15 Myths of Childbirth: Uncovering the Truth

by Birth Without Fear on November 2, 2010

Truth about childbirth, birth and pregnancy

Thanks to the AMA, ACOG, news media, Hollywood, and horror stories being passed down from generation to generation, there are many disheartening myths surrounding childbirth. Unfortunately these myths are taken as truth. In the coming weeks, we will shed light on a number of these myths. By revealing the truth, maybe we can get one step closer to birthing how God and nature intended us to.

Here are some myths of childbirth that will be discussed in the months to come:

  1. Doctors only do interventions that are truly necessary.
  2. Continuous fetal monitoring is safer than intermittent monitoring.
  3. You have to birth on your back.
  4. The umbilical cord: you have to cut and clamp the cord immediately after birth and if it is wrapped around the baby’s neck it is dangerous.
  5. Inductions: It is safe and if you are not induced you will not go into labor on your own.
  6. Labor begins when a pregnant mama’s water breaks and she must birth between 12-24 hours after it does.
  7. You can only push when dilated to 10 cm.
  8. You can not eat or drink in labor (or do anything else your body is telling you to).
  9. Going past your 40 week due date is dangerous.
  10. Babies often get too big to deliver vaginally.
  11. A c-section is easier and less painful than a vaginal birth.
  12. Epidurals don’t affect baby.
  13. Vaginal breech birth is unsafe.
  14. Vaginal Birth After Cesareans (VBAC) are dangerous.
  15. Homebirth is not safe, hospital birth is not safe, no birth is safe.

Do you see where I am going with this? It seems pretty much every thought surrounding birth is a myth. In all honesty, this frustrates me. This is gonna be fun!

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Monika November 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

Lets see….. here. I have had a VBAC. So I threw out that one. Also, I started pushing before 10cm…. to all my Doctors dismay. They wanted me to wait for her head to come down more and not push even when I got to 10…. BUT I HAD to push. But they were wrong. I healed great and birthed a beautiful baby girl.

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Gretchen May 15, 2013 at 1:37 am

My daughter was born in the caul, so that’s DEFINITELY a myth :)

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Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family November 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm

My water never breaks until I’m ready to push/fully dilated :).

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Kimberly November 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

Same here! My water broke and I was 8cm and she was born 14 minutes later.

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Camie November 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Looking to forward to following this!

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A.M. November 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Good stuff! I often think of this type of thing just because all my friends are really mainstream, and seem to buy into a lot of ACOG’s lies. I’m definitely the weirdo for doing the freestanding-birth-center thing and then homebirth, for never having been induced, never having a c-section, and having big and super healthy babies without any of the interventions they think are so vital to life. I hate that I end up trying to argue these points with people when they tell me I’m doing it wrong, because I just know it’s right. It feels right, my midwives tell me it’s right, even the World Health Organization tells me it’s right. So why haven’t American women at large gotten the memo? I don’t know, but I’m about ready to help give it to them! Will read and share all entries in this series for sure.

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rachel January 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

You have friends that know ACOG’s guidelines? When researching their guidelines I actually found that many doctors deviated from them. ACOG’s VBAC guidelines were actually ammunition for my VBAC.

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Melissa July 8, 2011 at 7:28 am

A.M- don’t feel alone! I am in the exact same boat as you! Sadly, my friends haven’t even experienced birth yet but they already want the DRUGS!!!! I am a Bradley Method instructor and it is my passion to educate women and men on how beautiful birth is! My friends sadly don’t like to hear what I have to say about birth and the main stream. I often tell them that I feel very sorry for them. It’s a shame!

Mrs. BWF, I am going to pass this on to my class ;)

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sara November 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Or how about you have to have your bag of waters artificially ruptured before you can have the baby?

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Kristie November 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Another myth – labour lasts for many hours or even days. Both of my daughters were “past due”, born at home without any interventions, and large (9lb3oz and 10lbs). My first labour lasted 2.5 hours and the second was 3.5 hours. Anything is possible!

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Patrice July 8, 2011 at 12:22 am

I don’t think that classifies as a myth. Just that it isn’t true of every woman. I can not back this up with any proof but I think you labor is on the far side of the range of normal. You know, in the curve or something :-) The average, run of the mill labor (ha, if there is such a thing) probably does last a tad bit longer than 2.5-3.5hrs. I think we should be careful what we do call a Myth, given the nature of the word.

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Kelli September 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

No…it’s not a myth. Just simply not the same for every woman. Labor can go on for days. Doesn’t always, but it can.
I labored for 32 hours with my first. And 36 hours with my second.

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Jasmine November 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I’ve got one to add – that most practices seen in the hospital labor and delivery ward are evidence-based.

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Kelly Holbrook November 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I gave birth at home to a 12 lb 3 oz baby…he was fine, I was fine, and everything went real smooth.

