The American Way of Birth: Trauma and Brain Damage
"It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine."
--- Dr. Marcia Angell, 2009 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jan/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/
"The case against science is straightforward: Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity [i.e. pervasiveness within the scientific culture] of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct."
--- Richard Horton, editor in chief of Lancet http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2960696-1.pdf
"Cruelty in Maternity Wards: Fifty Years Later
"Fifty years have passed since a scandal broke over inhumane treatment of laboring women in U.S. hospitals, yet first-person and eyewitness reports document that medical care providers continue to subject childbearing women to verbal and physical abuse and even to what would constitute sexual assault in any other context. Women frequently are denied their right to make informed decisions about care and may be punished for attempting to assert their right to refusal. Mistreatment is not uncommon and persists because of factors inherent to hospital social culture. Concerted action on the part of all stakeholders will be required to bring about systemic reform.
Keywords: abuse of childbearing women, dysfunctional hospital social systems, patient safety, post-traumatic stress disorder
"Cruelty in Maternity Wards" was the title of a shocking article published just over 50 years ago in Ladies' Home Journal in which nurses and women told stories of inhumane treatment in labor and delivery wards during childbirth (Schultz, 1958). Stories included women being strapped down for hours in the lithotomy position, a woman having her legs tied together to prevent birth while her obstetrician had dinner, women being struck and threatened with the possibility of giving birth to a dead or brain damaged baby for crying out in pain, and a doctor cutting and suturing episiotomies without anesthetic (he had once nearly lost a patient to an overdose) while having the nurse stifle the woman's cries with a mask.
"The article shook the country and triggered a tsunami of childbirth reform that included the founding of the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics, now known as Lamaze International. Nonetheless, as Susan Hodges (2009) recently noted in her guest editorial published in The Journal of Perinatal Education, despite enormous differences in labor and delivery management, decades later, inhumane treatment remains distressingly common. American childbearing women still suffer mistreatment at the hands of care providers, ranging from failure to provide supportive care to disrespect and insensitivity to denial of women's right to make informed decisions to common use of harmful medical interventions to outright verbal, physical, and even sexual assault. Furthermore, the more extreme examples are not aberrations but merely the far end of the spectrum. Abuse, moreover, results from factors inherent to the system, which increases the difficulties of implementing reforms.
"ABUSE IN CHILDBIRTH: PARALLELS WITH DOMESTIC ABUSE
"According to domesticviolence.org (an online resource devoted to helping individuals recognize, address, and prevent domestic violence), domestic violence and emotional abuse encompass "name-calling or putdowns," "keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends," "actual or threatened physical harm," "intimidation," and "sexual assault" ("Domestic Violence Definition," 2009, para. 2). In all cases, the intent is to gain power over and control the victim. One could add that perpetrators, obstetric staff or otherwise, feel entitled to exert this control on grounds of the victim's inferior position vis-a-vis the perpetrator as the following illustrate: ..." --- J Perinat Educ. 2010 Summer; 19(3): 33-42. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920649
(excerpt from a letter to a legislator)
... I've been horrified to discover a pattern of wholesale
institutionalized medical malpractice and quackery surrounding the
business of birth and child health. I can't account for how this
could have come to pass, but the science is difficult to ignore.
First let me mention the epidemiology: a steadily rising rate of
symptoms of trauma and brain damage, including ADHD, autism, mental
illness and addiction among US-born people, a trend dating back to
the post-WWII period when certain obstetrical practices became
These practices are now thoroughly entrenched and seem to be immune
from appeals to science, human rights or common sense. It appears
that medicine views the bodies of women and children as some kind
of empty wilderness waiting to be conquered and colonized.
I assume you're familiar with some of the huge body of research
relating to the enduring effects of early imprinting and abuse of
children. Everything from post traumatic stress to sadism, suicide
and specific suicide methods have been strongly connected to early
experiences in infancy.
The implication is that this is the most pivotal time to ensure
that the rights and well-being of children are respected and
protected, not just for their sake, but for the sake of the people
who's lives they impact as adults.
Briefly, this crucial imperative is simply a non-factor in american
birthing practices. The huge dinosaur of american obstetrics is
creating generation after generation of unconsciously traumatized
and often subtly brain-damaged people, people whose lives are often
subsequently burdened with criminal behavior, learning difficulties,
ADHD, addiction, depression and other mental illnesses and symptoms
of brain damage. These iatrogenic outcomes are entirely preventable,
in fact in most cases can be avoided at less cost than the procedures
which cause them. The question of whose interests are served by
making birth needlessly difficult I'll leave to your imagination.
