What is Your Birth Philosophy?

There are as many approaches to childbirth as there are women in the world. But people often lean towards either the medical model or the midwifery model on this Birth Philosophy Spectrum.

Check out the descriptions below. Where do you fall on the spectrum? What about your partner? Your provider? Your doula?

No matter where you fall, it’s important to notice the space BETWEEN your place on the line and those of your support team. The larger the space between your viewpoints, the more likely it is to have conflict during labor and delivery. If possible, see if you can find a provider with a birth philosophy that is similar to yours!

  • Body: The body works mechanically, like a machine. 
  • Birth: Birth is a necessary evil, but thankfully modern medicine makes it safer.
  • Providers: Providers should intervene to make labor follow statistical norms, facilitate the birth, and rescue the mother when things go wrong.
  • Assessment: Women’s intuitions are erratic & unreliable because there are many subjective emotions involved.
  • Baby: Baby is a patient who needs medical skills to begin life.
  • Body: Women’s bodies automatically give birth, but they can easily dysfunction.
  • Birth: Birth is inherently dangerous. Many things can very easily go wrong.
  • Providers: The power should be with providers, as they monitor the birthing body and can save them when things get off track.
  • Assessment: The most important tools are lab tests, comparison charts, and objective criteria.
  • Baby: Baby’s five senses are not developed and can be mostly disregarded. They will not remember birth, anyways.
  • Body: Birthing bodies must often be helped when things go wrong.
  • Birth: Your birthing body works in a rhythm just like other birthing bodies.
  • Providers: Something terrible would probably happen if a provider were not present at birth.
  • Assessment: Women provide information about what sensations they feel, but providers should interpret them and decide what to do.
  • Baby: Providers often need to rescue Baby from injury or death.
  • Body: Women’s bodies generally know what to do, but sometimes need help.
  • Birth: Variations in the birth process are expected. They require evaluation, discussion, and maybe intervention.
  • Providers: Providers should observe, document, and intervene if safety is threatened.
  • Assessment: Objective criteria and woman’s intuition & feelings are both valid in decision making.
  • Baby: Baby has helpful instincts but usually needs medical attention to thrive.
  • Body: The body represents the whole person— emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical selves.
  • Birth: While it may be similar to other women’s bodies, all women are individuals.
  • Providers: Providers should mostly observe, offering support and suggestions for intervention when needed.
  • Assessment: Emotional states and intuitions are just as important as biomarkers and lab tests.
  • Baby: Baby generally knows what to do and thrives without help beyond mom.
  • Body: The body works to its own individual rhythm, a perfect coordination physical and emotional parts.
  • Birth: Birth is a natural human process that reflects the body’s pattern of health and living.
  • Providers: Providers should mostly ease the process through their compassion and respectful healing skills.
  • Assessment: Self-knowledge and intuitions are more important than biomarkers and lab tests.
  • Baby: Baby is a full human being with all five (six) senses intact.
  • Body: Women’s bodies and the process of birth should be trusted absolutely.
  • Birth: During labor and birth, whatever happens naturally is meant to happen.
  • Providers: Providers should not interfere with the birth process or the beginning of Baby’s life.
  • Assessment: Women in labor always know exactly what is best for them and Baby.
  • Baby: Baby can begin life on their own, without assistance.

Your birth doula should support you in your choices, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, and no matter what their personal birth philosophy is. A doula’s job is to provide continual, individualized, nonjudgmental support!

Didn’t want to choose just one number? Pick which numbers you got for each category, submit the form, and we’ll get back to you with a more detailed score!

References:

  • Davis-Floyd, R. (1994). Birth as an American Rite of Passage. Berkeley: CA. University of of California Press.
  • Gilliland, A. (referenced in 2020). Models of Childbirth
  • Weed, S. (1989). Healing Wise. Ash Tree Publications.

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