Thursday, September 24, 2009

Normal Birth

"If midwives are to remain at the forefront of decision-making that supports "normal birth', they need to challenge the culture and constraints of the organisations within which they work and initiate research and reflection on the complexity of 'normal birth".
What is "normal birth" and is that really what we want? That was the topic of my class today with the UCSF CNM students. It is still orientation, so not a lot of homework yet, but we spent three hours analyzing the concept of normal birth. What is normal? Who gets to have a normal birth? If your birth is not normal, what is it-- abnormal? Birth: undisturbed, simple, uncomplicated, natural, physiological, ordinary. Do any of these words truly express what we know to be true? That birth is a complex, powerful process by which a woman transitions from pregnancy to motherhood. That birth has physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual implications. That birth is mysterious and contains elements that are unknowable. We as midwives are obligated to rediscover, redefine, preserve and honor normal birth. Let's continue the dialog.


Cindy said...

Kudos on your training the UCSF CNM's...what a great dialogue you are inspiring in the classroom. Great to hear you are well and passing on your knowledge to the future CNM's. With love always, Cindy, Seth and Seth Jr.
PS-Thanks for using our pic, we had such a beautiful birth!

Thais of Spinach and Honey said...

How awesome that you are teaching a class at UCSF! I wish that I could take that class. I feel a little bit of hope. At my brief visit to UCSF for an attached placenta, I was shocked by the resident who didn't recognize the moans of a woman in labor.

Diana Louise said...


I am deeply moved by the beautiful birth stories shared here. Thank you for creating this space and to all the women who have shared these intimate moments with us!

Our discussion of "what is normal birth?"opened up new ways of thinking and framing what I am now learning as a student midwife. I haven't yet found the answer (and don't expect I will!!!), but it keeps me asking questions.


Diana (First year, UCSF SNM)