Today we have forgotten what normal birth can be like -- when sensory stimulation is reduced, and there is no one around but a low-profile Midwife or Obstetrician. We have so many ways of observing birth -- video cameras, tape recorders, and electronic fetal monitoring. A birthing woman knows she is being watched, and her bodily functions are constantly monitored. Could this be the cause of our increase in labors that "fail to progress" and our operative births?
To say that the basic need in giving birth is to feel secure and well protected is quite clear. But for the birthing woman, it isn't always so black and white. What makes one woman feel secure may be very different from what another needs to feel protected. Some women feel secure in an operating room with equipment surrounding them while others are only secure in the comfort of their own bedroom.
A birthing woman does not need guidance or help or support. Most of all, she needs to feel secure and protected. This is universal.
NOTE: This article is written from notes taken at an inspiring talk given by Dr. Michel Odent , speaking at the Midwifery Today Conference, Sept. 1997. Dr. Odent is a French Physician and an internationally known pioneer in the field of birth. His books, lectures, and work have influenced birthing women and their health care providers around the world.