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World Meta-Studies of the Interaction between Medical Interventions in Childbirth and Maternal and Baby Health. International Alternatives to Hospital Delivery

Why is Childbirth Still a Business? Why is this Phenomenon Dangerous for all Countries?

We have long wanted to write an article with links to authoritative international studies with a representative sampling (the number of subjects is at least 1000 persons) in the field of pregnancy, childbirth and primal human health. We had such an opportunity in the framework of volunteer cooperation with the experts of our project - midwife Lucy Maratkanova and her husband Kolya Zhharov, who have been running the Russian speaking #BirthFree campaign since 2018, which is a branch of the international movement against obstetric violence Roses Revolution (#StopObstetricViolence) and accompany home births in Parati (Brazil). We sincerely and really thank this extraordinary married couple!♥

The article presents the results of 38 meta-studies (including randomized controlled trials). Some of the research results were taken from the website of the Primal Health Research Center, created by the world-renowned obstetrician-gynaecologist-humanist Michel Odent.

Paradise lies beneath the feet of your mother.
~ The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith

If you protect physiology from interferences so that
breastfeeding/natural births/… will self-promote, self-protect
and self-support, and so the physiological intrinsic power in the reproduction-evolution-motherhood
processes will not be disempowered and weakened ever!
~ Hilda Garst

Today, up to 98% (!) of women all over the world give birth in hospitals, regardless of how healthy they are (Marian F. MacDorman 2014; Office for National Statistics UK 2017; The Conversation 2019).

Treating pregnancy and childbirth as a disease has become the world norm (Oakley 1984; Inhorn 2006; Jónsdóttir 2012), and a woman in labour has become a priori a patient, an object of medical manipulations, often without notice and the possibility of making decisions about her own health and the health of her child. Society has contributed to the fact that in the minds of a pregnant woman/woman in childbirth/puerperas, “the doctor knows better how to give birth and behave toward the baby!” (Parry 2008).

Currently, it has been proven that medical protocols and the work schedule of Ob/Gyns prevail over the natural rhythms of the birth process (Davis-Floyd 1992; Brodsky 2008), and medical institutions are trying to keep within the framework of existing protocols, which, in turn, are created by medical officials. The emphasis is purely on the physical aspect of childbirth, ignoring the psycho emotional and spiritual components of childbirth (Baylis, F. & Sherwin 2002; Turner 1995).

International Midwifery and the Basic Needs of MotherBaby in Childbirth and the Early Postpartum

Childbirth is both a sexual and excretory process that a priori requires privacy and a sense of security (Gaskin 2011; Odent 2007). The best we can do in the process of giving birth to a healthy woman is to create the conditions under which this process will take place without hindrance.

It is crucially important to know, take into account and protect the basic needs in childbirth and the first 1-3 hours after giving birth (Ehrhardt 2011) for mothers, their relatives, doctors and medical health officers.

What is the Danger in Hospitals (Maternity Hospitals) of All Countries?

  • a neglect of the woman’s basic needs during childbirth leads to the inhibition or complete halt of the birth process (Odent 2019, Meghan A. Bohren et al 2015);
  • an alien and dangerous bacterial environment for the child (there is no time for the formation of an adaptive microbiome) (Odent 2016; Dunn 2017);
  • a set of dangerous routine (usually avalanche, cascading) interventions in the natural process of a healthy woman, such as:
    • birth induction (e.g., pitocin, misoprostol, amniotomy и т. д.) (Gregory 2013; Cochrane Database 2013; Cohain 2013, Miracle in the Heart social project et al. 2016);
    • labour augmentation with the artificial oxytocin (Mansy 2017; Belghiti 2011; Oscarsson 2010);
    • epidural anaesthesia (Buckley 2005; D’Angelo et al 2014; Penuela et al 2019);
    • forceps and vacuum extractor (Bentley et al 2018; Xie et al 2013; Jeon et al 2017);
    • episiotomy (perineum dissection) (Shiono et al 1990; Gün et al 2016);
    • Kristeller maneuver (fundal pressure by pushing on the mother's abdomen during labour) (Habek et al 2008; Moiety et al 2014; Zanconato et al 2014);
    • others.
    causes irreparable harm to the health of MotherBaby at the physical, neurological and immune levels (Peters et al 2018; Gregory 2013; Kero 2002);
  • the incredible percentage of Caesarean sections in the world is increasing every year (Wise 2018; O'Neill 2016; Diagram 1):