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Morgan April 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Kelly that is amazing! Giving birth in general is amazing but to such a “big” baby! lol

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Joy November 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I had to literally stop talking to most of my immediate family because they believe so strongly in all those above myths that they had me in tears every single time I would talk to them about my choice for a natural home birth. Because my step sister had 2 c-sections and is bigger boned than I am, apparently I cannot push a baby out because I am too weak. I am so lucky to have the support of a compassionate midwife and doula who have had several children themselves and know that it is possible and the best way to deliver.

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Louisa November 5, 2010 at 4:58 am

Oh honey,
Me too but it’s my sister that they compare me too. I got PTSD after my unnessesarian and no one can understand why.

Now I hardly talk to my mum, don’t talk to my sisters at all. What is frustrating is that they have absolutely no desire to learn more, they just tell me I am “wrong” to have these feeling or thoughts in my head or ideas about how the doctors did wrong by me.

Stay strong lovely lady. Some people just don’t get it.

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Laura Carter November 3, 2010 at 12:33 am

My husband was born breech vaginally, butt first if you can imagine!!! Safely too!!! :^) By a doctor no less; today I’m sure they would have unneccessarily cut his mother open and done a C-section. :^(

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Steph b May 15, 2013 at 7:17 am

I was born the same way. My mom’s doctor knew I was breech and didn’t tell her because he didn’t want to scare her!! Imagine that!

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Ramona November 3, 2010 at 1:27 am

Kristie, that labor lasts for many hours or many days is NOT a myth. It does happen to some women, and I was forced into an unnecessary c-section because I was unlucky enough to be one of those women. It’s a myth that routinely augmenting one of these labors with synthetic oxytocin or routinely resorting to a c-section is necessary. Now, if you’re saying that it’s a myth that long labors happen to ALL women, I agree with you.

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Kristie November 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Ramona, absolutely yes, I was coming from the place of always believing that I would be in labour for a long time, because that is what we most often hear about. Two very good friends of mine (one who is a midwife herself) wanted nothing more than a homebirth, but the babies just weren’t coming. Both mums laboured for days before the babes were born by caesarian.
After my speedy first daughter, I started to hear more about other women’s “precipitous” births. Believe it or not, it took me a long time to process my births too – not because they were traumatic, but so unexpected. I wondered why did it happen like that for me, and not my friends. I also feared a faster second labour, worried that I would be alone. So I like to share my story too, that babies sometimes come very quickly all on their own.

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Holly Wilson November 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

I completely understand. My daughter’s birth was induced due to extremely high blood pressure. I’m sorrowful I did not get to have a natural birth but after a long time to mourn for the experience I missed out on, I think it was one of the rare cases it was medically indicated. My problem arose from the fact that women in my mother’s family have a history of extremely fast births, a fact which my doctor ignored even though I told him during prenatal appointments and my mother told him at the hospital. They had my pitocin turned up as high as they could and I suffered severe tearing AND and episiotomy. 16 months later I am not completely healed because the doctor refused to listen to us. Because it was my first baby, it was before my due date, and I had to be induced, so it COULDN’T go quickly. From the time they started pitocin and broke my water (AT .5 CM!!!) to deliver was about 3 hours. The nurses wouldn’t even check me when I thought I was nearly ready to push because it “hadn’t been long enough.”

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Krista November 3, 2010 at 1:52 am

Hmm…birthed on my hands and knees, baby didn’t even get monitored, the umbilical cord was cut about an hour after she was born, water broke after I started pushing, started pushing less than 15 minutes after my midwife told me I was a 5, my epidural-born son had a LOT harder time breast feeding, and I had a home birth…….with a perfectly healthy 8 pound 9 ounce baby girl. I love breaking myths through example. That’s how I have convinced several people that home birth is better. By having a successful one myself!
Can’t wait to read these posts!!! Woohoo! I’m especially interested in what you have to say about the umbilical cord being wrapped around the neck. I’ve heard SO many people say they were glad they had hospital births because of this! I can’t wait to have something to prove that it doesn’t matter. I don’t know very much about that.

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Sophie November 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I have a quick answer for you : about one third of babies are born with the umbilical cord around their neck (that would explain the SO many people talking about it). Most of the time it really doesn’t matter as just after the baby’s head is born the person who assist you (or yourself) would usually rapidly and discretly palpate if there is a cord or not at the neck. If there is, it is often not too tight , so it can be pulled out of the way in front of the head or the loop is enlarged and held so the shoulders (and the baby!) will pass trough without further interference, or if it is not possible, there are easy manoeuvers that exist (and that every midwife knows). If none of the above seems possible or if the cord is too tight or there are multiple “turns” hard to undone, IF it’s seems needed it is possible to cut the umbilical cord at this point, before the rest of the baby comes out – and then we would like him to be born quite fast, as he is “made” to become independant of his mother while he is not quite ready.

It is certainly not why you would need a hospital birth; the cord being a problem at the birth is very rare and a trained professionnal assisting you can do everything they would have done at the hospital.

