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Midwife Says Childbirth SHOULD Be Painful

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When he pushes a baby out of HIS body, maybe we'll give a damn what he has to say!

Woman giving birth

Wow, this really made us mad this morning.

In England, a prominent male midwife has come out to say that women "should go through pain in childbirth."

Say what?

"Pain in labor is a purposeful, useful thing, which has quite a number of benefits, such as preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby," Dr. Dennis Walsh says.

"Over recent decades there has been a loss of 'rites of passage' meaning to childbirth, so that pain and stress are viewed negatively," he added, arguing that patients should be told labor pain is a timeless component of the "rites of passage" transition to motherhood.

"Emerging evidence [shows] that normal labor and birth primes the bonding areas of a mother's brain better than caesarean or pain-free birth."

Of course, this would be A GUY who says this ... a guy who has never had to go through the pain of childbirth himself!

Do you agree with Dr. Dennis Walsh? Or do you think it's all just a bunch of hogwash?


next: Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief
79 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lindsay July 28, 2009, 4:23 PM

I had one epidural-free birth in a hospital and one homebirth. I do believe the pain is a good and useful thing (pain tells us when we aren’t moving our bodies in the most effective way to bring the baby out - proper positioning and actively relaxing really can greatly decrease pain levels). I don’t know that it affects bonding or that it toughens a mom for the trials of new-motherhood, but I disagree that women “should” use pain meds. Pain hurts, but it is pretty risk free. Pain meds aren’t. I wouldn’t tell anyone else that they shouldn’t use pain meds, but I also don’t appreciate being told that I should. The risks are for each woman to evaluate and decide on.

Cynthia July 28, 2009, 5:27 PM

I have had 3 children with no pain medication, and I thought it was worth doing that way. However, I don’t think the pain itself was valuable. I enjoyed my third baby the most, and her birth was the least painful with the fewest birth injuries. I think that having the courage to face unknown amounts of pain is a good character trait in a mother, and that women whose top priority is avoiding pain (rather than best outcome, safest, etc.)will find dealing with the realities of motherhood difficult. As has been already pointed out — there’s no pain free alternative in birthing babies.

Lois Stevens July 28, 2009, 7:26 PM

I have three,first one with gas,the other two with nothing. I am equily close to all three. I can remember the moment of bonding with each. As far as the pain factor-I don’t think that pain in childbirth makes a better Mom.Any more than getting wet makes a better weather -man.

upset July 29, 2009, 11:31 PM

Having a c-section is not good for the baby or mother…when you are in labor your body releases hormones that help with a “pain killer” for you and the baby. If you have a c-section you create more pain for your baby because the hormones are not released…giving birth naturally even if in labor for many hours is better for the baby, and the mother. it lets the baby know some change is about to happen. It is good and natural for baby and mother, when you take that away there are serious side effects for the mother and the baby! Woman have been giving birth for thousands of years with out epidurals…and all the intervention. If you wanna relax, have a glass or two of wine before you push the baby out…side effects would be alot less!! Besides…you CAN become paralyzed from an epidural…great side effects! It all boils down to money. Doctors wanna tell you to have a c-section because it costs more then 2x a vaginal birth…they can schedule it around their vacation, playing golf, or just watching a tv show! That is why it is so big now! And this is why there are children with major health problems and mothers too! with PTSD and other terrible disorders, not to mention physical pain and scarring! If you don’t wanna deal with pain and then meet someone wonderful and love them forever, don’t bother having children! Your not up to the task of being a mother. You CAN make it…how do you think you got here?………

ES July 30, 2009, 3:48 PM

Some people seem to make the mistake that one personal experience will invalidate scientific evidence. If studies have found that mothers who give birth tend to be more closely bonded, the key word in that is “tend.”

It does not mean that all mothers who have painful births will have close bonds, nor does it mean that all mothers who have pain free births won’t have close bonds. It just means that the sample that was analyzed statistically tended that direction.

