Dynamic Positions in Birth: A Fresh Look at How Women's Bodies Work in Labour

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Margaret Jowitt
2014 | paperback | 224pp | 216x135mm
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2nd edition coming Autumn 2020

Most women give birth in hospitals, institutions modelled around the needs of the people who work there. The delivery room is designed around the obstetric bed which was designed for the benefit of the obstetrician rather than the woman giving birth. Despite research showing the benefit of upright positions in labour and birth, most women in the UK still give birth in the semi-reclined position, pushing their baby out against the forces of gravity. The author argues that unnatural positions make labour and birth more painful and difficult for modern women than it was for their ancestors. How did we come to put the needs of care givers those of the labouring woman? Is there anything that can be done? Starting with a short history of birth furniture, Birth Attitudes goes on to explore the anatomy and physiology of labour from an evolutionary perspective and explores how rethinking positions for labour and birth could benefit mothers and their babies.

Equally important is the need to change attitudes to birth so that women are encouraged to play a more active part in the birth of their babies instead of being subjected to clinical interventions designed to mitigate the adverse effects of labouring in a starkly unnatural environment. The author argues that it is possible to have the best of both worlds, to give women a better chance of giving birth naturally while not compromising safety. The book concludes by introducing a new birth chair designed around women's need for physical support in the hospital delivery room, during labour as well as for the birth, a design that will encourage women to adopt a more positive upright attitude to bringing their babies into the world.


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