The umbilical cord is a marvel of life, not something we should fear : it is the vital link that permits life to grow, it does not become a deadly weapon all of a sudden during birth (as I would extend to women’s bodies).
(so long for the quick answer)

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Louise S November 20, 2010 at 6:48 pm

My parents’ third homebirth: My next sister was born with the cord around her neck. (and she was born while the doctor was taking a walk with our older brothers)

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Cord-Clamping.Com November 23, 2011 at 6:09 am

http://cord-clamping.com/2011/11/04/cord-around-the-neck-what-parents-practitioners-should-know/

In the meantime… :D

Checking, pulling or cutting an umbilical cord are not based on scientific evidence and can be disruptive to the birth and harmful to the baby.

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Susan November 3, 2010 at 5:58 am

Another myth: women dilate at a rate of 1cm an hour. I went from 3-10cm in just over a hour with my first (after a few hours of active labour). With my second I wasn’t dilated at all a couple of hours before she was born. I just dilate all at once at the end.

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Lauren November 13, 2010 at 1:59 am

YES YES YES. I was pressured into an epidural with my first when I was at 6cm, even though I was starting to transition (which I didn’t know at the time) because I had ‘so much longer to go’ and wasn’t coping. Of course I didn’t seem to be coping, I was in transition!
The other myth I would suggest is that you HAVE to have exams to see how dilated you are. Where’s the need? A knowledgeable midwife with you throughout your labour should know how you’re progressing without internal exams. I had none for my second birth and my body went through labour, pushed by itself and out came the baby- no exams needed!

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Pear January 15, 2011 at 2:04 am

I have had to give the “don’t get hung up on numbers” talk to so many clients after they get checked and are told something like “well you’re only at 3 so it’ll be many hours.” People can go from 2cm to 10cm in way less than an hour and do so frequently!

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Megan Casey September 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I went from 4-10cm in a stretch of midwifes fingers. I had an epidural and no one checked me for bladder fullness. Being that it was a blizzard TONS of women were birthing , when my midwife had a sec she checked me and found me distended. She straight cath’ed me an checked again and said ok we’re ready!
It was literally min’s. Less then ten from 1st check to 2nd. I was happy to get stared. 45 mins later my daughter was on bed in front of me.

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J.K November 3, 2010 at 8:05 am

I couldn’t agree more with what A.M up there said. It is really difficult being the “pregnancy/birthing black sheep” of society and even harder when its in your circle of friends and family. Its incredible that carrying and birthing a baby is no longer a natural healthy process but has been turned into a medical procedure. All faith in a woman’s body to do what it was intended for seems to have been lost by our so called medical practitioners. Obviously some women and their babies would not be here if it wasn’t for some of the medical procedures, but the system is backwards. I wasn’t able to get in with the midwives with my first and was stuck with an OB/GYN. I was also stuck with “What to expect when you’re expecting” fear based information “. At the time because I didn’t have anything to compare it to, I didn’t find the experience that horrible. I had a successful medicated birth to healthy 8 lbs 1/2 oz. daughter. I was fortunate enough to be open minded enough to listen to a friend of mine who educated me on an alternative way of birthing. And it wasn’t until I gave birth to my son with the aid of a midwife and a doula that I look back on my daughter’s birth and feel sad and a little disappointed as well as neglected.

I literally cannot stand to watch those baby stories on TLC because they all end the same, pitocin, C-section,, epidurals and women lying flat on their backs for sometimes days.

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Kari C. November 3, 2010 at 9:52 am

I can totally relate to Joy’s comment. My mother started to cry when she found out that I wanted a natural birth. CRY! She thought I was putting both myself and the baby in danger by not getting an epidural. My sisters also criticized me – “Oh, you will want one once you get there.” At the hospital (I live in Alabama where midwives are illegal), every nurse and doctor who saw my son commented that he was the most alert baby they had ever seen. My son is now two months old and is hitting benchmarks faster than most babies. I don’t know if it is related for sure, but I personally think it is.

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Simone P May 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I had several people tell me I’d want an epidural once I got there. I had to pretend not to be offended (my FIL said it and my MIL likes to blow things WAY outta proportion) but I was pissed by that comment. It offended me that they didn’t have faith in my ability to do what my body was intended for. I was in hard labor for 6 hours and my daughter was the most alert baby a lot of people had ever seen. She’s also hitting benchmarks early :)

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Lisa November 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Birth is inherently dangerous. I think that one encompasses a lot of the above and feeds the fear. I am the natural birth black sheep too (even though I’ve had 4 csections) so I feel you guys. Pretty much everyone in real life thinks I’m nuts, including family. I have very few supporters when it comes to my natural birth/parenting philosophies. It’s sad really. I even had someone pull the dead baby/dead mother card on me when they heard about my plans for a homebirth. And it was someone I had only known for all of 20 minutes! Thankfully, I don’t give a crap what other people think, but it would be nice to have some support at times, as it can be a lonely road. Thank God for my husband, my biggest cheerleader.

