Is it the baby’s fault or the mother’s fault?
Its just not helpful to think of fetal position as being anyone's fault.
In a long labor a mother may ask “Why doesn’t this baby come out?” A helper might joke, “This is a stubborn baby.” But the baby is trying their best to fit the design of birth.
A baby will take the most optimal position possible. A mother understands the need for help that a tiny newborn may have who has rolled his face into the bars of a crib and can't roll free! Any mother could immediately see that the newborn, at this young stage of physical development, can’t tell how to roll away from the crib bars. So it is in the womb which is tightened by culturally promoted habits of poor posture, chronic tension, assaulted dignity or abuse. Sometimes even by professional years of ballet, horseback riding, extreme running or the twists and turns during work common to nurses and body workers.
Fetal malposition (when fetal position isn't lined up for a straightforward birth) isn't the mother's fault either. Any woman wants the best birth she can have. How was she to know that the common postures of our culture, the common furniture designs, would effect her childbearing?
It is never the mother’s intention to prevent her baby from naturally slipping into an ideal starting position for labor. She does the best she can in the world she grew up in. Mothers are often blamed for birth complications when the lack of support in a birth-phobic society has left her neglected, lacking in the knowledge she desires to have and from access to wise care. The mother, too, is doing her best in the situation she lives in. See the general birthing information section to learn about wise care.
But, my friend's doctor [ it could have also been a midwife or nurse] didn't let her get out of bed, and she had a cesarean for a long labor. Isn't that the doctor's fault?
It isn't the doctor's wish to have a mother suffer. Perspectives in what makes a cesarean necessary or acceptable may differ. Doctors also practice in a dynamic interaction of hospital administration, colleagues and parents. Unfortunately, not all cesareans are done only after seeing what food and gravity may offer to the labor's progress.
A woman who feels that she had a cesarean for a less than absolute necessity sometimes comes to feel mislead by her sense of trust in routine medical care. Assumptions are exposed painfully. Anger is an appropriate emotion when we are forced to change our perspective or our perspective. Women also have a dynamic role in their maternity care.
We can prevent the blame and shame spiral if we take time to find three things,
- Empowerment: Information about what we now know to be best maternity care practices,
- Equality: A care provider who is comfortable in a cooperative relationship sharing responsibility with the woman giving birth
- Voice: The clarity and the courage to state needs and desires in a way that recognizes the worth and roles of those needs and desires as well as each individual in the birth team.
Learning about fetal position is often something the mother, herself, must pursue. Relying on medical and midwifery helpers, even body workers, who are so praised in this website, may not serve every mother's needs. A mother may be told her baby is in a good position for birth only to find out later that head down is not enough.
As humans, we are, well, human. Everyone is doing the best they can with the knowledge, emotional safety and time they have within the culture they live and move in. We give birth the best we can given the day we have.