The american way of birth (unfortunately spreading world wide) has
now been linked to large increases in rates of mental ailments
including depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and
dependencies by at least 2 large well controlled studies, which
both studiously avoided the most obvious conclusion.
This "paradoxical" anomaly in health statistics may extend to differences
in cellular aging rates in US-born vs foreign-born hispanics:
See "Our small sample size precluded disaggregating
the Mexican population by nativity for statistical analyses, but
we note that Mexicans in the nonpoor group were disproportionately
U.S. born, while those in the poor group were disproportionately
foreign born." at:
While long-debunked but expedient medical claims that infants are
somehow "insensitive to pain" continue to provide endless fodder for
ivory tower medical studies,
post traumatic stress reactions have been noted in american infants
returning to hospitals, again while neglecting the obvious possibility
that they were remembering birth-related trauma.
In fact these researchers actually call for more medical intervention
to treat "mentally ill infants," preparing the ground for the wholesale
"mental health" screening, drugging and further brain-damaging of infants,
a pharmocorporate-funded initiative which is already well underway with
The level of narcissism and denial going on in medicine surely
deserves a DSM category all its own.
Furthermore, most of the medical "heroics" which lead to these
iatrogenic outcomes are a product of legal pressures
and medical culture and incentives rather than responses
to actual medical crises. For instance:
1) "The majority of hospitals and obstetricians in this country (still)
insist on a birthing position that quite literally makes the baby,
following the curve of the birth canal, be born heading upwards.
States Williams: "The most widely used and often the most satisfactory
(position for delivery) is the dorsal lithotomy position on a
delivery table with leg supports" (Cunningham et al. 1989:315). No
reasons why this position is "the most satisfactory" are given, but
a strong clue is provided in an earlier text:
The lithotomy position is the best. Here the patient lies with
her legs in stirrups and her buttocks close to the lower edge
of the table. The patient is in the ideal position for the
attendant to deal with any complications which may arise (Oxorn
and Foote 1975:110)
"This position, in other words, is the easiest for performing obstetric
interventions, including maintaining sterility, monitoring fetal
heart rate, administering anesthetics, and performing and repairing
episiotomies (McKay and Mahan 1984:111).
"Roberto Caldeyro-Barcia, past president of the International
Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, states unequivocally,
"Except for being hanged by the feet, the supine position is the
worst conceivable position for labor and delivery""
This dysfunctional medicalized birthing position is the cause of
most difficulties and medical interventions in birth, interventions
which are often traumatic and dangerous to both the baby and the mother.
2) "Immediate clamping of the umbilical cord at birth has become a
standard procedure during the past two decades. This merits
investigation as the cause of increased incidence of autism. Clamping
of the umbilical cord before the lungs function induces a period
of total asphyxia and produces severe hypovolemia by preventing
placental transfusion - a 30% to 50% loss of blood volume - resulting
in a hypoxic, ischemic neonate at risk for brain damage.
As in circulatory arrest and other factors that disrupt aerobic
metabolism, damage of brainstem nuclei and the cerebellum can result.
Visible damage seen in some cases of autism also involves brainstem
nuclei and the cerebellum. The brainstem auditory pathway is
especially vulnerable to brief total asphyxia. Impairment of the
auditory system can be linked to verbal auditory agnosia, which
underlies the language disorder in some children with autism.
Due to blood loss into the placenta, the immediately clamped neonate
is very prone to develop infant anemia that has been widely correlated
with mental deficiency and learning / behavior disorders that become
evident in grade school.
We propose that increased incidence of autism, infant anemia,
childhood mental disorders and hypoxic ischemic brain damage, all
originate at birth from one cause - immediate umbilical cord clamping.
This deserves to be investigated as extensively as genetics or
exposure to toxic substances as an etiological factor for autism.
Normal cord closure, with placental oxygenation and transfusion,
prevents asphyxia and ischemia. Allowing physiological cord closure
at every delivery could at least reduce the incidence of birth brain
... "Immediate clamping of the umbilical cord before the child has
breathed (ICC) has been condemned in obstetrical literature for
over 200 years.   In the 1970s, primate research [A]
using ICC to produce neonatal asphyxia resulted in brain lesions
similar to those of human neonatal asphyxia."
