How should we educate parents and the larger community about birth options?
Education is best done through multiple approaches–the first is community services such as BirthLink and the internet which provide excellent information for those who are actively seeking information. Secondly, for reaching women who are not seeking but may need education there are seminars, advertisements, childbirth education classes, and advice within offices and clinics. I think another one of the best ways to educate is to encourage women who have had positive, gentle birthing experiences to talk about their experiences and encourage women to ask questions of their providers. In the age-old fashion of “women-talk”, there is much learning and inner growth.
Is it possible to experience an empowering, safe and unmedicated birth in a hospital?
Yes, I KNOW it is. There are a number of midwife practices who support non-interventive birth in the hospital. My practice has a very successful program of minimal intervention where women can experience empowering, safe and unmedicated birth. The place of birth is just one element of the birthing experience, and women make their choices based on their own perceptions of what is safe. They may need to be in a hospital to feel what they consider to be safe.
The CNMs in our practice have had home births, water births and unmedicated births for their own birth experiences and while we do not attend home births we feel that we really understand the spirit and essence of birthing. We fully support women who choose home birth, but for women who desire a hospital-based practice we offer the privacy of the Alternative Birth Center, water birth, continuous labor support, and early discharge from the hospital.
Learn more about the practice: http://westsubmidwives.com/