What is natural childbirth?
Natural childbirth is childbirth respecting the physiological process of labor and birth, with medical intervention reduced to a bare minimum. Artificial rupture of the water pocket, oxytocin infusion, epidural analgesia, bladder catheterization or continuous monitoring by monitoring: these various actions practiced today almost systematically are, in the context of a natural childbirth, avoided.
A natural childbirth is only possible if the pregnancy is considered "normal", according to the WHO, "a spontaneous pregnancy, the risk is low from the beginning and throughout the work and the The child is born spontaneously in the cephalic position of the summit between the 37th and 42nd week of gestation.After the birth, the mother and the newborn are doing well. " (1)
Why use it?
Assuming that pregnancy and childbirth are not a disease but a natural process, a "happy event" that is more like the formula, some parents believe that medical intervention should be limited to its strict minimum. In this regard, the WHO recalls "that a normal delivery, provided it is low risk, requires only the careful observation of a birth attendant or skilled birth attendant able to detect early signs It requires no intervention, only encouragement, support and a little tenderness. "In France, 98% of deliveries take place in maternity wards, where the vast majority are managed according to standardized protocols justified for deliveries. with complications, whereas only 1 in 5 women has a proven need for specialized medical supervision and the intervention of an obstetrician is only necessary in 20 to 25% of births ", explains the midwife Nathalie Boéri (2).
Faced with this "hyper-medicalisation of childbirth", some women wish to reclaim the birth of their child and offer him a respected birth. This desire is part of the respectful parenting movement that emerged a decade ago. For these moms, natural childbirth is the only way to be an "actress" of their delivery. They trust their bodies and their ability to handle the natural event of birth.
This desire to reappropriate childbirth is also supported by some research, including that of Michel Odent, which tend to establish a correlation between the environment of birth and the physical, psychic and emotional health of the human being in the making (3).
Where to give birth for a natural birth?
The natural birth plan begins with the choice of the place of delivery, the most suitable for this type of delivery being:
the physiological poles or "nature rooms" of certain maternity hospitals, places representing "an alternative between childbirth in the hospital and home delivery", explains midwife Simone Thévenet;
the home as part of a home-based childbirth (AAD);
birthing centers, whose experimentation started in 2016 with 9 places, in accordance with the law of 6 December 2013;
a technical platform open to liberal midwives practicing global accompaniment.
Techniques and methods
In the context of a natural birth, certain practices must be favored to promote the physiological process of childbirth and help the future mother to manage the pain:
mobility and the choice of posture during labor and expulsion: "more and more studies have shown that mobility and postural freedom are favorable to the mechanics of childbirth", says Bernadette de Gasquet. Some positions would also have analgesic effect, allowing moms to better manage pain. Various objects can be used to adopt these positions: electric delivery bed, balloon, pancake, birthbench, suspension lianas mounted on rails or on a device consisting of a perforated chair (called multritrack or combitrack);
the use of water, for its antalgic virtues in particular, in a dilatation bath;
natural therapeutic means such as homeopathy, acupuncture, hypnosis;
moral support, with the presence of a midwife, or even a doula, throughout the duration of the work.