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Birth Without Fear November 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Lisa, I would say that birth is inherently SAFE. ;)

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mel November 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm

hi just wanted to say i respect what you are doing and believe mothers should have choice and control over their births. however what i dont agree with is the way some people seem to judge on here even though they dont like being judged for their decision. i was made to believe natural was best no pain releif and stay at home as long as possible all things im sure you will agree with. however it just wasnt so simple for me. i was in so much pain and halucinating going totally crazy and felt so out of control. i begged to go into the hospital here in the UK they want you to wait ages and dont want to give pain releife. i got to hospital 5cm and hysterical petrified and needed the pain to go. but i couldnt speak from pain. when i finally got some strength i begged for an epidural i was told to carry on I never got any pain releif. it was awful and after the birth i fell into a very deep depression border line pycosis and felt guilty for not having the beautiful perfect birth these type of websites describe. when i got pregnant a second time i waS so pleased for about 2 days then the rest of the pregnancy worried about how i could go through that pain again. in the end i decided i definatly neededto go to hospital as soon as i got contractions and demand an epidural asap. i got my epidural . it made me so much calmer and in control. i felt at ease and had a healthy content baby boy. i felt so relaxed and happy…. but then the ‘natural birth’ communities words got to me and i felt guilty for having an epidural as if i wasnt a good enough mother. the depression returned. It took 2 years to get over depression. lots of psyciatric treatment and shock horror- anti depressants and now i feel back on track but i still moarn the loss of those precious few months of motherhood i couldnt enjoy cos i felt i had failed my babies. anyway like i say i respect your opinions and feel you should have the births you dream off but some people in the community have a holy than thow attitude and make others feel like a failure. the damage of going for a natural birth left a life long scar mentally. i just think you should be aware that while you may have mothers best interests please be careful not to let mothers feel inferior. but good luck with your quest all mothers should have control over their birthsx

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Sheva November 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I agree with you 100%.
That is so horrible that they didn’t respect your wishes at your first birth, when you asked for pain relief. I birth at home, etc., etc., but I sincerely believe with all my heart that NO MOTHER should EVER be denied pain relief when she asks for it. YOU are the only one that knows your body, and just as a mother should be respected and not nagged when she says no to an epidural, she should be respected and listened to when she asks for one.

I, too, had a far from perfect first birth, not all roses and sunshine like we all wish it would always be, and I, too, fell into a deep black depression that lasted a long time.

I also don’t remember most of my baby’s first few months, because of the depression, and I never asked for help, because I thought “I wasn’t supposed to feel this way”. You’re not alone in your feelings.

I’d like to add that because I agree with your sentiment, that all mothers should be respected, regardless of their choices, I do not fit into either ‘group’ of mothers in my area.

The mothers who are pro hospital don’t like me because I birth at home and they think I’m a martyr.
And the home-birth mothers think I’m a deserter because I tell them that they need to respect every mother’s choice, not just the ones that think they way they do.

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Birth Without Fear November 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Mel, I want to respond to your post and let you know that I actually agree with you. If you join the BWF Facebook page, you may get to know ‘me’ better. I feel the #1 thing is to have a choice in how we birth. Unfortunately though, most women don’t even know they have a choice when it comes to their births and that is where the majority of my attention is focused.

Recently I had this status update: “Epidurals. Wanna know what I really think? They are overused, the drugs do go to baby and mostly not necessary. See how I said ‘mostly’? I think that until real birth becomes normalized and women can get past fearing birth, that *sometimes* epidurals can be a GOOD THING. Ya, I said it…”

I do think many women have experiences like yours because of fears and circumstances. I really believe fears cause pain in birth and circumstances can stall birth ( I have so been there).

My goal is to support women in their choices and to educate about what birth really can be like. I am not saying that all women should have home births or never get any help or pain relief.

I have not had 4 beautiful home births myself. I am also the recipient of traumatic births and the only way I got through my VBA2C was with an epidural. So mama, no judgment here. You did what YOU had to do to have a great birth experience and I 100% respect that.

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crystal fink April 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I agree completely… When a mom makes the best choice for her and her baby, she should feel empowered not guilty. modern medicine has its place, and if dr’s, midwives, nurses, doulas, hospitals, support persons, etc. did a better job at supporting women and understanding natural birth, intervention would be far less routine or necessary.

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Holly Wilson November 9, 2010 at 10:59 am

I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience. Please don’t feel judged here. This is intended to be a place of education, yes, but more importantly, a place of support, respect, and healing. Your story is an example of how we need to listen to our instincts- yours were ignored and you had a traumatic experience as a result. I hope that if you have not yet healed- on the inside- from this trauma that you will find peace soon. Maybe sharing your story will help?

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J.K November 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I cannot speak for everyone, but, I don’t judge women who’ve had medicated hospital births, because I’ve had one, I judge the judgement calls our doctors and OB/GYN’s make. I don’t support a system that doesn’t support the woman in labor and the natural process of labor. Offering me drugs as I lay for hours on my back as an only pain relief method and checking my cervix every half an hour and leaving my husband and I to fend for ourselves until I was 10 cm wasn’t very comforting or helpful. Of course I took the drugs and was in a funk for about a week after I had my daughter because of it. That medicine head effect took awhile to leave.