Anemia resulting from premature clamping may lead to long-term
cognitive deficiencies, even where iron supplements are given:
SIDS has been correlated with abnormalities in neurochemical
metabolism in the brainstem, which is the area most affected by
The finding that boys are more vulnerable to the effects of ICC
than girls correlates with higher rates of both SIDS and autism
The trauma of being asphyxiated at birth after losing half your
blood to the placenta can only be imagined.
"In 1975, the College Entrance Examination Board commissioned an
advisory panel to examine the possible reasons for an alarming
continuing decline in the scores of high school students on the
Scholastic Aptitude Tests or, "SAT's," a decline which had started
with the 18-year-olds born in 1945 and thereafter. From 1963 to
1977, the score average on the verbal part of the SAT's fell 49
points. The mathematical scores declined 31 points. (1) (...)
"The SAT is designed to be an unchanging measurement. Considerable
effort has been made to keep the test a sufficiently constant measure
so that any particular score received on a current test indicates
the same level of ability to do college work that the same score
did 36 or 20 or 5 or 2 years ago. The SAT measures individual
students' capacities not only in comparison with their peers in the
particular group but also in comparison with those who took the
test in earlier years .... The SAT score decline does not result
from changes in the test or in the methods of scoring it." (2) (...)
"What happened around 1945 that might have contributed to declining
academic performance in the United States in the years that followed?
Consider this brief history: According to figures from the National
Center for Health Statistics, hospitals were the setting for only
36.9% of American births in 1936. By 1945 that figure had more than
doubled to 78.8%. In 1950, 88% of Americans were born in hospitals.
In 1960 the figure was 96.6% and in 1970, 99.4%. (...)
"A reading of the obstetric literature indicates that there had
always been philosophic differences among doctors regarding normal
childbirth. There were those who felt it was best to allow nature
to take its course and there were those who felt that intervention
was better. In the years following the 40s and under the stresses
of the population explosion, there was a tremendous acceleration
of intervention in obstetric care. Instead of adapting to the
time-consuming demands of normal childbirth, the obstetric community
(with very few exceptions) changed normal childbirth to conform to
the comfort of the mothers and the convenience of the doctors,
hospital staffs and hospital routines -- all at the expense of the
fetus and newborn."
3) "ABSTRACT: Twenty years of clinical and behavioral observation
indicate that cesarean births cause considerable trauma to babies.
The physical and psychological effects are subtle and powerful,
occurring at the unconscious level of the infant psyche. Negative
impacts include excessive crying, feeding difficulties, sleeping
difficulties, colic, and tactile defensiveness. There also may be
long-term psychological effects such as rescue complexes, inferiority
complexes, poor self-esteem, and other dysfunctional behaviors and
"Prima Non Nocere: Iatrogenic Cesareans
"When used inappropriately, medical interventions interfere with the
normal process of birth and increase the risk of complications and
cesarean deliveries.28, 29 A US national survey of birth practices
revealed that 93 percent of women had electronic fetal monitoring,
86 percent had intravenous fluids administered through a blood
vessel in their arm (an IV), 55 percent had their amniotic sac
membranes artificially ruptured, 53 percent had oxytocin to strengthen
contractions, and 63 percent had epidurals for pain relief. More
than a third of labors were artificially induced. Almost three
quarters of the women were restricted to bed, and three out of four
were on their backs while pushing their babies out.30
"(...) Our physicians actively resist the implementation of
evidence-based practice and dont believe a cesarean rate in the low
twenties is a problem.31
"Personal accounts from women who have had a cesarean, as well as
emerging research, suggest that despite a healthy baby and a timely
physical recovery, some women experience cesarean birth as a
traumatic event. An unanticipated cesarean is more likely to
increase the risk for postpartum depression and post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD). As in other traumatic human experiences,
the symptoms of birth-related PTSD may emerge weeks, months, or years
after the event.9,11 Women re-experience the birth and the emotions
associated with it in dreams or thought intrusions. They avoid
places or people that remind them of the event. Some mothers have
difficulty relating to their infants, and some will avoid sexual
contact that may result in pregnancy. They will also exhibit
symptoms of hyperarousal, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating,
irritability, and an excessive startle response. Untreated
post-traumatic stress often leads to clinical depression.12"
The Emotional Scars of Cesarean Birth
4) "The practice of routinely cutting the perineum during hospital
deliveries in the United States, episiotomy, has been shown to be
the principal risk factor for severe tearing during delivery, which
is the injury that it is supposed to prevent. Nonetheless American
obstetricians continue to overuse this procedure ten times more
often than is called for. Episiotomy is also a major risk factor
for infection, loss of sexual pleasure, and incontinence. Women who
have been subjected to episiotomies take longer to heal from delivery,
even compared to women who have equivalent tears."
