What’s the point of pregnancy? – Updated

Our first child was born by emergency ceasarean after the placenta gave way at 34 weeks.

We hadn’t got to unusual events at ante-natal classes so I had no idea how dangerous this was for the baby and me and I had only the vaguest idea about ceasars.

That might have been a good thing because almost everything I read about them after the birth was negative. Women who’d had them had wanted to have “natural” deliveries and because they hadn’t been able to they felt cheated, they felt they’d failed, they felt guilty.

That was 24 years ago and I’d hoped that things might have improved in the interim but today I came across the story of a baby who died  after an unassisted home birth and the Did I cheat . .  . post at The Hand Mirror which in turn reminded me of Plan C,  from last year which included this:

I was very very unhappy with the caesarean black-out the midwife seemed intent on, especially as our ante-natal class facilitator had gone on at some length about the evilness of any intervention in the birth process, practically portraying the various drugs as Death Eaters and casting the C-section as Voldemort himself.

How can anyone who regards themselves as a health professional make a woman feel this way?

And why do women put so much pressure on ourselves and each other to have “natural” deliveries?


 Birth is a natural process but so too is death and you only have to wander round old cemetries with so many graves of young women and their babies to realise what happened when it was all left to nature.


The whole point of being pregnant is to have a healthy baby and if delivering one requires assitance from health professionals, midwives and/or doctors, then we should be grateful they’re available.

Rather than seeing this as a failure we should be thankful that we’re not like women in other times who didn’t have access to modern medical practices,  or those in other countries now who still don’t have the luxury of first world health services.

Every woman is different, every pregnancy is different, every delivery is different. But pregnancy and delivery aren’t competitions and they shouldn’t be political campaigns either.


Hat Tip: Clint Heine  

UPDATE: In light of Sandra’s comment – the baby in the link above didn’t die because it was a home birth, it was because the mother refused any assistanace.


UPDATE 2: Azlemed posts on birth . . . why do women feel like failures.



5 Responses to What’s the point of pregnancy? – Updated

  1. Sandra says:

    Yes, the very rare homebirth death is a sad story indeed.

    But thank goodness the huge amount of hospital deaths aren’t publicized and discussed! Maternal and fetal mortality stats show it is much safer to birth at home (or out of hospitals, like in birthing centers), but it seems so “strange” or “weird” or “crunchy” or even “dangerous” to our mainstream Western society (that looks upon every childbirth as a medical emergency), and the bad stories are the majority of the homebirthing stories you read about. I think this is the plan of doctors and the scaremongering media, to ensure moms rush to the hospital at the first sign of labor. If every hospital started publicizing their deaths, more moms might stay safely at home. I’m sad about ALL of the deaths, but homebirthing isn’t the main culprit.

    Most childbirths – the VAST majority – are absolutely “normal” and do not require medical assistance in any way. Childbirth IS a natural event, not a medical event, and those of us who advocate and “preach” low-intervention births are only trying to give a baby a fair shake at coming into the world healthy and undrugged, and enable mom to empower herself with a normal childbirth – which means fast recovery, immediate bonding, ensures better breastfeeding success, etc. etc. etc… No, there are no medals, there are no parties thrown. But the risks of low- or no-intervention labors FAR exceed the risks of anything a doctor insists some moms “need” (induce, break waters, give drugs, stop labor, you name it).

    That’s all. I’m glad your baby is healthy, and I’m very glad you had medical assistance available. For my four, I didn’t need any, just like the majority, and I’m glad for that too.

  2. Lindsay says:

    “But pregnancy and delivery aren’t competitions and they shouldn’t be political campaigns either.”

    I’m with you Home Paddock. And my perception is that the politicisation of birth care, eg GPs, Obstetricians versus Midwives, hasn’t been a good thing.

    “But the risks of low- or no-intervention labors FAR exceed the risks of anything a doctor insists some moms “need” (induce, break waters, give drugs, stop labor, you name it).”

    Is that what you meant to say Sandra? I don’t think so.

    Isn’t it just prudent to be where emergency help can be provided if needed? Especially for first births? In any case people should have the choice. But because of the recent politicisation, choice has reduced.

  3. demelza says:

    birth shouldnt be a politcal football, but it has become one, It should be about the best outcome possible for the mother and baby concerned. My issue is when is intervention necessary… when should c sections be performed etc… in cases like your Homepaddock a c section was a neccessity to save your childs life, some c sections are done though for purely social reasons and these need to be looked at more deeply, I have a friend who hasnt had children yet but doesnt want to give birth, she want a c section, no thought really as to the impacts of her birth choice on the baby or her body,

    Birth does need talked about on all sides of the political spectrum. thanks homepaddock for bringing it up again.

  4. homepaddock says:

    Sandara – I agreee homebirthing isn’t the main culprit but nor is having a baby at a birthing centre.

    My concern isn’t about where people have their babies or how they have them, it’s the politics around that.

    What’s important is the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies and sadly that gets overlooked in the “natural” vs “medical” debate.

    The optimum is for women to have a variety of choices and be able to make informed decisions on what’s best for them and their babies as individuals.

  5. Lucy says:

    I dont think it matters as long as you do the best you can, keep safe and try to be as healthy as possible.

    Do you keep a parent diary.co.uk?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: