Does the method of childbirth a woman chooses have an impact on that child’s development? This is a good question with a variety of answers. Many countries and cultures view childbirth in different ways. For some it is all about the mother’s different positions, different breathing, and people in attendance. For some it is all about what is safe, what is an ideal position or environment for the child to enter this world in? For some cultural customs must be followed, for some states or government laws that must be followed. So to say women have the choice of how they give birth, is true to some extant within the confinements of their cultural and or country.
I gave birth in the U.S., and I felt like I did have options of how I wanted to give birth to an extant. However, if you want to veer away from a traditional hospital birth in the U.S. it can be more difficult to find information and the support needed, but not impossible. I had originally thought a water birth was the way I wanted to deliver my child. I thought this method seemed like a more natural transition into this new world from the world the child was leaving inside the womb. I was not able to find much information about this type of birth in my local area. My husband did not feel comfortable being out of a hospital to give birth in case of complications. I was not able to find any hospitals in our area that used the water birth method. In the end, we choose a more traditional hospital birth.
My first child’s traditional hospital birth that was more difficult. I went from wanting no epidural and using only my Lamaze training, to being induced and the pain hitting at once, and then wanting the epidural. I have scoliosis and it was hard to administer the epidural. After several, unsuccessful tries I choose not to continue with the epidural. I was given another type of pain medication, that gave me relief from some of the pain, but made me tiered and I just want to sleep after giving birth. We made it through with a beautiful healthy baby boy who is now 10 and is healthy and happy.
For my next pregnancy, I choose my OBGYN while at my nephew birth. This doctor was wonderful, caring, firm, and attentive. I knew she would deliver my next child. This was a completely different experience from my first child’s birth. I was comfortable and confident in my doctor. We worked together to create the birthing plan I wanted, from the choice of using or not using pain medication to the music, I did or did not want. I was educed again and I had my epidural planned. I enjoyed the time in the hospital before and after the birth. Having the epidural planned and properly administered for this birth, I was able to be excited about the process that was coming not dread the pain. I was relaxed and enjoyed the company of friends and family. I was alert and excitedly waited to deliver my son. I was able to give birth with reduced pain, and less stress, and hold and comfort my son immediately. I now have two boys who are happy and healthy and are able to thrive.
I shared these experiences because I do not think there is a right or wrong way to give birth as long as the mother and child are safe. I do know having a plan that allowed me to feel relaxed, confident, and in less pain made my experience better for my son and me. I feel because my son was able to come into this world in a calm environment were I was able to hold and love him from the moment he was born was most important for us. I feel that the key to successful birthing is making an individual plan that allows the family to feel confidant, relaxed, and enjoy the process.
Back to the original question, do I think the method of childbirth a woman chooses affects the child’s development? No, I do not, unless the child experiences physical trauma to their body and or brain that is untreatable do to the birthing process. I feel some births are more traumatic than others are for the child and the mother. I do not think the less traumatic birthing with my second child changed his ability to develop in a natural progression any different from my first son. If both the mother and the child are able to receive the care and the medical attention need they should both be able to continue to grow physical and emotionally in a positive progression. I feel the biggest impact of future child development is what happens after the child is born. Are they loved? Are they cared for properly? Are they safe? Is their medical and emotional needs meet? Do the adults in their life have the financial and emotional support they need?