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To answer this questions, first we have to have a definition of natural birth, because it can have different meaning to different people. For our community, the definition of natural birth is birth that ensues with the laboring mother and baby leading, without unnecessary interventions. That implies that the mother is the one who makes decisions on whether or not she needs an intervention to continue with her labor in safe and controlled manner.
Now, we have to apply this definition to our question, is natural childbirth better for babies? Here are the top 3 reasons we think natural birth is better.
1. The flow of birth is natural
When birth is free of unnecessary interventions, babies and their laboring mothers are able to work together to allow the process of birth to unfold according to their natural rhythm.
When the timing of birth is augmented, the communication between mother and baby can become disjointed and lead to a more difficult labor, and may even result in what is called the "cascade of interventions", where one intervention leads to a whole range of them and a labor that becomes managed by the caregivers instead of the laboring mother.
2. Undisrupted bonding
When birth is allowed to unfold according to it's natural timing, the bonding period between mother and newborn that naturally follows birth happens without disruption. When mother and newborn are allowed to bond immediately after birth, when the levels of bonding hormones are high for both of them, the post-pregnancy period is often calmer and smoother for the new family.
When bonding is strong from the start, postpartum mothers can reduce their chance of postpartum depression, breastfeeding starts off with less difficulty, and babies develop stronger immune systems and better sleeping habits.
3. Sense of fulfillment and no "what if" questions
One of the most important things for a satisfying birth experience is for new parents to be left without any questions about what happened in their birth. When birth is filled with interventions that the parents didn't expect and don't really understand the need for, they end up wondering "what if" - what if they had waited longer, what if they had tried harder, what if they had asked more questions first? These questions can never really be answered, and often the disappointment of a "failed birth" stay with parents for years.
When birth is in their control and they have open conversations with their birth team, they are not left with "what if" questions. Even if birth takes unexpected directions, they still feel fulfilled with their birth because they know they did what was necessary for the birth outcome they envisioned. When parents are not left with unanswered questions, they are able to put all their attention and focus on their newborn and family and not wrestle with disappointment. This is always better for babies!
Those are just 3 reasons that we believe natural birth is better for babies. Want to learn more? Visit our site to learn how we support parents who are choosing natural birth at NaturalBirthCompass.com.
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