Episiotomy: Ritual Genital Mutilation in Western Obstetrics
5) Male circumcision has been linked to severe child psychological
adult male violence, addiction and violence against women,
and brain damage.
Other research implies that the neurological impact
of circumcision is likely to lead to adult violence,
sadomasochism and addiction.
Contrary to popular belief, most american physicians who practice
circumcision still don't administer anesthetic of any kind, except
for whatever residual obstetrical sedatives which might still be
circulating in the baby's blood.
The circumcision imprint:
Circumcision and the vagus nerve:
Circumcision adversely affects breastfeeding:
Circumcision HR primer:
6) "Pit to Distress" is the apparently common obstetrical practice
of deliberately overdosing a birthing mother with the induction
drug pitocin in order to create a medical emergency "necessitating"
Even in "normal" doses, pitocin very likely subverts the emotional bonding and lactation functions of the real thing, oxytocin:
Check out this horror show. A mailing list for ob-gyn's detailing
how they use cytotec (a drug approved for gastric ulcers, which was
discovered to cause miscarriages) to force delivery on demand.
Massive hemorrhages and uterine ruptures have resulted. These
people have lost their minds.
Again, zero consideration is paid to the baby's subjective experience
of essentially suffering a miscarriage. Normal labor is initiated
by the fetus, not the mother. Most likely even a "routine" induction would
be imprinted by the baby as total maternal rejection.
7) An internal fetal heart monitor consists of a sensor with a
stainless steel corkscrew which is inserted into the vagina and
screwed into the baby's head or other body part prior to delivery.
8) "Myth: Epidurals are safe for mother and baby.
"Fact: An epidural increases the odds of cesarean for lack of progress
somewhere between 2- and 8-fold, especially in first-time moms and
causes fetal distress in about 10% of babies."
"Administration of multiple doses of opiates, barbiturates and
nitrous oxide to mothers during delivery were found to increase the
occurrence of subsequent opiate (RR 4.7, 95% CI 1.8-12.0, p = 0.002)
or amphetamine (RR 5.6, 95% CI 1.6-16.9, p = 0.005) addiction in
the offspring as compared to when no drug was given [22, 23]."
Epidural During Birth May Negatively Affect Breast-Feeding
Epidural is usually given in combination with pitocin, a combination
which may deprive the baby of oxygen by lowering maternal blood pressure
while increasing intra-uterine pressure, inhibiting oxygen diffusion
across the placental membrane. Early exposure to high doses of pitocin
may also downregulate oxytocin receptors which are believed to play a role in
autism. Pitocin use is associated with autism.
Many obstetrical drugs are being used "off label" and have never been
evaluated for their impact on the fetus:
9) The medical community's "guidance" on breastfeeding is a scandal
in itself. Even without the now abundant evidence of the immunological,
nutritional, intellectual and psychological benefits of breastfeeding
for the baby, and its psychological, hormonal and physiological
benefits for post-partum mothers, common sense and human empathy
would strongly argue against intervening in this intimate time of
mother-child bonding. Yet generations of american children have
been denied this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for normal health,
growth and emotional well being on the basis of little more than
uninformed medical hubris working in concert with a well-financed
corporate marketing campaign. The social costs of this medically
inspired mass emotional neglect are predictable.
Hospitals receive kickbacks from formula companies for handing out
formula to new mothers, interfering with the crucial first few days
when breastfeeding must be initiated:
Meanwhile, the US WIC program for low income families distributes vouchers
for infant formula, promoting poor health and lower IQ among poor children:
Breast milk contains oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding:
Bottle feeding linked to post partum depression
Lack of breast feeding linked to autism
Baby formula is contaminated with aluminum:
Fluoride from drinking water (and "fortified formula water") combines with aluminum.
