Active Birth posters adorn many a labour room wall. The idea is that lying down flat on your back is counterproductive to the normal birth process.
Few women instinctively choose a lying down position if they are educated, confident and informed about birth physiology... But despite many improvements in recent decades, the bed still plays a central role in many hospital births, and is a powerful psychological trigger for encouraging a passive, 'patient' mindset.
The concept of Active Birth doesn't just mean walking around in labour and giving birth off of your back. It most importantly means that the woman is in control of her own labour, assisted by her birth partner and midwife as her advocates. This means making informed choices, having time and space to labour on her own terms, and in whatever way feels right, no matter how she has her baby.
A rally 30 years ago led the way for women to choose active birth to bear their children - BBC World Service speaks to the founder of the movement.
|Sharon (Nature's Mother) at Helston Birth Unit, Cornwall|