52 Ways You Can Make Birth Better

Things You Can Do To Make Birth Better—for Everyone!

    For Yourself

    Yourself || For Your Family || Every Pregnant Women || Community || Culture

  1. Fill in the missing pieces of your knowledge about your entrance into this world. Become a detective of your own beginnings. Find out everything you can about the circumstances of your conception, your mother’s pregnancy (not only what went on but how she felt about what was going on), and her birth with you. Include the important first hour after birth and your first weeks and months. This is a rich mine of information that will help you look at the patterns that were created in your nervous system that still affect your life. Get your birth records, from the hospital where you were born or your physician or midwife. You’ll probably then want to explore your life as a baby and toddler and your parent’s childrearing beliefs and practices when they were raising you. They may or may not have changed. Remember: Your developing body/mind were literally shaped by your mother’s experiences and attitudes and emotions. Look at the information and research put together by aTLC, The Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children, at www.atlc.org
  2. Consider whether you might be carrying unresolved trauma from your earliest experiences. If so, it is probably affecting your life in some significant ways. Trauma patterns are not often discussed in our society, but they are very common and include self-doubt, anxiety in new situations, difficulty forming or maintaining close relationships, eating disorders, chronic health conditions, and also tendencies toward depression, loneliness, anger and despair. This knowledge is based in solid scientific and clinical evidence from the past decade and leading-edge science about how our nervous system and brain develop. There’s so much more to who you are than hereditary and later environment. Remember: You experienced the world filtered through and reflected to you by your mother most importantly, but also other primary caretakers. The good news is that these patterns can be shifted, once you are aware of them. Investigate. Look at the website of the Association of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) called www.birthpsychology.com
  3. Start or continue your healing process. There’s no shame about needing healing. Most of us do, for one reason or another. Failing to do it limits your life and can result in many kinds of illness and dysfunction. Healing is a journey and one that may be challenging but has enormous benefits to you and all those you love, especially your children. There are many different approaches that address body, mind, emotions and spirit. See what’s available in your community. Ask those who know about birth trauma, starting with friends or the yellow pages under midwives, psychotherapists, counselors…Healing usually involves body work as well as emotional and spiritual work and discovering and perhaps shifting your core beliefs about life and who you are. Look at the website for APPPAH (above).
  4. Watch films of birth—both natural and otherwise, including water birth. Notice at what points you feel strong emotions welling up, such as sadness, anger, fidgetiness or sleepiness. Your reactions may give you a clue to things that happened in your own birth. If your mother had any of the commonly given narcotics, sedatives, artificial hormone stimulants or anesthesia for birth, you carry the imprint of them in your body. And if your birth was held back or pushed or done by forceps, vacuum or cesarean, that too is significant information for you. So is whether you were separated from your mother after birth, for any reason, especially in the first hour or spent time in an intensive care nursery, and, if you were circumcised. Whether you were breast fed or not. Watch the inspiration and informative videos Giving Birth, BirthDay and Birth Into Being: you can find them through www.SuzanneArms.com
  5. Get fully informed about birth, if you are going to have a baby or be a grandparent. Find out the full range of options. Remember, if a woman doesn’t make conscious choices for herself and her baby, and a man doesn’t participate in this process, then others will make those decisions by default. And you will have to live with the impact of those decisions. Grandparents can be such an important help in the process. Especially if they’ve gone through their own work to resolve any trauma they carry from birth and if they inform themselves about what scientific evidence now proves with regard to the value of natural, normal (physiologic) birth. Ample evidence shows the value—both immediate and long-term, to baby as well as mother, and to their relationship —of avoiding all unnecessary medical tests, drugs, procedures and other interventions so common when women go to physicians and birth in a hospital. Read widely on the subject. It is fascinating. Start with reading Immaculate Deception: Myth, Magic & Birth by Suzanne Arms and visiting the informational website www.SuzanneArms.com
  6. For Your Family

