially broken as a routine part of induction, however it isn’t always necessary. In the book A Labour of Love, the author describes the birth of one of her children and at that particular birth her waters did not break until just before the baby was born. In antenatal classes while pregnant with my first, the midwife described a birth to us where the baby was born in it’s sac of fluid, perfect and healthy. Your care provider may tell you that you cannot labour in water after your waters have broken because of infection, however this isn’t true, water is a great form of pain relief in labour and your risk of infection is incredibly minimal.
Myth 2 – You need to give birth on your back
I hate how a woman is always shown on her back when giving birth. For many women this position is incredibly unnatural and almost impossible to effectively push in. Birthing is more effective in other positions such as all fours, squatting, leaning forward, or semi-reclined. The book Birth Skills by Juju Sundin has plenty of great advice on position for birth.
Myth 3 – All women scream in labour, especially when pushing
Wrong! Now I’m not saying all women are silent in labour either. What I am saying is you have no idea what sounds you may make until you begin your labour. I made some noise while labouring with my daughter but I certainly didn’t scream. And when pushing I focussed all my energy into the act of pushing, and made no outward noise. Screaming while pushing uses energy, and I didn’t want to waste my precious energy reserves. Deep, low, groaning sounds are more helpful. But even if you do scream, who cares, your midwife will have heard it all before.
Myth 4 – Birth will ruin your sex life
This isn’t so much from the movies, but something I read quite often from women writing about birth. This morning I read a blog post that said whether you birth in hospital or at home the outcome is the same, and then basically likened birth to a car accident. It’s not true. Not all vaginas come out mangled messes after birth. I had one vaginal birth and one caesar, and the vaginal birth certainly did less physical damage to me. I had some slight tearing which required either 2 or 3 stitches, that is all. My surgical birth has ruined my abdominal muscles and left me numb from my belly button to my pubic bone. Gee, wonder which one did less damage? Many women actually think sex is better after vaginal birth. And the big kicker is, HOW DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE MORE KIDS IF THEIR SEX LIFE IS RUINED? They don’t just drop out of the trees!
Myth 5 – You’ll need all the drugs
Not true. Many women every day have drug free births, many of them at home. In Juju Sundin’s book Birth Skills she describes many alternatives to medical pain relief. Read more about natural birth here at Joyous Birth. Before women began going to hospital to give birth, women gave birth at home without epidurals, without gas, without inductions, without synthetic hormones. Before doctors began routinely washing their hands more women died in hospital births then at home! Many medical interventions can lead to maternal and fetal health problems and complications. Remember thousands of babies died in hospital between 06-07 and only 3 died at home.
Myth 6 – Birth just happens, it’s nothing special
Birth is the beginning of everything! Every bio you ever read begins he/she was born…. It’s the first chapter in the story of your life! Birth can be so inspiring. For some couples who have struggled with fertility it is the end of a long journey to become a family, to other women it is the beginning of their journey into motherhood. Birth moves us, it inspires. Every birth is important. Every birth has a story. Here is an inspiring birth story about twins born 33 hours apart!
Birth doesn’t have to be like in the movies, bright lights, up in stirups, baby coming out the size of a 3 month old… except for that one woman in Texas earlier last week, probably best she did have a csection. Birth can be gentle, peaceful, beautiful, natural, and normal. We are mammals after all, and this is what our bodies were designed to do.