Personally I don’t think that study is really relevant. I think most people these days are past the point where their brains need to be prompted to bond with their child. I say let the individual decide what kind of birth they want to give.

angela July 30, 2009, 10:51 PM

I have had a baby and due to the fact i had back labor- i had no choice in the epidural. And I was thankful because it helped progress my labor and delivery. I am also a natural red head and its very true about the pain tolerance. With back labor i couldn’t even go pee due to the pain. i expected pain but that was unheard of. I may never be able to have natural birth due to my height and the way i will carry but its still a bonding experience no matter what.

Mel  September 3, 2009, 7:41 PM

Terrible. Everyone’s birthing experience is different, for a multitude of reasons. Therefore, there shouldnt be 1 correct way to give birth above all others. After 24 hrs of strong back labor, 3 weak epidurals that all wore off,and not being able to dilate past 8, I had a c-section and would opt for another one before going through that again. Why on earth would I want to add to the pain of being ripped from pushing out my 10 lb baby? My son is perfect and we have a wonderful bond. Every woman should be proud of their own accomplishment of giving birth, no matter what took place and what the goofs say.

Gordon September 15, 2009, 2:27 PM

He is a nut. Lets insert, surgically,a football into his adomen and have him squeeze it out his ….. Nothing like a man telling the females how they should suffer. I am a man and feel that his mother made a mistake in having him.

Cindy September 15, 2009, 3:09 PM

God said there WILL be pain - he didn’t say there SHOULD be!!! That self-righteous jerk of a man has NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to say what a woman should or shouldn’t FEEL. He is probably the BIGGEST BABY too when it comes to being sick- his kind usually are! The Bond is not how or what kind of pain you went through having the child it’s WHO you are and how loving you are that says what kind of Mother you will be - Mothers who adopt are sometimes 10 times better than the ones who went through horrible pain of having the child- at least they can’t BLAME THEM for the pain the child caused them at birth!!!

Nazreel October 20, 2009, 1:32 PM

I’ve had three children. First vaginally with gas and air, 28 hours, second emergency c-section after 13 hours due to transverse lie, third vaginally a year to the day after the c-section, with epidural for the last 8 hours, 36 hours in total. I had pre-eclampsia with the first two.

I bonded with them all straight away, and we have always had close and loving relationships even when they were teenagers. I was, however, so tired after the third that the Dr suggested he put him back!

The youngest is now 30 so maybe things are different now. I loved them with all my heart when they were tiny and would have willingly died for them, and I feel the same now!

Katherine January 9, 2010, 10:10 AM

Childbirth is painful and it is my belief that God invented pain medications to help us.

