So what exactly is an Integral Approach to Pregnancy and Childbirth?
With an integral approach and framework, multiple perspectives on birth are evaluated critically so the gems of truth in each can be extracted. The gifts that each of these approaches bring, can be synthesized and brought to a higher level of understanding and practice, creating an Integral Paradigm of Maternity Care, a truly holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth.
For many today, childbirth is approached strictly as a medical condition, a physiological challenge that necessitates medical interventions to ensure safe delivery for mother and child. From this perspective, babies should be born in a hospital, with doctors utilizing Western medicine, practices and technologies.
Other people perceive pregnancy and giving birth as a natural, normal and healthy process that ought to be engaged in without medication or intervention. From this perspective, childbirth is often seen as a direct illustration of our primal nature, citing that humans, as mammals, instinctually know how to give birth. From this perspective, Western medicine and hospitals, although helpful in emergency situations, are thought of as being an unhelpful interference to the natural birthing process.
Others are outraged by the high and increasing rate of cesarean sections, medical interventions, and maternal deaths occurring in the United States, and promote out of hospital births to avoid the policies, procedures and financial incentives interwoven into the health, insurance and legal systems; systems which are thought to undermine and interfere with the natural process of pregnancy and birth.
Further, some people see pregnancy and the act of giving birth as a significant rite of passage for women, one that serves a higher purpose in their life journeys, personal development and spiritual growth. From this perspective birth is seen as a self-transcending, transpersonal and profoundly spiritual experience.
From a “big picture” view, we can see that while each of these perspectives has their strengths, they also have their limitations in terms of holding the whole truth.
With an integral approach and framework, each of these partial perspectives is evaluated critically so the gems of truth can be extracted. The gifts that each of these approaches bring, can be synthesized and brought to a higher level of understanding and practice, creating an Integral Paradigm of Maternity Care, a truly holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth.
With this “meta-perspective,” expecting parents and childbirth professionals are able to engage consciously with all of the internal and external influences and dynamics that most impact pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences. This awareness of differing worldviews is one aspect of an integral framework and approach to pregnancy and childbirth. In combination with the other components, this integral approach allows you to address and proactively engage in the pregnancy, birth and postpartum process in a truly holistic manner which cultivates a more positive, empowering and transformative experience from pregnancy to parenthood.