Monday, July 20, 2009

Now, what is a physiological birth again?

So, this is a post from the STBA blog that I transfered to here:

Saturday, May 2, 2009
A friend emailed me the following question:
Hi Carrie,
What do you mean by "physiological birth"? e.g. with no anesthetic drugs/epidural, etc.? without inducing the birth with tocolytic drugs? or do you mean birth in a bathtub? or giving birth in a football player starting position vs. lithotomy position? or something else entirely?

My response:
I'd like to pose the question to the blog readers:
Physiological is a descriptive word used to depict something as normal and natural... Is a birth with no anesthetic drugs/epidural normal and natural? What about births that are induced by tocolytic drugs? Are they normal? Are pools of water or half clad squatting women normal and natural in childbirth?

What do you think?

Posted by Carrie K at 3:18 PM

LizD said...
I personally think physiological birth implies that a woman is able and enabled to listen to her body during the labor/birth process as completely, with as little intervention, as possible. If that means she walks around during the majority of her labor, moans or screams, slow dances, or sits in one spot, that should be facilitated as best as possible. It is also important for her to do this in whatever location she feels safest.
May 12, 2009 7:53 PM

Beth Overton, CPM said...
Hey Carrie, I'm going to try and write an article about this question for you. I really prefer the term "physiological" to "natural" because I find that "natural" has TOO broad a meaning these days. It is really sad to me that too many people think "natural" only means the baby was born vaginally and not be c-section. There is NOTHING natural about being strapped to monitors, told to lie still on your back while you are given all kinds of drugs to control YOUR birth. That is NOT natural. But sadly, too many people in our culture don't understand natural birth. So when we use the term "physiological" it makes them think more. :-)
May 13 2009 6:23 AM


  1. So... what, then, is physiological birth?

  2. Physiological birth, as used on this site, is defined at the top of the website page:
    "A physiological birth is a birth that is characteristic of the body’s normal, healthy functioning. It refers to the organic processes and phenomena of birth."

    I would characterize my last birth as a physiological birth. I did not use any drugs throughout the laboring process. I listened to my body's cravings for movement, food and drink. I accepted the calm and sensitive comfort from my husband and midwives. My body moved into squating position and pushed the baby out when she was ready to be delievered. My body delivered the placenta without help of any drugs. I took a warm herb, took some "after ease" (an herb meant to relieve the pain associated with cramps) and fell asleep with my baby.