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Why is childbirth subject to fashions and trends?

12th September 2008

Writing in The Telegraph, Lesley Thomas makes the point that birth is about baby’s survival, not being trendy.

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It may be ludicrous, but childbirth is now subject to fashions.

The latest is for women to opt for "freebirths", of giving birth at home with no doctors or midwives on hand, no pain-relief or injections.

This trend, according to general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives Dame Karlene Davis, has crossed the Atlantic with a growing number of American mums taking this option.
But why do women try to make motherhood even more arduous than it already is?

Giving birth has become a "sort of competitive sport for modern mothers."

They want to boast about how long their labour was, how few painkillers they took during the birth and even how many pre-natal pilates classes they had.

It seems that women must make giving birth a contest and follow it by bragging over what they did with the placenta afterwards – cooked it or buried it beneath a tree in the garden.

Freebirthing advocates say it is childbirth as nature intended and it is true, nature did not intend women to give birth in operating theatres.

Middle-class mothers over 35 are most likely to opt for freebirthing, yet they are the ones most likely to need intervention during labour.

There is an argument against the "over-medicalisation of childbirth" but at least one of my own children would not have survived a natural birth.

Women should strive to give their child the best possible start in life and keep their competitive instincts for the workplace.

 

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