Episode 7: On the Pathologization of Birth

Nathan starts this one off with a brief recap/final thoughts around our “types of midwives” episode; then, Maryn and Nathan dive into a brief discussion around how pregnancy is often approached from a fatalist perspective. Is it really our job as caregivers to constantly focus on what could go wrong?

About the Midwife and the OB

Can a doctor and a midwife get along? Or at least respectfully disagree on important issues surrounding pregnancy and birth? The One About the Midwife and the OB is a collaborative project between Maryn Green, CPM and Nathan Riley, MD that hopes to bridge the gap personally and professionally between medicine and midwifery. Listen in on these honest conversations between friends as they tackle topics in pregnancy and birth that are often divisive.

1 thought on “Episode 7: On the Pathologization of Birth”

  1. Thank you both so much…

    In the many conversations I have with moms, dads, and others about the what if scenarios, I am never surprised, but often disappointed, by the overwhelming fear based thoughts women bring to their pregnancy and birth. Little gifts from their own mothers, sisters, friends, of fears about everything that could go wrong, the possibility that they aren’t equipped to have a normal healthy baby and birth, and that somehow an obstetrician in a hospital could be their saving grace. My direct answer is usually, what if every single thing goes right like it does 90+ percent of the time? What if your body makes the exact right size baby for your perfectly made body? What if you were meant to be happy and joyful on the journey to becoming a new mom and family? If you do the next right thing (eat right, exercise, connect with the baby, stay away from toxins, etc.), and we do the next right thing (educate, inform, screen, encourage and pattern behavior, etc.), and then we all turn the rest over to that power greater than us, the vast majority of the time you will have a beautifully successful birth and baby…. and, we know that if we hit a detour, we will follow the signs to a different destination trusting that we will guide you, support you, and love you through those less common occasions.

    Thanks for the honest language, the truth in telling what everybody knows but doesn’t want to say out loud. There shouldn’t be a hierarchy in obstetrics or midwifery or in mothering. The language we use with birthing families absolutely matters SO much and teaches the next generation how to birth and mother. How we treat our peers and colleagues is part of the karmic energy that often comes back to us when we are the ones in need. You are right. If we are in the birth world long enough, we eventually will see an unfavorable outcome (that is lawyer language for a fetal or neonatal demise) due to nobody’s fault. But, surely somebody, the most vulnerable, is supposed to pay?

    I’ve been following your conversations for a while and appreciating your views. Please continue. You may already know, but you should still hear just how much it is needed in this cynical, litigious, mother-may-I world of regulatory boards that really don’t know what they are doing or give a shit about the people who do. Any time I wear an Indie Birth t-shirt, I feel like a Warrior Goddess and take the opportunity to do it as often as I can!



Leave a Comment


Episode 6: On Balancing Technology and Intuition

Episode 8: On Selecting the People to Work With (Part 1 )