Written By: Elisabeth Howard, PhD, CNM, FACNM, Academic Division of Midwifery, Women & Infants Hospital on October 4, 2022
A normal physiologic labor and birth are defined globally by midwifery organizations as a birth that is powered by the innate human capacity of the birthing person and fetus. This means that there are no interventions performed that disrupt the normal physiologic processes. In the absence of complications that may warrant intervention, supporting the physiologic process of labor and birth has the potential to enhance birth outcomes and experiences.
The benefits of supporting and fostering physiologic birth for individuals include reduced cesareans, increased breastfeeding success, improved birth experience, and reduced costs of care.
The benefits of supporting physiologic birth in babies include improved attachment and bonding, reduced harms related to medical intervention, and reduced risks of delayed or disrupted breastfeeding
Physiologic birth is characterized by spontaneous onset and progression of labor and includes the conditions that promote effective labor. This includes labor companionship, continuous 1:1 care, skin-to-skin care, and delayed cord clamping.
A commitment to normal birth includes shared decision-making and collaboration with your chosen birth team.
The birth center model of care is a model that provides protected space for normal physiologic birth. This is a high-value, evidence-based model of care that is equitable, safe, respectful, and cost-effective. It is a care path within an integrated maternity system that provides the highest experience and quality of care for all birthing individuals and their families. This approach prioritizes positive human relationships, and promotes respectful teamwork. Key aspects of care include labor companionship, choice, and continuity. The core values of Women and Infants Midwives are reproductive justice, dignity, and community.
We are expanding our current in-hospital birth center, the “ABC,” into a Midwifery Alongside Unit in collaboration with our community of providers, patients, and stakeholders.