Childbirth is unpredictable, wild, and primal. We have “modernized” childbirth, making it clinical, sterilized, and on a timetable. Genevieve Howland, aka Mama Natural, recognizes that pregnancy and birth are normal, and that having a baby is a wondrous biological process and rite of passage—not a medical condition.
In that light, Genevieve discusses how to prepare for a more natural childbirth experience and how to “naturalize” a c-section. Her goal is to educate mothers and fathers about their options during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. She covers everything from nutrition choices that aid in labor and delivery, steps to take to avoid “the cascade” of medical interventions, and the importance of skin-to-skin contact immediately after baby is born.
Genevieve offers tremendous insights on pregnancy and childbirth throughout the entire episode. It is beautiful to recognize that wise traditions apply to food and nutrition, of course, and also to childbirth.
Check out mamanatural.com for resources and videos.
In this episode of Wise Traditions, we speak with Genevieve Howland, a specialist on natural childbirth. With over sixty million views on her YouTube channel, Genevieve Howland’s funny but informational videos have empowered millions of women to embrace natural pregnancy and parenting. In those videos and in today’s episode, Genevieve covers the gamut related to pregnancy, labor, and delivery. She begins by discussing the “modernization” of childbirth and some of the drawbacks of unwarranted interventions. Though she recognizes that there is certainly a time and a place for these procedures, her goal is to help inform pregnant women and their spouses about their options during pregnancy and childbirth.
Genevieve provides recommendations for how to prepare for a natural childbirth. She also describes the many physical and emotional benefits it has for both mom and baby. While a natural childbirth is ideal, each birth is different and sometimes c-sections are necessary. In these cases, Genevieve strongly advocates for “gentle cesareans,” which try to recreate some of the conditions of a natural childbirth. She stresses that any amount of labor is preferable to a scheduled c-section.
The most important thing for moms to remember is that births are not about what is most convenient for the doctor. Just as they apply to food and nutrition, wise traditions also apply to childbirth. Genevieve reminds us that birth is wild, primal, and unpredictable. As such, it can be deeply spiritual and transformative, especially when mamas feel empowered to take ownership over their experience.
This episode reveals:
- That there are exercises mom can do to encourage an open pelvis during labor
- That red raspberry leaf tea is an effective uterine tonic (who would’ve guessed!?)
- The tasty dried fruit that may result in shorter labors and less interventions when eaten in the last trimester
- The benefits of natural childbirth for the mom, including easier recovery and a hormonal boost
- The benefits of a vaginal birth for the baby, like picking up good bacteria (helps inoculate the microbiome and strengthen immune system)
- Practices that “naturalize” a cesarean and minimize its downsides
- How and why moms should avoid a “cascade” of medical interventions
- Why babies should not be bathed immediately after the birth
- That it is absolutely possible to have a natural childbirth in a hospital
- One simple step to modify your diet to improve your pregnancy and enhance your baby’s health and ease of delivery
The Mama Natural Week to Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth is the modern (and yet ancient) approach to pregnancy and childbirth. “Natural” recognizes that pregnancy and birth are normal, and that having a baby is a wondrous biological process and rite of passage—not a medical condition.
Mamanatural.com – Genevieve’s website, full of resources and videos
Mama Natural YouTube channel
Genevieve also offers a free pregnancy week-by-week series (email or txt) from a natural perspective and is the creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course, the #1 most popular online childbirth education class.