Normal Birth

Normal Birth


Ione Brunt, CNM

Winter 2005 - Volume 9 Number 1

http://dx.doi.org/10.7812/TPP/04-125

Despite considerable debate and research over many years, the concept of "normality" in labour and delivery is not standardized or universal. Recent decades have seen a rapid expansion in the development and use of a range of practices designed to start, augment, accelerate, regulate, or monitor the physiological process of labour with the aim of improving outcomes for mothers and babies ....1

The statement above begins the preamble of Care in Normal Birth: A Report of a Technical Working Group, published by the World Health Organization (WHO).1

In our fast-paced, high-technology world, we have difficulty agreeing on what constitutes "normal birth." For some, the term is an oxymoron because they believe--as does an obstetrician friend of mine--that "pregnancy is a disease." For the purpose of this editorial, normal birth is defined as low-risk pregnancy with spontaneous onset of labor occurring between 37 and 42 weeks' gestation. Labor is allowed to progress on its own with the free movement and positioning of the mother throughout. After birth, the mother and infant are in good condition and are allowed unlimited time for breastfeeding and initiating bonding. The World Health Organization estimates that between 70% and 80% of women entering labor are at low risk.1

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