The fluoroaluminum complex is transported into the brain:
10) Loss of ecstatic birth experience (epidurals)
adversely affects mother/child bonding & child empowerment
The hormone of love:
11) Early tactile and vestibular (balance) sensory deprivation
imprinting ("swaddling", hospital "isolettes", baby strollers etc)
imprints depression and sociopathy.
Birth trauma combined with early maternal rejection (e.g. induction, immediate
mother deprivation in a hospital "isolette", lack of carrying and
breastfeeding etc, which are likely perceived as rejection by mammalian
infants) predispose to violent crime.
"Three new studies led by Notre Dame Psychology Professor Darcia
Narvaez show a relationship between child rearing practices common
in foraging hunter-gatherer societies (how we humans have spent
about 99 percent of our history) and better mental health, greater
empathy and conscience development, and higher intelligence in
children. "Our research shows that the roots of moral functioning
form early in life, in infancy, and depend on the affective quality
of family and community support," says Narvaez, who specializes in
the moral and character development of children. ...
"Narvaez identifies six characteristics of child rearing that were
common to our distant ancestors:
Lots of positive touch - as in no spanking - but nearly constant
carrying, cuddling and holding
Prompt response to baby's fusses and cries. You can't "spoil" a baby.
This means meeting a child's needs before they get upset
and the brain is flooded with toxic chemicals. "Warm, responsive
caregiving like this keeps the infant's brain calm in the years
it is forming its personality and response to the world," Narvaez says
Breastfeeding, ideally 2 to 5 years. A child's immune system
isn't fully formed until age 6 and breast milk provides its
Multiple adult caregivers - people beyond mom and dad who also
love the child
Free play with multi-age playmates. Studies show that kids who
don't play enough are more likely to have ADHD and other mental
Natural childbirth, which provides mothers with the hormone
boosts that give the energy to care for a newborn.
A normal birth, something 95%+ of healthy women can have, something
babies and mothers deserve:
Regressive-type autistic children have an antioxidant deficiency
which hinders their ability to eliminate toxic metals (such as
mercury or aluminum in vaccines) from their bodies. Yet children are
still not being screened for this condition before vaccination.
Contrary to popular belief, the FDA is still (as of Apr 2015) approving
mercury in multidose vaccine vials, including the flu vaccine.
Since flu vaccine is given annually, american children are likely getting
more exposure to mercury than ever before.
Baby monkeys subjected to the equivalent of the standard US pediatric
vaccination schedule developed autism.
There are at least 100 research papers connecting vaccination with autism:
The glaring dearth of epidemiological studies comparing vaccinated vs unvaccinated
populations may become insurmountable in the US given the aggressive push toward
forcible universal vaccination. Yet such studies do exist:
The obvious conflicts of interest in mainstream medicine and the CDC regarding
vaccination are especially toxic here.
13) While fetal ultrasound is used with reckless abandon in US clinics, there is abundant evidence of its damaging effects on the fetus.
Fifty Chinese Human Ultrasound Exposure Studies
Prenatal ultrasound alters learning and memory in young rats
Prenatal ultrasound alters normal mouse brain development
Prenatal ultrasound alters sociability in mice
Prenatal ultrasound negatively affects mouse cognition
14) Twilight sleep: It's a remarkable fact that perhaps a majority of
americans born in the last century were imprinted with a combination of
morphine and scopolamine (belladonna, an hallucinogen which produces
delirium) in order to induce amnesia in the mother, so she wouldn't
remember the severe trauma of an american birth. Of course she was
totally emotionally removed from the arrival of her baby as a result.
Researching the long term psychological impact of this concoction
on the baby would be an interesting project, especially in light
of the imprinting research linked above.
"Flat earth obstetrics is a 21st century version of a medical Dark
Ages, in which contemporary medicine has forgotten or ignored the
traditional knowledge base and physiological principles necessary
for normal labor and safe, spontaneous birth. Flat Earth Obstetrics
is the belief that medical and surgical interventions are necessary
in every normal childbirth, despite evidence that such a policy is
harmful. The term is derived from the insistence by religious and
political leaders during the Dark Ages that the earth was flat
despite evidence to the contrary.
"The problem with the current form of obstetrical care in the United
States is the uncritical acceptance of an unscientific method --
the routine use of interventionist obstetrics for healthy women
with normal pregnancies.
"Medicalizing normal childbearing in healthy women makes childbirth
unnecessarily and artificially dangerous."
