- 1 Best-selling Dianetics Explains Reason for Silent Birth
- 2 Bradley Method of Childbirth Stresses Quiet Delivery
- 3 “Birth Without Violence,” says Frederick LeBoyer
- 4 Medical Establishment Acknowledges Fetal Awareness and the Effects of Birth Trauma
- 5 Movement Away from Gentle Childbirth Takes Toll on Children
- 6 Inducing Labor for Convenience
Best-selling Dianetics Explains Reason for Silent Birth
L. Ron Hubbard wrote in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, In May, 1950, that expectant mothers should be extremely gentle on themselves during pregnancy. He also advocated that people assisting a woman giving birth maintain silence during delivery.
“So a child should have a very quiet prenatal period, and should have a silent, as painless as possible, birth.,” and, “the delivery itself should carry as little anesthetic as possible, be as calm and no-talk as possible.”
Mr. Hubbard also recommended:
“It is a remarkable fact…that the healthiest children come from the happiest mothers. Birth, for one thing…is a very mild affair. … A happy woman has very little trouble.”
This viewpoint was in stark contrast to the practices of the day, where delivery rooms were brightly lit, noisy places and women were heavily drugged. In the 1960s and 1970s alternative popular natural childbirth methods evolved from principles of a calm, quiet, and relaxed birthing environment and little or no anesthesia. These methods also promote that a positive emotional attitude on the part of the mother is an essential component of to a better delivery.
Bradley Method of Childbirth Stresses Quiet Delivery
Founder of the Bradley Method, Robert A. Bradley, M.D. urged darkness and solitude, quiet, physical comfort and relaxation, and closed eyes. Adherents of the Bradley Method encourage the use of midwives rather than ‘technical oriented’ doctors. Parents should take the responsibility for the birth place, procedures and emergency back-up. Bradley teaches conditioning exercises and muscle relaxation in labor. A slow, deep breathing, take-your-time approach is advocated in a quiet, unlit, pillow-laden environment.
“We warn husbands to be quiet and not disruptive, to rub the back between contractions.”
Robert A. Bradley, M.D. March, 1965
“Birth Without Violence,” says Frederick LeBoyer
The LeBoyer Method, introduced by French obstetrician Frederick LeBoyer in the 1970’s, allows the baby to be born amid dim lights. He wrote:
“Babies are handled gently and without sudden movement that may jar or startle the baby.”
As for the birth experience itself, he recommended no talking.
“Nothing could be simpler: be silent. Easy? Less so than it might seem. By nature we’re talkers. Even when our lips are still, the interior monologue does not slow down. Besides, to be silent in someone else’s company is so unsettling that we rarely attempt it. To be silent, attentive, to listen, to hear that which is unspoken – all this demands great effort.
“This apprenticeship of silence – so indispensable for mothers – is just as important for those who perform the delivery: the obstetricians, the attendants.
“People speak loudly in the delivery room. The calls to “push, push” are rarely whispered.
“So profoundly wrong.
“These loud outbursts upset the mother more than help her. Lowered voices can relax her. And do far more for her than shouting.
“Those who assist in deliveries must learn this new silence. They too must be prepared to receive the child with care and respect.
Birth Without Violence
Medical Establishment Acknowledges Fetal Awareness and the Effects of Birth Trauma
When L. Ron Hubbard wrote of the need for a calm, quiet birthing environment he was speaking in terms of protecting the mother and the newborn from the harmful spiritual effects of a traumatic birth.
While the medical establishment does not address spiritual concerns, it is becoming increasingly aware that the fetus is sentient and that the physical and emotion trauma of birth can have adverse effects on the baby throughout life.
In 1958, D.W. Winnicott, M.D., author of Birth Trauma and Anxiety, wrote:
“There is evidence that personal experience is significant and is held as memory material. When birth trauma is significant, every detail of impingement and reaction is, as it were, etched on the patient’s memory, in a way to which we have been accustomed when patients relive traumatic experiences of later life.”
In his 1981 book, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, Thomas Verny, M.D., wrote:
“[T]he unborn child is a feeling, remembering, aware being, and because he is, what happens to him—what happens to all of us—in the nine months between conception and birth molds and shapes personality, drives and ambitions in very important ways.”
This viewpoint has been echoed by other scientific findings. For example, in August 2001, the Medical Research Council of Edinburgh University issued a finding “a fetus was absolutely aware of pain by 24 weeks.” This is earlier than the 26 weeks previously generally accepted by medical specialists.
Further, concerning the adverse effects on the newborn of the drugs given a mother in a “traditional” birth, psychologist David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D. wrote, in “What Babies Are Teaching Us About Violence” (1995), that:
“A seven-year study of over 3,000 babies showed long-lasting effects on their behavior and muscular function. Many children born to mothers given drugs were slow to start sitting, standing, and walking. By age seven, some of these children were lagging in language learning skills of perception and memory.”
A 1998 Swedish study published in the British Medical Journal showed that children who have had traumatic and painful births are more likely to end their lives with violent suicide. That study concluded with the recommendation that “minimizing pain and discomfort to the infant during birth seems to be of importance in reducing the risk of committing suicide by violent means as an adult.”
Movement Away from Gentle Childbirth Takes Toll on Children
Despite knowing these things, the trend in recent years has been away from natural childbirths toward induced labor and cesarean sections.
Since 1996, the trend has been away from natural childbirth toward the medical model. A report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on September 22, 2005, found that rate of cesareans for low-risk first time mothers had decreased by 15 percent between 1990 and 1996. It then increased over the next 7 years, reaching 23.6 percent in 2003, the highest rate ever reported in the United States.
One in five births in the United States are induced. Induction is the act of causing or bringing on labor. Some women need to be induced because some babies clearly need to enter the world a little sooner than nature intended. But in recent years, induction by choice — for convenience’ sake — has been on the rise.
Inducing Labor for Convenience
In 2002, the rate of induction increased to 20.6 percent of all births, more than double the 1989 rate of 9 percent. It’s no coincidence that the rate of cesarean delivery from 1989 to 2002 increased as well — from 7 percent to 26.1 percent of all births, the highest rate ever reported in the United States. Studies have shown that induction of labor may increase the risk of cesarean delivery in women who have never borne children before.
In fact, fewer and fewer babies are born on Saturday or Sunday, due in part to the large number of scheduled cesareans but also to the fact that inductions are rarely performed on weekends. In 2002, there were 14.2 percent more births on Tuesday than on any other weekday.
It has been suggested that the increasing induction rates may be partly related to an increase in “elective” inductions — inductions performed even though they’re not medically necessary. In a study of variation in induction rates among hospitals and clinicians, 25 percent of inductions had no apparent medical indication. While higher induction rates are found in smaller or rural hospitals than in university or federally controlled hospitals, statistics show that it’s better educated women with private medical insurance who are being induced.
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