The power of giving birth: An interview with Nancy Wainer Cohen

  • Birth is sacred. It is a significant life event whose effects are long lasting. It must be an experience that honors and respects women, their babies and the families into which the babies are born.
  • Love helps babies to be born. The emotional, physical, psychological and sexual environment affects a woman's ability to open up and give birth.
  • What problems do women commonly encounter as they labor and give birth today?

    As my dear midwife friend Valerie El Halta says, "If you buy the hospital ticket, you are going to go on the hospital ride." If you birth in a place that has a 25 percent section rate, you have a 25 percent chance of ending up with a section. And many hospitals have a 95 percent episiotomy rate!

    Giving birth is often about protocol, tests, and rules. These routines, common in hospitals and even many birthing centers, are not about individualized care.

    Birth is not a medical circumstance. We get in trouble because we just don't understand this concept. We are mammals. Mammals birth their babies! Women are strong capable human beings who are fully able to deliver their babies.

    What is your feeling about labor medications, such as the epidural?

    As a strong homebirth advocate, this subject makes me sad. It's amazing to me that women prefer to be numb and unconscious during an experience that could be one of the most transformative experiences of their lives. Babies are not supposed to arrive here drugged.

    Giving birth connects us to all of the women who have come before us. You are from a long line of women who have given birth -- women whose bodies knew just how to birth their babies.

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