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Fear or Peace in Childbirth

A story in the Sydney Morning Herald contrasts two women's birth experiences to discuss how modern birthing practices -- especially the hospital delivery -- can make childbirth more difficult, frightening and, therefore, painful.

Birth Rights and Wrongs tells the story of two women. One needed to have a forceps delivery after the baby's respiration fell; the other had a meditative, empowering home birth. The woman with the hospital birth had many conflicting feelings -- and a great deal of pain.

The article points out that animals give birth in quiet, secluded places and only when they feel safe. These conditions allow oxytocin to flow, producing rhythmic contractions that speed the infant through the birth canal without undue pain. It takes a balanced approach to the issue of hospital versus home deliveries, while making a case for birthing procedures that are soothing, instead of anxiety-provoking.