The counter pressure, the change of positions, and the mobility and the ability to eat and drink in my labor as well as the continued encouragement and nurturing voice and touch of my doula and midwife as well as that of my husband and sister is what made the world of difference. Working with me to work through the pain made a difference. The pain wasn’t any different with my son then that of my daughter because let’s face face it…childbirth doesn’t tickle, but all those things made the pain much more manageable. I was grateful for the meds at the time.. but I preferred my unmedicated birth.

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Rosie April 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

I have to agree with Mel, I find there are too many people out there who alienate & criticise women who have had a medicated hospital birth or c-section.
I had a c-section with my first baby after 36hrs of active labour – in those 36hrs I reached 3cm! It took over 24hrs to go from 2 to 3cm. I didn’t spend the time flat on my back, in fact most of it was at home, where I was walking around & able to do all the things that natural birth advocates recommend.
After 36hrs my ob recommended (I wasn’t forced into any decision, and my husband was also involved in the decision making) that we have the c-section, then my beautiful baby girl was born – she was only 3kg (just under 7pound)
I don’t regret having the c-section, I’ve since been told that my pelvis isn’t the right shape and is far too narrow to deliver even a small baby.
I’m expecting number 2 and am having a planned c-section – If I go into labour earlier than planned we will trial the labour, but we are not going to leave it as long this time.

Also, in Australia, breach babies are not usually delivered naturally, not because of the risks associated with breach birth, but because of the litigation costs to the drs who have delivered them and something has gone wrong. They will not do it because their indemnity insurance does not cover them.

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Heidi C November 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Kari C- just wanted to throw this out there. I’m not familiar specifically with Alabama law but I’m aware that it’s the only other state besides NE (where i”m from) that it is illegal for a certified nurse midwife to attend a homebirth. It is NOT ILLEGAL for a lay midwife to attend a homebirth. And it is NOT ILLEGAL to homebirth period. Only for a CNM to attend one. There are a lot of people in NE that believe homebirth is illegal and do not even attempt to look into homebirth because they have heard this. Make sure you are clear so that other people know there is the option still if that is there choice. :) Thanks! I had a wonderful attended homebirth here.

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Colleen G. November 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Gotta love #9. I have always gone way over my 40 week mark without a single problem.
The induction one makes me mad. My best friend was told some women’s “timers” are broken and the “can’t” go into labor on their own. Blech! She has never given birth without induction. She tried to fight but got sick of the 2-3 times a week stress tests that she just gives up and goes in for her induction.

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Laura November 4, 2010 at 4:28 pm

There was a short-lived drama-reality show filmed here in the hospitals of Boston called Boston Med. In one episode, an ob-gyn resident looks into the camera and says, “Childbirth is the most dangerous thing most American women will do in their lifetimes.” That’s the point where I turned off the TV.

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Pear January 15, 2011 at 2:06 am

I remember that! I yelled at the TV.

Shows like “Baby Story” are BANNED in our house because they make me see red. If I come across one my husband and I usually have a conversation something like:

“Honey – Are you watching Hockey or a Baby Show?”
“Why?!?”
“Well you’re screaming at the TV a lot…..”

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rachel January 15, 2011 at 9:27 am

Overall, the message that the medical community gives women is that their bodies are broken. Broken from the time pregnancy begins, through labor, and afterwards when they are trying to breastfeed. We are not broken! That is the message that we need to tell our sisters and tell our medical community.

Because the medical community is used to fixing broken bodies, they apply the same principles to pregnancy and breastfeeding–a great case for the use of midwives.

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Carole November 5, 2010 at 8:28 am

You ladies are wonderful! This is a great blog. I am a mother of three homebirth grown children and granmama. We are now second generation homebirth, first generation waterbirth. I pray this is mainstream for mamas, for babies, for families, for peace on earth. Yes being born gently does make a difference in the vibration of the world.

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The Deranged Housewife November 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm

A couple more I can add:

• That vaginal exams are always necessary, and will tell you something.
• That you must push when you reach 10 cm, even if you don’t feel the urge
• That cutting is better (or even necessary) than tearing

I hear this crap all the time from people and it’s mind boggling, really. :?

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Krist November 6, 2010 at 4:32 am

My best friend is talking to a midwife about having a home birth, and she’s really excited about it. Her husband is a little worried, not because of the myths about complications but because he is worried that it will somehow ruin her vagina. that it won’t be the same. I don’t know where he got this idea, or why he thinks that, but he does. Anyway, I don’t have any kids, nor am I pregnant. but I plan on having home births, I really think it is something I would enjoy. I am ok with hospitals, but I really want to have one an at home birth. I haven’t decided if I want a water birth or land(?) birth. but I have time to figure it out. I will have a midwife, and a doula. I would want someone there, just in case….I started bleeding more then I should. But when the time comes, I WON’T back down, I WON’T let people talk me into having my (possible) child at a hospital because it will make my family, or friends pressure me into something I don’t want.
I want to thank Elizabeth(a girl I went to school with a long time ago) for posting links about home birthing and all the information about NATURAL births, and doing the things that we as women are capable of doing. I was like more people, ignorant! I knew you could have at home births, but I thought they were dangerous. And I thought that would hurt the baby, and all that ignorant thoughts.

