Alternative birthing centers reduce drug use, promote more natural births

Sunday, October 31, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: natural birthing, babies, health news

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(NaturalNews) Where you have your baby can determine how natural the birth is, says a new review in The Cochrane Library. According to an analysis of over 10,000 women from various randomized trials, those who bear children in alternative birthing centers rather than in conventional hospital rooms require less pregnancy drugs and other unnatural interventions.

Hospital rooms, where most women have their babies, can be dreary and drab, indicative more of sickness and death than of a new life coming into the world. Alternative birthing centers, on the other hand, feel more like home with comforting, peaceful decor in a relaxed setting.

In the alternative birth setting, women use roughly 18 percent less epidural anesthesia, 22 percent less oxytocin, and are 17 percent less likely to have an episiotomy. They are also 11 percent less likely to require a Caesarean section.

According to Ellen Hodnott, author of the study and chair of perinatal nursing research at the University of Toronto, woman who give birth in alternative facilities are nearly twice as likely as those who birth in hospitals to be satisfied with the overall experience. And these same women are more likely to breastfeed their children as well.

"Birth environment affects not only the women who are laboring but also the behavior of care providers," explained Hodnett. "In a setting that seems less 'medical', staff might listen to women more, empowering them to make their own choices."

Because all the women were randomly assigned to birth settings apart from their personal preferences, it is undeniable that the birth setting itself plays a primary role in both the quality of the pregnancy and in how natural it ends up being.

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