Childbirth - Stories, Videos and History
Childbirth stories -- especially those from the average, everyday woman -- can help any new expecting mom prepare for having a baby, especially if it's a first time pregnancy. You can get information about the entire process from other women like family members or women in your community. A childbirth video can also provide some information. These types of videos are meant to be educational and, in most cases, real-life women honestly share their experiences about labor and delivery.
Celebrity Childbirth Stories
In our modern culture we have an obsession with the lives of other people, specifically high profile people who have been categorized as celebrities. We want to know what they're wearing, what they're doing, when they're pregnant, when they plan to give birth and how they plan to give birth. Sometimes there's speculation whether a certain celebrity will go the natural childbirth route. It's likely that if the media was permitted to watch childbirth of a celebrity child, the recorded event would be one of the most highly watched events of all time. It's probably for this reason, and the desire for some privacy, that there aren't many celebrity childbirth stories.
American actress and television host Rikki Lake is one of the few celebrities, albeit not a high profile celebrity, who made the details of her pregnancies and births public in a 2007 documentary called "The Business of Being Born." In her personal childbirth movie she advocates having a baby with as little medical intervention as possible in a similar way that women have given birth for thousands of years throughout childbirth history. Nicole Ritchie was also quoted as saying she wanted natural childbirth "without an epidural or any other painkillers." Angelina Jolie was often quoted in media saying that she wanted to give birth to her twins naturally. In her case this likely didn't refer to a drug-free labor and delivery but to a vaginal birth instead of a c-section which is what she had with her first biological child.
Childbirth History and the Modern Woman
There are some childbirth photos depicting the process of labor and delivery from 100 or 200 years ago, but there isn't much of a visual record before this time. Most information about the history of childbirth was passed orally through the generations and eventually written down.
The attitudes and process of birth has changed a little over history. Originally midwives were in attendance and more focus was placed on listening to the woman's body and letting her do what she needed to do to give birth to her child. It wasn't until recently in the history of the world that having a baby became seen as an event that needed to be medically managed.
What the modern parents can learn from childbirth history is that the entire event can be a natural process. It doesn't need to be micro-managed and the micro-managing of childbirth in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s often lead to complications. (Think about unsterilized forceps use and the Twilight Sleep of the 1920s that often ended up with babies being born with breathing problems.)
That said, the advancements in medical technology shouldn't be dismissed either. But a woman should ultimately have a say in the type of treatment she receives and whether or not she would like to take advantage of medical advancements in pain relief. Women should be permitted to listen to their own bodies and should not, for example, be forced to remain in a single position during their entire labor. Movement is good for labor progression and shifting the baby down the pelvis. Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should also have the right to refuse being monitored to anything that could prevent movement.