    Diagram 1

    So, in Brazil today in some states the percentage of Caesarean section reaches 80% (!) (Quadros 2000Diagram 2):

    Diagram 2

  • Caesarean section and other unreasonable medical interventions are associated with an increased risk of complications for mother and child compared with natural childbirth (Declercq et al. 2013; Magnus 2011; Mascarello et al 2017; Lavender et al. 2012; Diagram 3):

    Diagram 3

  • obstetric violence. This is a true phenomenon that is widespread in the modern world, but often not recognized by doctors and women (Ricoy 2011 website). Types of obstetric violence include insulting, neglecting, restricting movement, separation from the baby, any manipulations carried out without the consent of a woman, etc. Acts of obstetric violence leave an indelible mark of experienced humiliation in a woman's life (Ricoy 2016; WHO 2014; Sánchez 2014);
  • a woman who transferred responsibility for her birth to a doctor does not go through the most important transformational process - initiation, transition from girl to woman!

Why is Giving Birth an International Business?

Hospital obstetrics today is a huge business and harms the mental and physical health of women and babies (The Conversation 2019; Indie film/Documentary 2008). Home midwifery has also acquired a shade of elitism (in many countries of the world, home midwifery is illegal, so home (including authentic) midwives put a high price tag on their accompanying births outside the hospital.

There is nothing reprehensible in doing business when all interested parties have equal rights and freedoms, the terms of transactions are transparent, there is no coercion and hiding information, and the goal is mutual satisfaction of desires without prejudice to any of the interested parties.

Childbirth in a hospital is a completely different business: it is based on the interests of the corporate industry (Indie film / Documentary 2008). The risks of medical interventions are hushed up, the natural approach is discredited, and the fear of childbirth is amplified in the minds of women and society, arguing that "the only reasonable option for childbirth" is medical care in a hospital (medical birth). As a result, 98% of all women in labour are forced to make “deals” during childbirth in the hospital (Marian F. MacDorman 2014; Office for National Statistics UK 2017; The Conversation 2019). Then the withdrawal of money is “a matter of technique”!

Routine use of drugs means a constant demand for pharmaceutical products, and the child’s undermined health entails a new demand for drugs and medical services in the future. The routine use of the expensive Caesarean section is extremely profitable for the medical system and entails an increase in the salaries of medical personnel (Vedantam 2013; Currie et al 2013; Blanchard 2018).

At the same time, it is obvious that there is no need to use medical technologies to accompany normal physiological births (Odent 2007; J Perinat Educ 2013; Lothian 2014), while for the management of pathological births and observation of women at high risk, it’s reasonable to use medications and medical technologies.

Not surprisingly, an increasing number of families are looking for healthy alternatives to hospital birth (Scarf 2016; Pray 2013; Morris 2017; Table 1; Diagram 4; Figure 1, Diagram 5):

Table 1

Diagram 4

Figure 1

Diagram 5

Our dear obstetrician-gynaecologist, researcher Michel Odent says that in the modern world, from the perspective of a human primal health, its immune and bacteriological environment, one needs to consider homebirth, and then childbirth in any other place. Homebirth is the preferred birth option for a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy (Olsen 2008; de Jonge et al 2009; Hutton et al 2009; Consensus Statement 2013).

In this regard, birthing centers have appeared in the world since the 1980s, and birthing hotels since the 2010s.

A birthing center (freestanding or hospital affiliated) is a place where a pregnant woman consults and has birth attendance by midwives (only in some states of the USA doctors still work in birhting centers) to organize natural births (childbirth without medical interventions) (Diagram 6):

Diagram 6

The characteristics of the world's existing birth places, as well as the limitations and disadvantages of birthing centers and birthing hotels are presented in Table 2 and recent studies (Stapleton et al 2013; Dekker 2013; Larsen 2016; Outten 2017; Assessment of Birth Settings 2013):

Table 2_1

Table 2_2

Table 2_3

Table 2_4

Michel Odent has repeatedly noted throughout his life in books and seminars that it is preferable to have as less people as possible accompanied in childbirth, ideally one silent professional midwife (Odent 2012), who knows and protects the basic needs of mother and baby in childbirth and early postpartum ("the golden hour"). It has also been proven that in the presence of a professional (including authentic) midwife, who provided the perinatal preparation for childbirth, women easily choose unassisted births (Eisenstein 1988; Vogel 2011; Freeze 2008).


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