The Truth About the Natural Childbirth Movement

While the natural childbirth movement has gained popularity over the past few decades, not every woman is satisfied with this approach. While some women may want nothing to do with hospitals, doctors, or epidurals, others believe it has gone too far. What’s the truth? Here are a few things to consider when choosing a natural childbirth option. For a more informed choice, read this article to learn more. You’ll leave informed and ready to make the best decision for your family.


The natural childbirth movement began around the 1970s. Its founder, Fernand Lamaze, developed a psychoprophylactic method of childbirth, which focused on massage and breathing. His method, known as “the Lamaze method,” was highly controversial and was not very popular. Women were often demonized for their lack of autonomy; they were even rated on a scale of “excellent” to “fail” while in labor. More recently, another physician, Grantly Dick-Read, developed a method that involved unmedicated births.

Early advocates

Dr. John Read is considered one of the first early advocates of natural childbirth. He sought to return childbirth to its natural state, removing the influences of acculturation. He taught women how to deliver their babies “as God intended” by exercising their bodies and educating themselves about their body’s needs. His philosophy was backed by his own research and voluminous correspondence. He wrote his first version of the book in 1919, but refrained from publishing it until he had completed his obstetric training.

Influence on modern obstetrics

The influence of the natural childbirth movement on modern obstetris began in the mid to late-seventeenth century, when women began to invite male physicians into their birthing rooms. Prior to this time, men were only called in when women were unable to give birth or needed assistance during labour. In the early 1760s, the first US physician to receive formal midwifery training was Dr. William Shippen, Jr., who had trained in midwifery in Edinburgh and London. His success led to the establishment of the first normal obstetrics practice in the U.S. in 1762. Other physicians offered midwifery courses in major American cities, and obstetrics became a medical specialty by the late seventeenth century. This practice became widespread and eventually medical schools incorporated it into their curriculum.

Impact on women’s health

A WHO supplement on the impact of the natural childbirth movement on women’s health documents some of the traumatic experiences of mother and newborn during birth, as well as some of the human rights violations that occur. This supplement shows that women and newborns in many countries face unacceptable mistreatment and violations of their fundamental human rights, including the right to informed consent, privacy, and a companion during childbirth. Such mistreatment can seriously undermine a woman’s trust in the health care system, and put her life in danger.

Impact on midwifery

The term “natural childbirth” is an umbrella term for a style of giving birth that focuses on physical and mental hygiene. This style of giving birth emerged during the interwar period as a reaction against the increasing interventionism in mainstream obstetrics. The appeal of this approach lies in its holistic approach to maternity care and its evocation of the anxieties of the late twentieth century. This paper explores some of the earliest theories of natural childbirth and outlines some of the key ideas behind it.