Normal Physiologic Birth

As early as 1996, the World Health Organization called for the elimination of unnecessary interventions in childbirth. This included a recommendation of a cesarean section rate of no more than 15% of all births.

Professional maternal and child health organizations, in this country and abroad, have created position statements to identify key benchmarks of safe, healthy, and normal physiologic birth.

A consensus statement by the three professional midwifery organizations in the United States, including MANA, whose members are experts in supporting women’s innate capacities to give birth, was published in May 2012. In this statement they defined normal physiologic birth in the following way. “A normal physiologic labor and birth is one that is powered by the innate human capacity of the woman and fetus.”

This consensus statement goes on to say. “This birth is more likely to be safe and healthy because there is no unnecessary intervention that disrupts normal physiologic processes. Some women and/or fetuses will develop complications that warrant medical attention to assure safe and healthy outcomes. However, supporting the normal physiologic processes of labor and birth, even in the presence of such complications, has the potential to enhance best outcomes for the mother and infant.”

For more literature on the health benefits of normal physiologic birth, consult the following resources:

  1. Supporting Healthy and Normal Physiologic Childbirth: A Consensus Statement By ACNM, MANA, NACPM [1], May 14, 2013. [see reference below]
  2. Normal, Healthy Childbirth for Women and Families: What you Need to Know, ACNM, MANA, NACPM 2013.
  3. Midwifery Care and Normal BirthCanadian Association of Midwives, January 20, 2010. 
  4. The Canadian Joint Policy Statement on Normal Childbirth was released in 2008 and was supported by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses of Canada (AWHONN Canada), the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM), the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) [read abstract and download pdf here]​
  5. Keeping Birth NormalInternational Confederation of Midwives, 2006. 
  6. Care in Normal Birth, World Health Organization, 1996

[1] ACNM=American College of Nurse-Midwives; MANA=Midwives Alliance of North America; NACPM=National Association of Certified Professional Midwives