Childbirth Choices Guide: Michel Odent's Woman-Centered Approach

"Our highest goal is to help build self-confidence so each woman can feel positive about her birth regardless of the outcome."
-- Birth Works Website


Dr. Michel Odent argues that there is no method; instead, birth is a process, and within each woman lies the wisdom necessary to give birth. Birth Works classes incorporate Dr. Odent's teachings, guiding women through an exploration of their own beliefs about giving birth and encouraging them to connect with their intuition. Dr. Odent believes birth is a private experience and that women need to feel unobserved so that they will excrete the proper hormones to help labor. He also believes a woman should be left undisturbed during her first contact with her baby. He too is a strong proponent of water birth.

The Basics
-- The Odent approach, taught through Birth Works, includes 10 two-hour sessions beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy
-- Confidence-building exercises designed to help you believe in your innate ability to give birth
-- Information presented in an emotional context, with the goal of helping you make educated choices
-- Self-exploration about childbirth beliefs
-- Relaxation methods
-- Techniques for communicating with caregivers

What You Might Like
-- Recognition that every birth is different
-- A focus on providing a calm, nonmedical environment
-- Recognition of intuition as an important aspect of wisdom

Drawbacks
-- Some argue that leaving so much up to your "inner wisdom" can result in feeling less prepared during the actual birth
-- Few women see a solitary birth experience as the ideal, and those who do will likely have difficulty meeting that ideal in today's labor and birthing environments

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