Natural childbirth has nothing to do with childbirth in nature. Not only does it fail to replicate birth in nature, it adds on practices that have never been seen in nature and then pretends they are “natural.”
Here are 5 of the goofiest unnatural things that Western, white, well off advocates do while cluelessly preening to each other that they are imitating primitive people.
No primates, let alone humans, give birth in water. Zip, zero, nada. It’s pretty obvious why: childbirth in water is UNNATURAL and puts offspring at risk for drowning. To the extent that infants are “designed”, they are “designed” to be born into air and take their first breathe of air in relatively short order. Animals and pre-industrialized humans make great effort to ensure that their offspring survive. They don’t include stunts as part of birth, because they find no benefit in impressing their peers.
2. Eating the placenta
You have to be the most gullible rube on the planet to be or use the services of a “placenta encapsulation specialist.” Human beings in nature do not eat the placenta, and they certainly don’t freeze-dry it first.
Indeed, the anthropological literature dates the first sighting to an indigenous group of California homebirth advocates (I kid you not). In Consuming the inedible: neglected dimensions of food choice, MacClancy and colleagues report:
In association with the natural childbirh movement from the 1960’s placentophagia was taken up in some ‘Western’ societies, especially in California, on the basis that it was ‘natural’, as ‘all’ mammalian species eat the placenta. The problem with this is that not all mammals are regularly placentophagous and our closest primate relatives also are not placentophagous… [M]odern placentophagia is based on an inaccurate idea of making the human birthing process more ‘natural’.
3. Lotus birth
I can’t decide who are the bigger fools. Those who eat their placenta or those who leave it attached to the baby to rot off.
To my knowledge, there is not a single higher order animal that leaves the placenta attached to the baby for more than minutes. Lotus birth has nothing to do with childbirth in nature. It was made up by a wacky woman trying to outdo her wacky peers. Amazingly, gullible natural childbirth advocates have adopted it, too.
4. Unassisted childbirth
Unassisted childbirth rarely if ever occurs among human societies. There is a good reason for that. Assistance in childbirth raises the chances that both mother and baby will survive what is universally accepted to be an inherently dangerous situation. Unassisted childbirth is yet another fabrication from whole cloth that childbirth advocates try to pass off as “natural” when it is nothing more than a stunt practiced by the clueless in order to impress their clueless peers.
5. Tandem nursing
Although widely beloved by lactivists, to my knowledge there are no higher order animals that practice tandem nursing. Breastmilk is reserved for the youngest child and the older child is invariably weaned. It is not clear whether that’s because allowing an older child to continue to nurse robs the baby of valuable food and nutrients, but it simply doesn’t happen in nature.
If none of the above 5 are natural, how did they come to be included in natural childbirth?
Easy. Natural childbirth has nothing to do with childbirth in nature. From its “father,” Grantly Dick-Read, to its current exponents, natural childbirth was made up to serve the interests and aims of its fabricators. Once you start lying about the inherent dangerousness of childbirth and lying that women are “designed” to give birth perfectly, it is a short step to making up never before seen practices and advertising them as natural.
The current fetish for unmedicated childbirth while refusing life saving interventions, complete with birth photographer, live tweeting and a video on YouTube, is about as natural as hunting rabbits with a bazooka while wearing camo. It is not only unnatural, it doesn’t even mimic what really happens in nature.