    Yourself || For Your Family || Every Pregnant Women || Community || Culture

  7. Investigate the lineage of birth in your family of origin. Pay attention to any dysfunctional patterns that appear to run from one generation to the next, such as addictions, mental illness and chronic conditions, cancer… This is an important aspect of our life that is just beginning to be researched, discussed and worked with. These patterns harm us and diminish the joy in our lives and will be passed along to children unless they are healed. There are various approaches. For an intriguing start, read Bert Hellinger’s book Love’s Hidden Symmetry.
  8. If you have children: Make every birthday a time when you celebrate your labor and birth and when you tell the most positive sides of your child’s birth story. Every child deserves a wonderful story, even if you have to edit a lot out of it. At other times, whenever your children ask, tell the truth about their birth, but in an age-appropriate way. And if you have a daughter and you had a difficult or traumatic birth with her, be sure to tell her that her birth will be much better because she doesn’t need to repeat the pattern of her own birth. Be a good listener to your child’s feelings about whatever you discuss. Remember: the way your children will approach conception, pregnancy and birth when they are grown—including breastfeeding, circumcision and vaccination issues—has a lot to do with your attitude, the words you choose, and the stories you choose to tell them.
  9. If you have children: Write the story of your own birth and the stories of your children’s births and let them read these stories when they are ready. Tell even the small details. These stories—especially their own birth story—can help them develop positive attitudes toward birth. Make a ceremony out of the occasion when you share these stories. Our birth is a significant part of who we are and how we feel. If it was an experience that is painful to recollect or share, remember: You have nothing to be ashamed of. You did the best you could, given your knowledge, the support and options available to you, and the circumstances. Even if it’s not the birth you wish your child had or if you made choices you regret, the story can be valuable to them. Note: Writing your entire story of each birth, as much as you can remember it, will also help you heal from a difficult or traumatic birth. It may start you on your healing journey.
  10. For Every Pregnant Women You Know and Those You Meet Casually

    Yourself || For Your Family || Every Pregnant Women || Community || Culture

  11. Make her day! Wish her a wonderful birth experience. Ask her if she’s going to a midwife and if she’s planning to have a natural birth. Get her thinking! You can do this gently and with a smile. It doesn’t have to be pushy. And so many women will either be glad you did or do some thinking as a result of what you said. Figure that 99% of what most women today hear about birth is negative and oriented to how painful it is and how wonderful the drugs and epidural are. Combine that with how much advertising and public opinion still pushes drugs and bottle feeding, and you can imagine what a toxic environment that produces in a woman’s mind. 

    Say something positive and encouraging to every pregnant woman that you see. Try “Hi. I see you’re pregnant. I hope you’re having a good pregnancy.” If she responds, you might also add: “Are you getting the love and support you want in your life? You deserve it.” And add, if it’s true, tell her she looks radiant or beautiful or… much of what pregnant women hear today just adds to their anxieties about birth and motherhood. And most of the stories they hear are bad.

