The fear of vaginal birth

Although it was awhile ago, the discussion we had about birth in class stuck with me. As members of our cultural society, it’s difficult to differentiate between what’s actually true and what we think is true because of culture. In class, someone mentioned breech babies and how that position necessitated a cesarean section – but it doesn’t. Health and medicine in general have become very medicalized. Normal development processes like  menopause are now considered “conditions.”

This article provides a concise overview of why cesarean section births are on the rise. In class, Nelle had provided an example of how cesarean sections weren’t always the best option. The pressure involved in passing through the birth canal actually helps remove amniotic fluid from the baby’s lungs. Therefore, when a baby is delivered surgically, he or she may go on to develop issues like asthma and other respiratory challenges – all because of the manner in which he or she was born.

When researching the other benefits to a vaginal delivery, I came across one noteworthy example. Throughout the semester, we have talked about gut microflora and its influence on an individual’s health. Well, there’s evidence that supports the idea of a cesarean section  birth may stunting development of gut microflora. From other readings, we know that gut microflora influences digestion, metabolism, cardiovascular health and more. Additionally, babies born vaginally had gut microflora similar to that of their mother’s, while babies born by cesarean section had gut microflora similar to the bacterial colonies found on skin surfaces. I’m sure there are numerous other effects of delivery mode on both the mother and baby’s health outcomes. I think it’s important to be informed with evidence-based research, primarily because as we saw in class, we are all dramatically influenced by culture.

Here are links to the two articles I found:

One thought on “The fear of vaginal birth

  1. I don’t think I was the one in class to say it, but I was also under the impression that a breeched baby automatically warranted a Cesarian. It truly is amazing how somehow cultural ideas and myths infiltrate society so much that they can even become psuedo-scientific fact.

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