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Alison Reid November 7, 2010 at 7:24 am

Reading all of the above, I’d like to add that the reason natural birth advocates are so passionate about it is because our wishes are not automatically respected and we are coerced and frightened into accepting interventions. Although Mel had a dreadful experience where her wishes were ignored, mostly women who want intervention of any sort will get it – or will be told they should have it – in a heartbeat. (BTW it sounds to me as though Mel could have used some good information and some loving caregiver support, which often eliminates or reduces the need for analgesia.) So that is why we beat the drum – I personally have had everything – 3 C/S, forceps (stillborn baby), blackmailed into stuff I didn’t want and finally a wonderful supportive, powerful homebirth which helped to heal the years of trauma and self-loathing I accumulated from all the obstetric abuse. Birth can be the peak experience of a woman’s life and we should all have the right to say exactly how we would like it to go with all the support we need and without having to fight for it. We all do the best we can, don’t we, with what we are given at the time!

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Arp November 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Awesome, looking forward to the series. All of those myths need some serious debunking – plus it’s helpful to have a post to suggest someone to read and get the gears in their head turning :-)

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Jennifer November 14, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Great list.

It would great if you could please add the links to each blog post to this post as they are completed so we can all easily share this info simply by refering people to this post.

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Birth Without Fear November 15, 2010 at 8:47 am

Will do! :)

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K May 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

There are still only 7 of the 15 myths with links. Do you have any more linked up? I’d especially like to hear about #6. This was my situation.
My water broke on its own (believe it or not, I didn’t even know for sure that it had happened until about 2 hours after) and baby came about 25 hours later. I was put on pitocin to get the labor going (because I was told needed to deliver within 24 hours), and I truly think the only reason I didn’t have a C-section was because baby was on his way out when the 24 hour mark hit. I wondered what it would have been like to go without the interventions (especially the pitocin), but I was happy to have a healthy baby from vaginal birth that started on its own. And until today I never questioned the 24-hour “rule” because I was told that the risk of infection was higher for the baby after that point. I’d love to be more informed.

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Arkadina November 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Thanks for putting in #15. I was brought up to believe it’d kill you unless you were really, really lucky so it’s lovely to see how wrong that idea is. Thank you!

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Kathryn January 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm

my first daughter ended up being a csection because the doctor wouldn’t help reposition her. But my second child was an amazing vbac, had to push before 10cm even though they didn’t want me to, got to choose my laboring position even though they didn’t want me to, and didn’t tear like they thought I would, and my 2nd child was smaller than my first even though the Dr insisted he was going to be huge and I needed a csection. Get the knowledge, know what YOU WANT, trust your body, and have good support systems!!! childbirth is a natural process not a medical one!

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Karalyn January 15, 2011 at 5:23 am

I had a natural breech baby birth and apart from being pressured into getting my waters broken and other unwanted maneuvers and intervention and my baby due to shock I think, being resuscitated for five minutes, I would do it again no problem. Next time with the OB outside the room!

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SkyBaby April 2, 2011 at 11:07 am

My husband is a nurse and is thoroughly convinced dr knows best in all situations. :/ I agree with you ladies!!!! He’s too afraid to let me have the birth I know I can have. I’m stuck with an OB anyways, as our insurance straight up wont cover midwives. My husband sees birth as a medical procedure and problem and not something beautiful and natural. I don’t yet know what my OB feels on these issues, but if he’s one of so many OBs who are all for ‘routine’ interventions, then you bet I’ll be shopping for another OB. My only question is how to get my medical professional husband on the same page as the non-medical professional me?

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Morgan April 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Maybe you should forget to tell him your in labor and have an unassisted… My mother is a nurse and thinks the opposite! She believes that modern medicine can have a lot of great outcomes that would not be possible without it, but sometimes it gets in the way.

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heidilady April 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm

medical intervention births are the norm (throughout the world). I am tired of the attitude that my intervention free natural labors and home births being looked at as “unusual”. Women over the centuries and accross borders have given birth safely and in the comfort of their own homes. I am NOT a feak or statistical abonormality. I AM the norm!!!

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Tiffany July 8, 2011 at 12:42 am

I have one! I have one!

Myth: Checking how far a woman’s cervix has dilated will give a decently accurate estimation of when she will deliver. Yeah right! Haha! :)

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Ingrid May 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I have never heard of predicting a birth time!! You dilate to 10cms so the babies head can come out!

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Sahara July 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I would be interested to hear more about the “you can only push when you’re dilated to 10cm”

I felt like pushing at 8 cm, and was told not to, so I spent the next eternity (mayb 10 mins? 15? I have no idea) in agony trying NOT to push until they finally rechecked me and I was 10 and they said I could go. I would rather not go through that again if it really is safe for me to begin pushing before 10…

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Savanah November 23, 2011 at 11:58 am

I birthed my little girl when I was only dialated to 8. We are both alive and perfectly healthy! My doctor said to “push a little to relieve the pain”. Is that even possible!? It’s all or nothin’ for me!

