A dead baby will ruin your birth experience every time!


Natural childbirth advocates like to say that “there’s more to birth than a healthy baby.” Duh! No one ever said otherwise. That’s why epidurals and maternal request C-sections should be available to anyone who wants them. They’ve chosen a specific birth experience because there’s more to birth than a healthy baby; there’s pain relief and avoiding pelvic trauma among other things.

Where did this mother get the idea that the obstetrician wants to ruin her birth experience?

But a dead baby will ruin your birth experience every time.

Consider this post from a natural childbirth Facebook group:

Well, fired my doctor yesterday. I am currently 40+6.
I’m comfortable, healthy, perfectly fine. Baby is comfortable, healthy, perfectly fine.
But, according to my doctor, “at this point, it is pitocin or a c section” and I “need to just get used to the idea of pitocin”
She informed me she was stepping out to call L&D to schedule an induction, I got dressed and left.
I understand her games, and I’m not playing. She has never spoken to me this way and up until the point-made me believe she was supportive of my natural birth preferences. I have an amazing support team and doula. We are all on the same page.

Baby will come when baby is ready


Sure the baby will come eventually; it just might be dead when it arrives. And let me assure you, a dead baby will ruin your birth experience!

Preventing dead babies is the job of every obstetrician. It is hardly a game; it’s a sacred trust.

Where did this mother get the idea that the obstetrician wants to ruin her birth experience? From natural childbirth advocates, the same people who created the cultural construct of “birth experience.”

The conceit of the contemporary natural childbirth movement is that they are recapitulating birth in nature. Nothing could be further from the truth. In nature, a good birth experience was and remains a healthy baby born to a healthy mother.

Caroline Bledsoe and Rachel Scherrer are anthropologists who study the natural childbirth movement. In the chapter The Dialectics of Disruption: Paradoxes of Nature and Professionalism in Contemporary American Childbearing they explain the cultural construct of natural childbirth:

… As childbearing became safer and more benign visions of nature arose, undesired outcomes of birth for women came to consist of a bad experience and psychological damage from missed bonding opportunities. Today, with safety taken for granted, the new goal has become in some sense the process itself: the experience of childbirth…

The mother refusing induction is taking the safety of her baby utterly for granted. She doesn’t know that every day beyond 39 weeks increases the risk of stillbirth.

Does that mean her baby is guaranteed to die? No, it means the risk of the baby dying is increased. It’s like refusing to put a baby in a car seat on a trip to the supermarket. The odds that the baby will die on the trip are small … but refusing to use a car seat makes them much higher than they would have been. The odds that this baby will die are also small, but by refusing a medically recommended induction the mother has made them much higher.

Bledsoe and Scherrer offer a critical insight into the thinking of mothers like these:

If nature is defined as whatever obstetricians do not do, then the degree to which a birth can be called natural is inversely proportional to the degree to which an obstetrician appears to play a role. The answer to why obstetricians are described with such antipathy thus lies not in the substance of what obstetricians do that is unnatural – whether the use of sharp incision. forceps, and medications that blunt sensation. or anything else- but in the fact that obstetricians represent a woman’s loss of control over the birth event.

…[I]t is not what obstetricians do that women find problematic but the fact that they are the people who step in when the woman is seen to have failed.

This mother hired her obstetrician, because she believed the obstetrician would keep her and her baby safe. But when the OB recommended induction, the mother rejected it because it embodied “failure” on her part. She failed to go into labor on her own.

Bledsoe and Scherrer understand what the mother does not:

… As we turn to the disruptions that preoccupy US middle-class women as they contemplate the birth of a child. it is vital to keep in mind both the dangers that reproduction can entail and the science that has allowed us to imagine as common sense a safe, uninterrupted, reproductive life trajectory.

Because there’s nothing like a dead baby to ruin a birth experience!