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Natural Childbirth

In natural childbirth, birth takes place with no medical intervention. Medical interventions during childbirth include: giving anesthesia for pain; giving other drugs such as Pitocin to speed up labor; performing an episiotomy, in which the perineum or the area between a woman's vagina and anus is cut, ostensibly to reduce tearing in that area; and attaching an electrode to the baby's scalp to monitor heart rate. In natural childbirth the idea is that the mother's body naturally knows what to do and unless there are problems, interventions are not necessary or desirable. Pain control consists of the use of different breathing patterns (such as the Lamaze method), imagery, massage, or related techniques. Mothers may be encouraged to walk around and try positions such as squatting. Both of these methods may help labor to go faster and better. In Western countries, midwives, nurses, or physicians may facilitate such births. These births can take place at home, at birthing centers, or in hospitals.


Garcia, Jo, Martina Corry, Dermot MacDonald, Diana Elbourne, and Adrian Grant. "Mothers' Views of Continuous Electronic Fetal Heart Monitoring and Intermittent Auscultation in a Randomized Controlled Trial." Birth 12 (1985):79-85.

Low, Lisa K., Julia S. Seng, Terri L. Murtland, and Deborah Oakley. "Clincian-Specific Episiotomoy Rates: Impact on Perinatal Outcomes." Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health 45 (2000):87-93.

Walker, Nancy C., and Beverley O'Brien. "The Relationship between Method of Pain Management during Labor and Birth Outcomes." Clinical Nursing Research 8 (1999):119-134.

Michael Lamport Commons

Patrice Marie Miller

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 6