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Labour & birth
13/04/2015 at 10:39
Childbirth 'guru' Sheila Kitzinger died yesterday at the age of 86. And we'd love to know what you think about her lifetime's work to change attitudes about labour and birth.
Sheila believed passionately that childbirth shouldn't be medicalised – and that it should be more woman-centred and humanised.
At a time when most mums-to-be were routinely given enemas and episiotomies, it was Sheila who suggested that we should draw up a birth plan, and that we should be able to decide for ourselves if we wanted to move around during labour (rather than have to lie down on a bed) and if we'd like to give birth in water. She promoted the idea of learning relaxation and breathing techniques to make contractions more bearable.
More controversially, Sheila suggested we should accept labour pain as 'pain with a purpose' and even see it as a sensual experience.
But she wasn't a 'natural childbirth or nothing' type. She supported elective Caesareans and accepted that some of us don't find labour as easy as she did (she had 5 children of her own).
Her goal, above all, was for the needs and wishes of women to be put at the centre of childbirth.
What do you think of her? Had you heard of her before today? Do you like what she stood for? Or not? Do you think our experiences of labour and birth have been made better or worse because of her work?
Do let us know what you think by adding a post to this thread. We'd love to know your thoughts!
13/04/2015 at 20:06
No I've not heard of her. Sounds like she was an amazing woman.
14/04/2015 at 21:26
I have heard of her but unfortunately the work of women like her & others like Ina May Gaskin doesn't seem to have really changed attitudes to labour & birth. Most women you speak to are still afraid of labour & see it as a medical thing that should take place in a hospital setting & not take control over their birth.
I think there's a very long way to go to make birth seem the natural thing it is (or can be)
15/05/2015 at 04:13
I just read her book Birth and Sex and loved it. I find her approach inspiring and totally sensible. We live in a culture obsessed with risk and controlled by fear. Sheila's writing has opened my eyes and I hope to follow in her footsteps with my birth in November.
04/06/2015 at 01:38
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