Giving birth is the most fundamental and natural to human existence. The human species have survived for thousands of years giving birth in the most natural way. The forces of life give power to the expecting mothers for bearing a child, bringing the child into this world and nurturing for growth and development.
Advancements in modern science have reduced complications during childbirth and C-sections birth has emerged as a life saver for lives in danger. The birthing experts (midwife, obstetrician, gynecologist) are the best suited to decide for process of child birth considering the physical, mental and emotional health of the expectant mothers.
The ideal rate for C-sections birth is considered to be 10-15% for a country by the World Health Organization. However, the world over incidences of C-sections births are rising at an alarming rate. These incidences are both medically promoted as well as voluntary choices by expectant mothers further induced choices by the society and communities.
In India, The National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4) reveals that 19.9% of all births in urban government hospitals and 44.8% in urban private hospitals were C-section births. This is an alarm, which we should not miss as a country. The world is waking up to reverse this trend and there are several encouraging stories in India as well. There are people, doctors, hospitals recognizing and creating a ecosystem for natural birthing.
India does not have an ecosystem and nation wide network of trained Mid-Wife who are the key people in facilitating natural birth and who work in tandem with doctors.
How to increase chances of a normal & respectful birth?
- Make an informed choice of doctor / hospital: Meet with at least 2 or 3 doctors before making a choice, speak with experienced mothers and support professionals, childbirth educators, doulas, birth networks can guide you to doctors who are experienced in normal birth, VBAC and twins.
- Choose a doctor with a less than 15% caesarean rate and epidural rates, accepts gestation as 42/43 weeks and avoids cutting episiotomies, practices delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin contact.
- Choose doctors that support you to bring a support team, including your choice of family friends, a doula or midwife
- Ask lots of questions about mothers experiences and the doctors type of practice.
- Ask about alternative pain management options, other than an epidural, including gas, water, movement, massage and TENS therapy, there are many alternatives.
- Do not solely trust testimonials on social media.
We have also provided the resources / facilities available in India that are encouraging and helping people in natural births. You can see the list here. Also, this table below will help you understand the difference between Mid-wife and Doula, who can support you.
Doula and Mid-Wife
|What do they do?||A midwife is equipped to recognise the variations of normal progress of labor, and understand how to deal with deviations from normal. They may intervene in some high risk situations using non-invasive techniques.||A doula, known as a birth companion, birth coach or post-birth supporter, assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, to provide emotional support and physical help if needed.|
|What they do not do?||Mid-wives do-not perform surgeries and work in tandem with doctors .||Doulas are not medical professionals and hence cannot administer medication.|
|Training / Certification requirement||Different countries have different training requirements; 4-5 years of University Program. Registration with a national body post national tests.||Globally, there is no standardization and oversight of doulas, with multiple organizations providing different courses with varying requirements.|
|Case of India||Mixed with Nursing and hence not specialized Mid -Wife.||No certification available in India|