Thursday, 26 June 2014

Childbirth Unmasked

I have just started reading the book Childbirth Unmasked by Margaret Jowitt and it is like I have been wandering around in a dark cave and someone has just put a light on. WOW!

It is so far an amazing book. Published in 1993 it was just 3 years too late for me giving birth but must have been an inspiration for pregnant women at the time. Jowitt sets out to convince women that there is another way to give birth. That obstetric units do not understand normal birth and so do not know how to optimise a womans' experience there.
"Woman has lain down on the bed of childbirth like a lamb to the slaughter, has denied her own instincts..."
"Mothers have sold their birthright for that mess of pottage known as pain relief. It has been used as a carrot to lure them into hospital."

Like me, Jowitt has experienced both painful and pain free labours and was so enthusiastic in wanting to pass her knowledge on to the sisterhood by writing her lovely book. Sadly, very little has changed since its publication 21 years ago. Low risk women still flock to their local hospital demanding pain relief. Women are still fed lies about labour within our society, teaching them to be anxious and afraid when labour day comes.
"...the so-called pain of childbirth was invented by civilisation and reinforced by men."

Jowitt recognises that the majority of women going into labour today would have a pain free first stage of labour given the right environment and advice. She points out that women labouring at home are automatically more relaxed and have lots of furniture to help remain upright on, not to mention a kitchen stocked with goodies. Research has shown that giving birth at home avoids the cascade of intervention that can lead you from a low risk normal to a high risk CS candidate.
"I have been moved to tears at the accounts of the risks and dangers labouring women have been exposed to in the name of medical knowledge while being denied the joy of delivering their children in the safety and comfort of their own home."

The resistance that the medical profession had against home births in the past has eased a little today. The problems now are that first time mums do not want a home birth. When I was a parent craft teacher of mainly first time mums I would give them a list of subjects that they wanted me to cover, they had to put them in order of importance. Home birth was always at the bottom. When I asked why, their main objection was that they were afraid that something would go wrong.
"It makes me intensely sad that most women are denied that experience (home birth)... hoodwinked by the medical profession into doubting that the safest possible place for most children to be born is in their own home."

And that is just the first chapter! Will report back when I have a chance to read more. Painting the stairs cream at the moment and there is no rest for the wicked.

Pain free labour books available from Amazon.

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