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JM November 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Yes, myths run abound in childbirth, BUT I do think it’s important that we all step back and realize that everyone’s experience is different. I was born by Cesarian to a 45 year old mother (a big deal in 1980) and I like to think I turned out fine. I had my own son in my home after a 6 hour labor, and he also seams to be turning out fine. Each woman must make her choices and resist being swayed by any one “camp” that believes their way is the only way to have a healthy baby. Clearly with 7 billion breathing people on our planet there are many ways to have a baby.

Birth is like love, everyone has a different experience, but we can all share our wisdom. Happy birthing, evreyone.

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Sinead Mitchell November 24, 2011 at 3:39 am

I’m no longer practising in Australia, but had my child in the Brisbane Birth Centre (hail glorious ones), completely natural. I have a sister and niece who are both alive today courtesy of amazing medical science allowing a caesarian option. So I ‘get’ both sides…..

I’m so happy that women are being encouraged to be empowered.

In my practice as a counsellor, I saw many women challenged by the system, with their natural abilities regularly undermined.

Please keep up the great work!…

Women rock!

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kelly September 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I love your post because my daughter and my nephew both would not be alive today if it weren’t for ceserean intervention and I am very thankful for it! I am a strong woman and I know that my body knows best, but when so many women jump on the natural birth bandwagon, sometimes they forget about all of the mothers and babies who used to die because there wasn’t medical intervention when it was needed. Thank you for realizing that both ways have their places.

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Jade Appo November 29, 2011 at 5:35 am

Another myth to add – “Obstetricians deliver babies”. No they don’t, we do! I was lucky to have a fantastic OB who was happy to observe and an awesome doula who held the space for me to do what I needed to do.

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Aly September 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I labored at home , I was in and out of the shower, moving my hips around which helped the pain. Then we went to the hospital and they said I was 8 cm dilated, Whoo Whoo I felt like I had to push. Unfortunately he was breeched, so they told me I had to have a c section and there was no time to move him. So I received a c section and now I’m dealing with ppd. I didn’t get to see my son for 5 hours because he had to go to the nicu because he inhaled meconium. They didn’t start letting me breastfeeding for 48 hours after he arrived. It has been such a struggle. They gave him formula when we asked for it not to be given. Yes I know he is healthy now, but I wonder if he had come vaginally would he have been healthy ?

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Kathleen Neely September 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm

meconium is dangerous if inhaled or swallowed.

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kelly September 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I absolutely understand the viewpoint and I would have a homebirth if I medically could, but I have medical problems that could harm my baby, so I have to be monitored very closely. I had a c-section with my daughter and will have another with my second, but I think a myth needs to be added to the list. When I had my daughter, via c-section, she had absolutely zero problem latching right on and breastfeeding like a champ. She never had a problem eating, she was no more drowsy than my friend’s babies when they were born, and she has been a great baby. I’ve had friends who had babies completely naturally and their children had problems breast feeding. I say this to make the point that maybe it’s not the medication that creates a fast or slow learner when it comes to breastfeeding…just maybe that is a myth as well.

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Shakeeta W September 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I can call shenanigans on all of these (except 11, 13, & 14)! The really sad part is that so many women are fed all this stuff and don’t know any better :(

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Skylar September 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Well I couldn’t eat even though I wanted to but I did love me some ice chips and while I didn’t get a water birth I did get all of my labor in a jetted tub which was nice. My second was all natural 8lbs 6oz, 90th percentile head, his pediatrician asked if he was cesarean and when my husband said all natural he gave me all sorts of praise. Made me love him more!

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Megan Casey September 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I remember with my son sneaking food and water. My then hubby was so upset I told him dont worry about it. It doesnt matter unless I go into be operated on. SOO IF that happens you can rat me out otherwise, can it! How do they expect woman to do such an amazing thing with just ice chips? Come on!!

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Allison September 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I have very few friends who went the natural route the way I did and most believed everything their doctor said. I am so proud of myself for doing enough research to have the wonderful birth experience that I had…at home, 100% naturally. It was long (7-8 hours, pushed for 2-3), but it was what it was meant to be and she is healthy and perfect and I was in great shape after. I was so glad to be at my house, in my shower, eating my food! As far as this list, I guess I broke a lot of rules – pushed early, water broke after pushing, ate and drank when I wanted to, wasn’t on my back, waited to cut the cord, and only checked her heart rate intermittently (and never had an ultrasound at all). I broke more than I followed and I plan to do it the same way next time!

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Mandi September 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I am trying to get pregnant and recently spoke to a nurse who has been in labor and delivery for 28 years. She straight up told me they intervene too much and it has changed not necessarily for the better over the last decade. She said have a natural birth if you want, but don’t get too hung up on your birth plan because there is a small chance you will have to change it if something goes wrong.

