Behind Closed Doors: Why Childbirth Education Began

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Have you considered why childbirth education began?

Imagine it is 100 years ago- a time when birth all around the world took place in our homes. Birth was a part of our social, family life. Women gathered to offer support, nurturing, and comfort measures. Consider what it would have been like for you growing up at that time. Do you have any younger siblings? You would have been present at their birth, and if not right in the room, you would have seen your mother moving, eating drinking, changing position, and using the many different comforts that were offered to her by her circle of support.

Do you have younger female cousins? Years past, your mother may have gone to offer her support, and in doing so, as a young girl you might have come along and again been present for the labor- hearing the sound of women in labor, and coming in the room right after the baby was born. Add to these experiences, births of close family friends and you can begin to count how many births you may have experienced before it was time for you to give birth to your first child.

Between 1920 and 1950 all around the world we started breaking the knowledge and information that women shared with women about childbirth. Thank you Dr. Lamaze, Childbirth Without Fear, and Husband Coached Childbirth were some of the early books that male physicians wrote or influenced to help women learn what they had lost when we moved birth into the hospital behind closed doors. Women’s ways and wisdom was replaced by what male physicians suggested that we needed to know. It is only in the last 30 plus years that woman like myself- mothers, birth workers experiencing hundreds of births- are able to retell and share the stories and knowledge that we are reclaiming.

Sadly, you are part of the first few generations in human history where the first birth you may see is your own….

Behind Closed Doors

In the 1950s, with the new dynamic of birth being behind closed doors- women were alone, drugs and twilight sleep were given, and as a result the knowledge of how to work with our bodies in birth was lost and fear grew. I can’t even imagine what it was like for the many women who found themselves alone, in a hospital gown, put down with a wheel chair and tied to bed (yes they were tied with lambs wool). How different this was from being in your own home, in your own clothes and familiar textiles and fabrics, surrounded by those who love you. While we have had benefits of hospital birth, there is much to ponder and question of what we have lost and what we can birth forward in new ways. Please share your comments here- what was your exposure to childbirth?


Childbirth Education is now essential and naturally we are very proud of Pain to Power Online Childbirth that provides you this missing link with information, comfort measures and techniques I have gathered from 100’s of women and attending births around the world. Learn more today about Pain to Power Online Childbirth Education

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