Why Do Women Fear Birth?

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Why Do Women Fear Birth?

birth powerFirst We Create the Problem, Then We Wonder Why

A Canadian Professor in Prince Edward Island is trying to better understand what’s behind fear as it relates to women who request a planned cesarean birth.

A historical look at birthing practice indicates that the birth paradigm shifted early in the 20th Century.  A change in cultural and social outlook shifted when women were convinced that hospital births were safer for mothers and babies.  Birth at home surrounded by skilled attendants, family and friends was not only an opportunity for families to form during times of joy and sorrow but it was a breeding ground for education for the younger generation that often witnessed the sights or sounds of birth and death.

In the hospital, women were isolated from family and friends, they lost touch with something innate and primal and opted for something controlled and medicalized. They opted for this isolation and change in practice partially out of fear. Maternal mortality reached a plateau, with a high of 600 to 700 deaths per 100,000 births, between 1900 and 1930.  The fear was real. Tangible. They also did this because of culture in society, hospital birth was optimal, affordable, safest and a symbol of social stature.  It was during this time that the number of babies women had would slowly dwindle due to women entering the work force and assisting war efforts both at home and abroad.  Women lost touch with themselves and with each other because the sense of community was altered.

Within a twenty  year time span, women stopped talking about sexuality and birth.  It was private  and considered a taboo subject by the time the 50’s roared in.  Women had given up on breastfeeding since the new medical recipe, or scientific formula, was best for growing healthy babies.   Young women were no longer educated by mothers, grandmothers and community wise women about menstruation, sex, childbirth, breastfeeding and they were not walked through the process as their own grandmothers had been.  Boys were taught nothing.  Good girls practiced abstinence.  We created an environment of secrecy and fear regarding sex and birth in order to protect women’s virtues. However, the cause and effect was that women lost touch with how their bodies worked because they were uneducated or poorly educated and did not have the visual, social and physical cues that had existed just two decades earlier.

In 1960, The Birth Control Pill revolutionized how women could take charge of their own fertility and gave them a sexual freedom that had not been experienced before.  The Pill came with its own problems. Current and ongoing research, over the past sixty years, has proven that altering one body system actually does affect all the other systems and the compensations that occur are not beneficial in the long term.  Documented side effects of this little pill include anxiety, depression, mood swings, weight gain, decreased libido, breast tenderness, (secondary) infertility and all of these effects bring on other problems that are not documented as related to hormonal birth control.

Regulating cycles to 28 days, eliminating acne, stabilizing blood flow, not getting pregnant and easing menstrual pain mean that we cannot feel what our bodies would do with no interference.  The aim is to gain control over the things, or symptoms, that we do not want. By altering the symptom and not treating the cause, women lose touch with the normal ebb and flow of their rhythmic cycles.  Not all women have 28 day cycles, not all women ovulate between days 12 and 14.  The day to day, month to month cycles are a physical reminder of how bodies work, but even today’s hormonal birth control alters how body systems interplay, and now these methods are used  from earlier and earlier ages. The hormonal changes that women experience while on these powerful medications often mimic feelings and moods association with pregnancy and there is a tangible difference in the behaviour of women who alter their hormones and those who don’t.

In a perpetual cycle: we were raised by women who feared birth because their own mothers had lost touch with how the body works because they were raised by women who were taught to fear birth.  Professor, this needs no further research.

References:

A Historical Perspective of Birth in North America – A cultural, political and social view of the evolution of birth practices in the USA.  American practice guidelines continues to influence trends in Canada.

Sweetening the Pill – Millions of healthy women take a powerful medication every day from their mid-teens to menopause – the Pill – but few know how this drug works or the potential side effects. Contrary to cultural myth, the birth control pill impacts on every organ and function of the body, and yet most women do not even think of it as a drug. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, rage, panic attacks – just a few of the effects of the Pill on half of the over 80% of women who pop these tablets during their lifetimes.

Why Are Milennials Ditching the Pill – Another study of 12,000 American women found that 63 percent of women who stopped using the pill did so due to its side effects—which can include anything from weight gain to spotting and nausea.

Fetal Deaths & Hormonal BC – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may have greatly underestimated the number of fetal deaths among women who became pregnant after using Bayer AG’s Essure contraceptive device, according to a private analyst who combed through the agency’s public database.  In addtion, the FDA has cited five fetal deaths in women who became pregnant after using Essure, two metal coils inserted into the fallopian tubes.

Messing With Your Love Life – We may hear about some of the side effects of the birth control pill like dangerous blood clots or weight gain, but many of us are not told of the full consequences of switching off our body’s natural hormones and replacing them with a stream of their synthetic equivalent. Hormones help us to interact with the world, impact how we perceive other people and how they perceive us. There are a plethora of studies that suggest women using the Pill will find almost every single element of their love life is impacted by that choice on a fundamental, biochemical level.

Reasons Hormonal Birth Control Methods Are Unsafe– Women need the full information on risks associated with hormonal birth control methods and they need to be aware of the symptoms of the possible life-threatening dangers so that, if it does happen to them and not just another “someone,” that they can act quickly. But, women also need to know that their safety is calculated in comparison to pregnancy, instead of in comparison to not using hormonal birth control and not being pregnant ie. using an effective hormone-free method of contraception.

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