"Obstetrics has been rated as the least scientifically-based specialty
in medicine" [Dr. Ian Chalmers 1987].
OB's are routinely pulling babies out with forceps and suction
machines, twisting their necks and spines to compensate for the
dysfunctional birth position. Babies often come out with huge
bruises, dents and bulges on their heads where various devices were
attached. Presumably the brain and spinal cord are easily injured
by such procedures. The bleeding resulting from forcible extraction
and from circumcision is combatted with vitamin K injections which
often cause jaundice which in turn is combatted with premature cord
clamping. Premature clamping is also used to combat the effects
of induction when clamping is done before placental delivery, to
keep too much blood from being pushed into the baby from uncontrolled
uterine contractions, which could also cause internal bleeding.
All of this abuse can be avoided in the vast majority of cases by
leaving birth alone to proceed at its own pace, including delaying
clamping until natural placental delivery occurs so the blood can
equilibrate between the child and the placenta. Hospital wards are
full of pressures, schedules and stress. Birthing mothers need to
be able to relax, they need to be left alone in safe places to give
birth like any other mammal. At a time when mothers and babies
should be bonding in hormonal bliss, mothers' hormones are disrupted
from stress, sedation and induction while traumatized babies are
often essentially straightjacketed and isolated in a sensory deprivation
environment at a time when their brains are exploding with neural
connections. This constitutes psychological torture.
Such early isolation has been known to adversely
affect the long term mother-infant relationship in lab animals
for decades, and was recently confirmed in humans as well.
Is it really necessary to mathematically derive that what mothers and
babies both want should be prioritized over the vagaries of medical
The real kicker in all this is how easy it would be to avoid:
The Truth About Birth
Leaving Well Alone: A Natural Approach to the Third Stage of Labour
"I always thought there was no other way for me to give birth- that
I was a birthing failure; incapable of birthing without an induction
jumpstart or a surgical incision. For five childbirths I always
"needed" my doctors to create my birth experiences for me, and to
save me from my own birthing inefficiency and hopelessness. (I was
actually addicted to their "helping" me, and was always effusive
in my gratitude for their efforts.) But then with my sixth, I just
couldn't do it again- I couldn't go back to another hospital to
give birth... I was just too hurt and broken inside.
"I found a lay midwife, and had the beautiful, easy birth that I am
intended to have. I finally gave birth as a full, luscious woman-
all my own hormones, in my own safe place- with no fingers in me,
or straps on my belly. (Or knives in my belly.) I simply pushed my
baby out and went to bed." ...
A letter from Leilah McCracken
Early organized medicine saw midwifery was successfully competing
with them in terms of safety and affordability while undermining their
claims to scientific authority, so they mounted a campaign to
force them out of the birthing business in the early 20th century
The next thing our altruistic medical profession did, after eliminating
one of the few professional opportunities available to women at the
time, was to discard their accumulated wisdom and pathologize and
try to control the whole process, rather than let nature take its
course. The results have been disasterous.
The widespread belief that birth is a medical emergency largely
stems from horrific infection rates at early western obstetrical
wards. It was discovered these infections were being caused by
doctors who weren't washing their hands before intervening (or
interfering!) in deliveries. Midwife-led wards had no such problem.
The problem of needless iatrogenic infection continues today.
It seems medicine's appreciation for its own level of ignorance and
incentives to interfere is inspired by the chemical industry's
approach to the safety of its own products: innocent until
proven guilty. But while the economically conflicted medical
research establishment is busy catching up with monkeys and dogs
in its understanding of birth and child care, children are being
hurt, with often life-long consequences.
I urge you to investigate this issue. Once you crack open this
pandora's box, I guarantee your life will never be the same. But
you will have many allies, and as public awareness is raised, this
country will experience a time of self-reflection that will profoundly
change it for the better.
Birth as we know it
Orgasmic birth is nature's way of creating an immediate,
over-the-top, animalistic bond of a new mother to her baby
The business of being born
The other side of the glass
(a birth film for fathers)
"The intensity of the demands of the occasional woman who is fanatic in her zeal for 'natural childbirth' and her uncompromising attitude on the subject are danger signals, frequently indicating severe psychopathology .... A patient of this sort is not a candidate for natural childbirth, and requires close and constant psychiatric support."
-- Medical, Surgical and Gynecological Complications of Pregnancy; Staff of Mount Sinai Hospital; Williams and Wilkins, publishers; 1960