I believe that every woman has the right to have the kind of experience at the birth of her child that she would like to have.
I believe the safest, and therefore the best place, to have her baby is in a properly staffed hospital dedicated and committed to support her and her wishes. Approximately 4 percent of births are complicated by events that threaten the health and life of either the mother or the baby or both. A hospital with a full-time dedicated labor and delivery unit is the safest place to be when life-threatening events occur. Although I don’t think it is as safe as a hospital, I support a woman’s choice to delivery at home or a birthing center as long as she is aware of the relative risks.
I believe in natural childbirth and medicated childbirth.
I believe in doulas, midwives, labor nurses and physicians. Henceforth, the term “doula” shall be inclusive of any attendant whose job it is to support the laboring woman, unless otherwise noted.
I do not believe in “husband coached” childbirth in most cases. I believe most husbands (or fathers of the baby, etc.) are emotionally ill-equipped to be good birth coaches.
I believe doulas are the best coaches for childbirth for the mother and the father. While giving comfort to the laboring woman the doula frees the father to support his partner and experience the birth of his child in the best way he can, as well. (Having a doula attending your birth doesn’t preclude the baby’s father giving physical and emotional support. Its just nice to have a professional who has been in that situation before.)
I believe in walking, birthing balls, and the freedom of the woman to assume the best birthing position for her.
I don’t believe in water births. If the birth could take place in a free flowing stream or natural spa, or on the beach with water ebbing and flowing where urine and feces that contaminate the water are continuously washed away, I could go for that. But having a baby in a tub where the water cannot be refreshed is no different, to me, than birthing in a toilet. But I support a woman’s right to choose.
So this is my manifesto. A woman has a right to choose what is best for herself. Her family and peers should support her right to choose, and not vilify her if she should choose differently than they would.