Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Midwives delivered both of my babies—at home! My father was an MD, so I was raised around standard medical care, and I have an appreciation for it. But I wanted a different approach during my pregnancies. Birth is not a new experience to the human body. If our ancestors could deliver at home, in a more natural place where the birth process was honored with patience, that was where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital where it might feel that birth was a medical emergency or an illness.
To me, the birth process is very normal and natural. I felt much more comfortable with midwifes, who are highly trained in the process of vaginal births. At the end of the day, my fellow obstetricians are trained surgeons. They are excellent at what they do, but it was important for me to try and have a natural birth if I could. I feel it is healthier for us, and for our children. I wanted to avoid medical intervention unless my midwife thought it was important.
You can have a wonderful birth wherever you go, but while we have made such technological advances in obstetrics care these days, it’s ironic that there’s a high rate of birth dissatisfaction among the majority of my patients who deliver in hospitals. We’ve gotten away from the normal rhythms of the body, and birth is one of them.
A hospital is a place of business. The staff work within a timeframe that might not necessarily suit your own biological clock and birth rhythm. For example, during my second pregnancy, my water started to trickle on a Tuesday night at 11. I called my midwife to say I think my water broke. My midwife asked if I had a fever, which is a sign of infection. Because my temperature was normal, my midwife told me to go to sleep and take long walks the next day. Around 26 hours after that first trickle, I naturally went into labor and gave birth 3 hours later, at home.
If I had been with a doctor instead of a midwife, I probably would have ended up on pitocin at the very least. The second your water breaks, they start looking at the clock and thinking about inducing labor, and if labor doesn’t progress this could lead to a C-section.
I feel very blessed that I was able to have my children the way nature intended. My birth experiences were fine: no IV, no tears, no stitches. Sure it was painful! It’s called labor because it’s laborious! But you need to have the pain; that’s how you get the baby out!
-Lauren Feder, MD, a mom of two sons and a nationally recognized physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine.