How, Who and What Gets to Define “Natural Birth”?

melanieEvents, General health, Healthy Lifestyle, Mental Health, Paediatrics, Pelvic Floor, Physiotherapy, Postnatal, Pregnancy, Registered Massage Therapy, self care, Women's HealthLeave a Comment

You discover you are pregnant!

Hopeful, excited, nervous, elated and a little terrified, you go to your Doctor.

Maybe, you elect and are fortunate enough to gain access to a Midwife.

You find a birth Doula and establish your ideal birthing team.

You desire the most holistic birth plan, one without any type of fetal monitoring, medical
interventions, medication or scary needles.

You do everything within your power to educate yourself and gain more control over a situation
that is so foreign to you. You read plenty of books, attend hypo-birthing classes, prenatal yoga
classes and see every prenatal specialist in your area.

As devoted as you are to your original birth plan, circumstances arise, complications occur and
you are forced to alter some of your expectations. Due to factors beyond your control you
choose to surrender to what is the safest option for you and your unborn baby.

Does this sound familiar?

The changes to your original birth plan might be minor or greater than what you imagined and
prepared for. Perhaps it was necessary to be induced due to an overdue baby or a pre-existing
medical condition. Perhaps you opted for an epidural after labouring for hours and did not have
success dilating. My very first birth Doula client laboured for hours and although they had an
ideal birth plan, unexpected circumstances arose and she needed an emergency caesarean

The delivery of a baby via caesarean section does not make anyone less-than, or less capable
than another. My best friend informed me of the term “belly birth” as an alternative to a
caesarean section – as some women report feeling shame around a failed attempt to deliver

Caesarian Section

This is such an important topic and here are few facts to consider:

  • Caesarean delivery can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and infant (1).
    The development of the surgical intervention of the caesarean section, revolutionized
    modern medicine in the 19 th century (1)
  • There are absolute indicators in which caesarean delivery is considered the best
    option for both the mother and the baby, such as pre-eclampsia, placenta previa and
    breech presentation of the baby.
  • Based on the data collected by 150 countries, caesarean sections accounted for
    18.6% of all deliveries worldwide; in North America the incidence was as high as
    32.3% (2). Which is to say that 1 in 3 women will deliver via caesarean section.
  • Women with at least one previous caesarean section carrying a single fetus and with
    a cephalic-presentation contribute the most to this caesarean rate (3).

Labour in itself does not come without any risk. About 10% of those women who do
successfully delivery vaginally, will experience some form of complication (1). Again, to
reiterate even with a vaginal delivery one may have to modify their birth plan. Labour and birth
is by far, one of the most vulnerable states a woman will ever experience. There should be no
comparisons drawn, nor should someone’s birth experience be minimized due to the use of
medication or necessary interventions.

Did you know that osteopathy and massage therapy can help to mobilize caesarian scars resulting in improved recovery and mobility? Book your appointment today with one of our talented practitioners.

Time to Stop Labelling

When birth plans don’t go exactly as planned, women tend to feel disappointed. They may feel
like have lost any residual control in the trajectory of their labour and delivery. It is important
that we empower and support the wide range of birth stories. No matter what the birth story,
what the method of delivery, with or without meds, at home, birthing centre or hospital each
should be celebrated equally.


Florence was first introduced to alternative therapeutic modalities in her teens, as a dancer and competitive athlete. After high school, Florence furthered her dance training and obtained her Honors Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from McMaster University. Teaming up with the artistic director of the McMaster University contemporary dance company, she developed introductory dance classes for children and teens across Hamilton. Inspired to further her teaching skill-set, she obtained her yoga teacher certification in Hatha yoga. Florence teaches across the city and combines her knowledge of human kinetics, dance, strength and conditioning, and yoga. Teaching movement to pre and postnatal women, and coaching as a birth doula, she gained a unique perspective into the supportive systems available to new and expecting mothers. Florence has an affinity for the holistic approach to women’s care. She is passionate about the assimilation of progressive knowledge to educate and empower women at any stage of life including: pre-conception, pregnancy and recovery after birth. Most recently, Florence completed her five years of study at the Canadian College of Osteopathy in Toronto. As a manual therapist, she believes in having her patients actively participate in their healing. She currently is working to complete her thesis which will examine how osteopathic treatment effects diastasis-recti abdominus in postnatal women.

Florence is currently accepting a limited number of new clients on Thursday afternoons and evenings.


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(1) Gregory, K. D., Jackson, S., Korst, L., & Fridman, M. (2012). Cesarean versus vaginal delivery:
whose risks? Whose benefits?. American journal of perinatology, 29(01), 07-18.

(2) Betrán, A. P., Ye, J., Moller, A. B., Zhang, J., Gülmezoglu, A. M., & Torloni, M. R. (2016). The
increasing trend in caesarean section rates: global, regional and national estimates: 1990-
2014. PloS one, 11(2), e0148343.

(3) Kelly, S., Sprague, A., Fell, D. B., Murphy, P., Aelicks, N., Guo, Y., … & Kinniburgh, B. (2013).
Examining caesarean section rates in Canada using the Robson classification system. Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 35(3), 206-214.

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