Christi February 26, 2010, 7:04 PM

Ok, so I don’t know how I missed this last year when I was busy trying to find things to keep me busy on bedrest but I still had to respond now.
First of all to J who said “Next time you have a headache, skip the aspirin so you can bond with your brain and perhaps come up with some logic.” I seriously laughed outright - thanks for the humor!
Secondly, I’m still always amazed at how judgmental people can be.
Honestly, I don’t care how ‘upset’ someone can be when their attitude is all “you’re bad because you opted for a c-section” crap.
If my childbirth had gone the way some suggest, it is most likely that my husband and 3 yr old daughter would now be without me and the baby I was carrying. Just because women have been giving birth unassisted by docs or meds doesn’t mean it’s always the safest or right thing to do. Women and babies have also been dying for thousands of years because of the lack of medical advancements. Can things be taken too far, yes, but fanatics seem to lie on both sides of the fence, and far too often on the side of the “do it the pain free way like a real woman does” camp. Thank you very much, all of you who judge me for my choices, but I am glad I made the ones I did so I can be here for both of my children and still enjoy my life.
For anyone who thinks that bonding with a baby happens only at the moment that you are experiencing labor and childbirth, I just wonder where you were at when you were growing the child, and feeling it kick and squirm inside because I sure know that was my bonding time more than anything else. I also fell into the category of one of the ‘lucky women’ who had constant contractions for the last 2 months of my pregnancy, including needing meds to stop pre-term labor on 3 occasions. My contractions were constantly anywhere from every 15 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart and painful - for MONTHS.
I was actually scheduled to be induced because pre-e was severe and getting worse, but I was already in labor when I got to the hospital. Intervention simply made it shorter. And I was actually quite relaxed during labor. The pain was not much more than I had already experienced for months before just a little more intense.
And I ended up with an epidural because my perinatalogist (who is a high risk doctor for all of you who don’t believe in drs) felt it was safest to try to bring my bp down when the bp meds themselves weren’t working. My baby’s heartrate was also dropping. My doctor, who was either at his office or on call himself 24 hrs a day (not a nurse) and answered many of my outside of office hour phone calls, spent more time with his patients and at the hospital than with his own family. His decision to suggest that I was induced and ultimately have an emergency c-section were not selfishly motivated. By then he had already delivered several babies, worked for hours at his office seeing other patients and had just finished another emergency c-section - all by 5pm when he was suggesting that I have one as well.
In the end, my baby was born perfectly healthy, safe and had ZERO complications other than low blood sugar from a stressful labor for her (perhaps not enough endorphins for her? BS! When the nurse thought I needed to feel more of the contractions to push the baby out, she turned off the epidural and it wore off and I felt every bit of them for quite some time).
The fact is, my baby’s head was far too big to go through the birth canal. And her body was turned a bit sideways while her head was mostly down. Sure I could have kept pushing, but it is far more likely she would have gotten stuck in there and they’d have had to move a lot faster to get her out of me.
Oh and to all the women (and men) here who said that adoptive women love and bond with their babies too - I’m proof of that. My 3 yr old is adopted (her birthmother went through the pain of childbirth without meds - it happened to fast - and still she placed her for adoption. I felt none of the pain and I love her dearly and would give my life for her if I had to!
My now 7 month old baby, I was amazed, exhausted, excited all at once. It was very surreal, much the same as being handed my baby that I adopted. They are both just as precious to me, I simply have more history with my youngest because I bonded with her while I was pg too.
Ohhhh, and by the way, after pushing for quite some time, feeling every single contraction from beginning to end (1 minute long, 1 minute apart) I was then told to stop pushing and just breathe through them. I also had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come back in my room to turn the epidural back on and give me more, stronger meds for surgery - that took 20 minutes of breathing through those contractions while I was prepped for surgery with the nurse rubbing my belly with antiseptics and such. I’d like to see you all breathe do that and then tell me I took the ‘easy way out’.
Self-righteous people are just idiotic simply because all they can do is say “you’re bad because you didn’t do it my way.” GIVE ME A BREAK!
BTW, to the women who commented about how they had their babies at home, or med free, etc, without being judgmental, thank you for understanding it’s not always a choice, and no way of having a baby is pain free!

Chloe April 21, 2010, 8:11 AM

Personally, I dont think that there is enough evidence to support the statement that vaginal delivery means better bonding, surely there are too many other factors that need to be taken into consideration.
However, to some extent I do agree that pain in childbirth is necessary…perhaps not to the extent it can be however. What if we had no pains?? They are there to let women know that labour is progressing…the worse the pains are, the closer to birth women are(in most cases) Pain is a personal thing, and of course all women should have the option of pain relief, they arent wimps if they chose it! But women CAN deliver without pain relief, we need belief in our bodies, and perhaps less intervention and doubt from ourselves and others.

chloe April 21, 2010, 8:17 AM

Oh, also meant to add that Denis Walsh is very experienced in the field of midwifery and just because he is a man does not mean his opinions and findings should be disregarded. Just because he hasnt experienced birth doesnt mean he doesnt understand it. Not all radiologists have had cancer, not all paediatricians have children and not all heart surgeons have had a heart transplant….but we still listen to them. We dont ignore what they say simply because they havent experienced what we are. Just a thought

Olga August 12, 2010, 10:30 AM

Let this prominent male midwife have his tooth pulled out without an anaesthetic. I had a c-section because I wanted to. I have a wonderful healthy baby daughter. She’s 11 months old and can walk already.

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