So as we can see, the evidence is piling up in favour of natural birth at home and pointing away from unnecessary medical intervention. So why is the intervention rate so high if most women will not experience complications? Well here is an interesting fact: according to ‘Statistica’, the market size of obstetrics and gynaecology is $24.4 billion a year!
While there are many reasons for the overuse of medical intervention, it does appear there is a financial incentive for the use of caesareans. A paper published by The Nation Bureau of economic research states “doctors might make a few hundred dollars more for a c-section compared to a vaginal delivery, and a hospital might make a few thousand dollars more” (Johnson and Rehavi). To quote an article in NPR, “Johnson and Rehavi decided to explore the reasons for the increased number of surgical childbirth procedures via an unusual tack: They hypothesized that obstetricians would be less likely to be swayed by financial incentives when patients themselves had significant medical expertise and knowledge. By contrast, the researchers figured, such incentives might play a larger role in medical decision-making when patients knew very little. In some ways, this is analogous to what happens when people take their cars to mechanics. People who are knowledgeable about cars are likely to push back against unnecessary repairs, whereas those who don’t know much about cars are less likely to take issue with the mechanic’s advice.”
The analogy made about cars is a perfect example of how the medicalisation of childbirth has been able to continue. If women are not educated in birth physiology and they do not even realise they have rights, then of course this practice will long continue.
Women have been indoctrinated with the belief that they must hand over their births to the experts. Autonomy is rare and we must speak up about this.
As we do not realise we have the right to decline intervention or, more to the point, understand that many procedures offered to us are unnecessary, we continue to be coerced into a state of disempowerment. People conduct more research on buying their next car or organising a wedding than they would on birth. We must empower women to know they have autonomy over their bodies. We have the right to ask questions, we have the right to ask for evidence-based research when told we ‘have’ to be induced, we ‘have’ to have a caesarean, or we ‘have’ to have a vaginal exam. You would not go to a hair salon, ask for a cut and blow dry, only to be told, “sorry we only dye hair here so that’s what you are getting”. No! You would go elsewhere. So why are your childbirth options any different? Well, it does not appear many women realise they have options!
That is why I created ‘When Push Comes To Shove‘. An EBE award nominated company. Not for profit and soon to be charity. We are a one stop shop for birth. We offer support worldwide! (Please note we do not offer medical advice, only information to make informed decisions, but we do refer to medical practitioners) We offer :
- Doula Support (Throughout the UK and are able to find travelling doulas or international doulas for you).
- Online birth workshops to educate women on birth physiology and their rights in childbirth.
- Free weekly zoom meetings for emotional support.
- Free YouTube content (interviews with professionals such as doctors, midwives and doulas).
- We help countless women navigate the system when their hospital has told them they are not ‘allowed’ to birth how they would like.
- We offer a school education programme to teach children about childbirth. We aim to arm children with enough information so when they grow up and have families of their own, they are not fearful of their bodies.
- Continuity of carer access fund for those on a low income. (doulas or independent midwives)
- A shop! Be proud to be a birth nerd and have a t-shirt that says so!
While there are other organisations such as the amazing ‘AIMS’ (Association for improvement in the maternity services) and ‘Birthrights’, few women know these exist.
When Push Comes To Shove takes a different approach. We hope to get the message of informed consent to pop culture and not just inside an echo chamber preaching to the converted. As well as an experienced birth worker, I am also an accomplished singer/songwriter. I have released a single ‘Breathe Again’ which aims to spread the movement of ‘When Push Comes To Shove‘ to a wider audience. The very emotive music video contains footage of real women in the moments soon after birth, as well as midwives singing along to the chorus! We want to empower women globally! Money earned from the sale of the song will go straight into ‘WPCTS‘ so we can continue to serve women. We also rely on donations to help with the access fund. You can find our ‘go fund me’ page on our linktree.
I also urge women to buy the must-have book on your rights. ‘Am I Allowed?’ 4th Edition by Beverely Lawrence Beech. This will be your birth rights bible! Every pregnant woman should have a copy!
To summarise, ladies, please step into your power, educate yourself, know what you want and ask questions. You are ‘allowed’ to birth however you see fit. We are here to help should you need support. If you would like to be interviewed for our youtube channel and tell your story please contact us on our website.
https://www.sarawickham.com/research-updates/home-birth-also-safer-for-higher-risk-wome n/ https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/the-secret-world-inside-you/microbiome-at-birth#:~:text=Th ese%20bacteria%2C%20and%20others%20that,but%20leave%20benign%20ones%20alon e.
Nickita Stark is an experienced Doula in association with ‘Maya Midwives’. She has 2 children. Nickita began her journey in midwifery, but decided it had become over medicalised, and so her Doula journey began. She is also a student of Biomedical Science.
She started the campaign ‘When Push Comes To Shove‘ after years of helping traumatised women. She aims to help spread awareness about informed consent in childbirth. Along with school education and Maternity services, WPCT will help any family navigate the birth system. WPCT have an access fund to serve low income families as well as free Zoom sessions weekly for emotional support. Their YouTube channel contains many videos that are helpful to anyone making informed decisions about their birth. They interview midwives, doulas, doctors and even celebs! WPCT is for women worldwide! As they offer Zoom birth workshops, anyone can attend!