A new birth study from Queensland, Austrailia has been able to determine what makes a delivery "normal", and how more women can have one. The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) along with their Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation conducted the study. It was led by associate professor Yvette Miller who held interviews with thousands of women who had given birth within the same four-month period in Queensland.
A normal birth is defined as one that is an unassisted vaginal birth without an induction, epidural or general anesthetic, use of forceps or an episiotomy. QUT partnered with the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriage in order to find new mothers to survey. The nearly 6,000 women answered questions on four aspects that make up a normal birth. They were questioned on their onset of labor onset of labor, use of anesthetics, mode of birth, and use of episiotomy. They also shared where they received their prenatal care.
Miller found that women who had a general practitioner, standard care, or midwife continuity care were more likely to have a normal birth, than women in private obstetric care. QUT also found that only 28.7 % of women surveyed experienced a normal birth.
Miller and her team were able to identify certain factors that lead to a higher probability of having a normal birth. These factors include: living outside a major city; moving freely through labor; continued care in labor and birth; no procedures to affect labor including having their water broken or an oxytocin drip; the baby wasn't continuously electronically monitored during labor, and they gave birth not laying flat on a bed.
Normal births are much preferred because these births involve fewer complications. Miller theorizes that so many births become not typical because women are uninformed about their options. She stated, "Our other research has shown that many women in Queensland are not informed or not involved in decisions about the use of medical procedures that can affect their birth experience and outcomes."
The study discovered that most women would prefer a birth with the least amount of medical intervention. But that seems to rarely happen. Most hospitals require women to lay in bed while giving birth, and doctors will suggest medicine to speed up labor. The truth of it all is that in most cases, women put all of their trust in their doctors and nurses instead of their bodies.
As long as your pregnancy isn't high-risk, there isn't any reason why you cannot have a normal birth. Your body knows what to do and giving birth will happen naturally. The monitoring of the baby is an extra added precaution taken and in many cases, women need the epidural to endure the pain. Especially if they were given drugs to induce labor.
However, it is important to realize that some births can turn complicated and need intervention. And as always, consult with your doctor to figure out the best birth plan for you and your baby.