World Doula Week is underway right now (March 22-28), and its purpose is to empower doulas worldwide to improve the health (mental, physical, social, and emotional) of women in the birth and postpartum period. The word doula translates from Greek to mean "women's servant." But what does that encompass in today's society? Test your knowledge of what exactly a doula does, as compared to a doctor or a midwife.Take the Quiz
With all of that amniotic fluid in there, it's no wonder some babies can't tell up from down while in the womb. Approximately three percent of all babies are breech at the time of birth, meaning their heads are up and their feet are either up at their heads, down at the cervix, or crossed in a seated position. While some mamas-to-be look at a breech baby as a prescription for a C-section, others try everything in their power to turn that lil one around. External versions and visits to the chiropractor are the most popular ways to try to turn things upside down, but oftentimes midwives have other ideas too. Take this quiz to see if you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to turning breech babies!Take the Quiz
In these modern times, a pregnant woman has many options in where and how to deliver her baby. She can labor at a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. She can give birth in a bed, in a birthing chair, or in a tub of water. She can also choose to have an obstetrician, midwife, or doula (childbirth assistant) there to help deliver the baby.
I just learned that in the U.S. and Britain, many women are now choosing freebirthing or unassisted birthing. These women have their babies at home, with no medical or professional help - no doctors, no midwives, and no painkillers.
Are these women against the idea of modern medicine? Not necessarily, they want their labor to be as relaxed as possible, and they don't want strange doctors poking and prodding them and making them anxious. Plus many of them are scared of hospitals and are worried doctors will have too much control over their experience.
Many of these women feel the act of giving birth is as intimate and personal as the act of conception, so it only feels right that they should be the only ones at the birth of their baby. These women also believe that since women have been giving birth for thousands of years they just simply need to harness their instincts to know what to do and don't need doctors interfering with the natural flow of events. It is fascinating to me that "freebirthers" are not interested in having a midwife at their births, since midwifery is ancient practice, practically as old as human culture, and considered by many to be an essential part of the natural birth experience.
Of course, many officials are outraged by this. They feel like it's unfair to the unborn baby, and they're also worried about the safety of the mother. What if something goes wrong, and there isn't anyone there to help? They feel that freebirthing is reckless, irresponsible, and selfish. Plus, with the advent of modern medicine the mortality rate, of both mother and child, associated with labor has dropped dramatically.
So, I am curious, what do you think about freebirthing?