So recently I became aware of a "Revolutionary" new birthing technique, called "Powerbirth". I watched a video of this technique, by the founder, Lydi Ronka Owen, as well as checked out her website.
While watching the video, I was horrified. Women are excitedly following this technique, under the false premise that it's what they SHOULD be doing, that it will be faster, and that there is no risk.
In the video, and on the website ( www.powerbirth.com ), Lydi states:
When a woman reaches 5-6 cm's dilation, she
feels like pushing. This is because the
fetus/baby has completed flexion of his/her
head. The occiput is now the presenting part,
the smallest diameter of the skull that has to
pass through the bony pelvis.
EVERY woman feels like bearing down at this
stage of labor, but is generally told that if she
pushes, she will hurt herself or her baby.
WRONG!!! If she pushes, she will be helping her
baby to make the 1/8 rotation from the Ischial
Spine to the Os Pubis, which will enable her
baby/fetus to pivot and enter the birth canal.
If she doesn't help her unborn to make this
rotation, she will be given an epidural to help
her with the pain she will endure because she
refused to listen to her body, and her baby's
suggestion of- "Give me a little help here, MOM,"
and, ultimately - the CESAREAN!
Lydi not only says in a blanket statement that EVERY woman feels the urge to push at 5cm, but that if she DOESN'T do this, then the mom will likely end up in a cesarean section.
This information goes against everything that we ( midwives ) know about the physiology of birth. Those of us who also don't ever tell a woman when it's okay to push ( because we're not in their body ), know for a fact that a woman feeling the complete urge to push at 5cm just doesn't happen. It's very, very rare.
What also bothers me, is that this "technique" is marketed as an EMPOWERING technique for birth, and yet...there is a midwife's hand in mom's vagina quite often. HOW is that empowering? During the video, one can literally see the midwive's hand and arm TREMBLING from the force of manual dilation. Yes, you read that right...manual dilation. Not holding back a lip because mom wanted that done instead of waiting it out...manually causing the cervix to be more open than it is naturally. And quite unnecessarily.
The most dangerous thing about this, is that women are being led to believe that this is SAFE. They are not told of the risks of cervical swelling, cervical tearing, hemorrhage, exhaustion from pushing before the body is 100% ready ( oh wait, according to the powerbirth technique, that's at 5-6cm. ), uterine and/or cervical prolapse.
Nevermind their power being taken away from them by having multiple vaginal checks, being brainwashed to begin pushing at 5-6cm ( how is this ANY different than the hospital staff saying "Okay! You're 10, you can begin pushing now...". Gee thanks for telling me what MY body is ready to do ) and being led to believe that this will lead to much faster births.
An acquaintance had a birth under this technique, and she ended up pushing for hours and hours on end, with the midwife's hand inside of her vagina the whole time, MANUALLY pushing the cervix back. I want to cry when I hear this.
Obstetricians aren't the only ones who are harming women, or putting them in very dangerous situations. Do these midwives believe that they're doing anything intentionally harming? No. But neither do most Obstetricians who believe in Cesarean Sections as whole for safety.
Just because a home birth midwife is a home birth midwife, it doesn't make her safe. Women...know who you're hiring, and thoroughly research what they're selling. There shouldn't be any "technique" for giving birth...women have been giving birth for centuries, without needing a label, a technique, or another woman's hand inside of their vagina, to do her body's job for her.