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liz September 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

yup totally agree, def myths!! my waters broke and i was 5cm. baby was back to back and face presentation, they were all flaffing around with scans and ringing the doc for about 5mins after that check when i felt something, so i put my hand down and said someone catch the babys coming out! lucky for me my little girl, who is still impatiant, made her enterence into the world quick and easy before anyone could intervien. my first baby my little boy was much the same but i had a eperdruol that only number one side and he was born not breathing after only 5mins of pushing. luckily the midwifes quick actions got him screaming after what felt a lifetime, but after both experiencrs i think im just going to go with the flow and keep medical out if im ever blessed with more bambinos!

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earthmama Gise September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am

I just had a homebirth on sept 6 2012 (third NUCB, first HB) and my sons cord was wrapped around his neck twice. it was fine, no emergency.. the midwife just slipped it off and i pushed him on out:) i wish women had more faith in what their bodies are designed to do.. birth doesn’t have to be traumatic.

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Jade Brodersen May 14, 2013 at 11:21 pm

My body started pushing at 8cm and I never tore :-) gotta love that natural instinct pairs with good elastic vagina genes!

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Heather May 15, 2013 at 12:50 am

I am a strong supporter of home birth even though mine went wrong. Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I birthed at home and I tell them its so peaceful to labor in your own home. I would say “birth in your own home” but I wouldn’t know. My pelvis broke and I was in so much pain that I don’t even remember feeling him crown. I do remember that his cord was around his neck so tightly that it had to be cut. However, after I was transferred to the hospital, we had him admitted so he could be with me the whole time. Even the doctors said he was one of the healthiest babies they’d ever seen! Now, he is 17 months old and my pelvis had to be surgically put back together and I’ll never get to birth naturally again. :( I’m also terrified of a c-section, but still want more kids. Even with all my troubles, I still support home births! I always tell people that my issue is very rare. Even the doctors at the university hospital had never heard of this happening!

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Sharon May 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hey Heather. I got to witness my cousin’s home birth and it was wonderful. I wanted the same thing. I chose a midwife and a birthing center. I had an easy pregnancy then on the 26th week my water broke. I went to the hospital, thinking they could fix it and send me home. I was wrong. No more midwife for me. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks until I gave birth to my daughter. I didn’t efface (sp?) no epidural. Due to prematurity and her not breathing I got to meet her several hours later. I was terrified of C-Sections and therefore chose no drugs as I was of the opinion that a c-section would be where I was pushed if I was drugged and if things weren’t going in a timely fashion.

So second child. I went full term and was about 9 1/2 centimeters when they lost the heart beat on the monitor and I was in excruciating pain. (Mainly in my kidney area) Long story short I had to have a c-section and had to be put to sleep because the epidural would take too long. The doctor even said as they were wheeling me in that I was terrified of c-sections and were trying to get me back to normalcy. The cause of the pain for me and loss of heart beat was due to uterus clamping down around her face. They had to cut my uterus like a pie to get her out. Due to my recovery from being put to sleep, I got to meet her a few hours later. This c-section definitely took longer to recover from than the vb.

For my third, due to previous issues, I scheduled a planned c-section. I got an epidural. My husband finally got to cut the umbilical cord. I got to hold her immediately after birth and the recovery from this c-section was much better. (I think because it was not an emergency c-section?)

I used to have guilt that I couldn’t have my child the way I wanted to. Naturally, at home or outside of the hospital setting. I tried to control how my birth happened but I couldn’t. Long story short, If you have another child, C-section or not, your child will be wonderful and there is no shame in what you can not control. Peace

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rose May 15, 2013 at 1:03 am

I was induced at 37 weeks because of massive kidney stones causing horrible pain… it resulted in a c section because the doctor would only give a low dose of the medicine. Nothing else was done to move my labor along, then because I wasn’t dilating, my doctor recommended that I have a c section, despite my birth plan I told her. She felt because they had to stop labor at 27 weeks that a c section would be best. After about 10 minutes, I gave in and felt horrible for giving into being bullied. For my second, I contracted 2 minutes apart, horriedly strong contractions, for a month and still nothing was done for me until I was again pressured into getting another c section. Now my ob says it has to be c section every time, and I am pregnant with my third, I became pregnant only 4 months after my second, and she fears if she let’s me contract, my uterus will tear. I do not want another c section… I wanted a birth without an epidural, I didn’t and still don’t want a large needle in my spine. It has given me horrid back problems… I really want a natural birth, but made to feel that at this point, it is impossible. :( I never wanted a c section. Ever.

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Charity May 15, 2013 at 3:18 am

It’s great to hear so many powerful stories and so much encouragement toward natural deliveries. I’m a labor and delivery nurse in a unit where both certified nurse midwives and obstetricians practice. We work together to have great outcomes. I get really discouraged by the women who come to us as failed home birth or birthing center deliveries and believe that we are going to intentionally harm them or their babies. Honestly, we are generally in support of intermittent monitoring and low interventions but things do go awry and sometimes birth plans have to get overlooked in the best interest of saving a babies life. Shouldn’t we all be able to work together to attain the healthiest moms and babies?

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