  12. Avoid saying anything to a pregnant woman that might add to her fears of birth. Encourage pregnant women you meet to fill themselves up with positive images and stories about birth and breastfeeding. Suggest they read Immaculate Deception II, Seasons of Change (both by Suzanne Arms), Birthing From Within (Pam England), and anything by Sheila Kitzinger or Janet Balaskas or Dr. Michel Odent. Tell them there are great videos to watch such as “Giving Birth: Challenges & Choices, “BirthDay”, and “Birth Into Being.” You might also suggest that it is wise to stay away from TV shows and stories of scary births and to encourage people to tell them wonderful stories of normal birth. And surround their pregnant belly with light when they go shopping or anywhere else in public. Tell pregnant women about the informational website on birth, www.BirthingtheFuture.org Besides information she’ll find out about various books, videos and other websites to help her make informed choices about all aspects of birthing and babies.
  13. Buy each pregnant woman you know a copy of “Seasons of Change” and the video “Giving Birth” and Bestfeeding: Getting Breastfeeding Right for You. These can change her life and the decisions she makes on behalf of herself and her baby. “Seasons…” is written just for a pregnant woman and takes her on her inner journey of feelings, from conception to three months after birth, hopes, dreams, and will help alleviate the many fears so many women today have about birth. The video Giving Birth is perfect for men as well as women, and children and adults of any age. “Bestfeeding” is considered the very best how-to book on breastfeeding, for women of any age or circumstance, even women whose reading level of English is low. You can read more about books on the website www.SuzanneArms.com.
  14. Let her know the importance of finding a good birth educator. Many birth educators are employed by doctors or hospitals and are restricted in what they can teach and the information they can give parents. Independent birth educators are most likely to give women and couples all the information they need to make informed, conscious choices, especially about alternatives to routine tests in pregnancy, hospital interventions and medical procedures. Most women are unaware that there are many safe and effective alternatives to drugs to help women cope with contractions in labor and to keep labor normal and natural and prevent problems. All hospital routines, induced labor, artificially stimulated labor, drugs, epidurals and other anesthesia, episiotomy, forceps, vacuum, cesarean surgery carry serious risk to mothers and babies and should only be used rarely, when truly medically indicated to save lives. Birth educators are listed in the phone book. There are many different types, not only Lamaze. ICEA, Bradley, BirthWorks, Alace, Birthing From Within, HypnoBirthing. They have different perspectives. A good birth educator will, hopefully, also discuss breastfeeding and raise the issue of circumcision. Read about different birth educator groups on their websites. Suggest she read the book A Good Birth, A Safe Birth and interview potential birth educators to see how knowledgeable and independent they are.
  15. Suggest she read about circumcision and learn the reasons why so many experts and parents are strongly in favor of keeping baby boys intact. And learn about it yourself. There is no medical reason to circumcise a baby boy and it is a risky and very painful procedure that often results in trauma. Mothering Magazine has a book about it called Circumcision: The Rest of the Story. And you can also contact the organization NoCirc, which sponsors international conferences on the research related to circumcision and care of the penis. Look at the website www.nocirc.com
  16. Raise the subject of vaccinations and start a discussion. This is a very sticky issue because there is growing scientific evidence of the risks and dangers of vaccines, especially given to babies. Today most American babies get ……. Shots, beginning in many cases with a hepatitis vaccine in the hospital! Very few Americans know about the down side of vaccines and the fact that the numbers that are given and the way they interact with each other may cause serious health conditions, and once in a while death. Only recently have we begun to hear about any of this and the standard press approach, like what you hear from most pediatricians, is that all vaccinations are good and safe and effective. A concerned mother started an organization that is bringing important research to light and holding international conferences on issues related to vaccination. Read about the National Vaccine Information Center on their website www.909shot.com. Mothering Magazine is also an excellent sources of up-to-date scientific evidence and information and practices in other countries.
  17. Offer to be or to help a woman planning a hospital birth to find a doula to stay with her and support her throughout labor. Note: a doula is a woman who provides continuous support in labor or who cares for a mother and baby postpartum. She usually gets to know the woman— her values, history, dreams, fears and goals— before labor so she can really be of assistance. If the woman you know has no money to get a doula, help her find one who will volunteer her services. Be especially helpful if the birthing woman is very young, single, has no real family support or has experienced abuse in her life. Ideas: Offer to go to birth classes with her if she has no one to go with her. Tip: Help her find an independent birth educator and doula (ones who does not work for a hospital or doctor) so she will get all the information she needs to make her own informed choices.
  18. Help her get her and her house/apartment ready for this baby’s coming. At least, offer to help. Offer to take regular quiet walks with her in as beautiful a place as you can find. Give her a foot rub. Gift her with a facial at a place that does natural (herbal or aromatherapy) facials. Every pregnant woman you know deserves and needs your kindness and support, and your belief in her and her baby’s ability to birth naturally. Getting ready for the baby’s arrival should be a very special time in a woman’s life for her to have another woman to get excited along with her. Too often it’s full of stress and tension. Many women don’t have anyone to share the wonder and mystery of pregnancy with. It should be a joy for a woman to prepare her home for the arrival of a new baby, and can take a woman’s mind off her doubts and fears about labor and help make the coming of this baby a reality. Suggest she look into co-sleeping with her baby rather than putting the baby in a separate crib or bed or another room. There is much evidence to support doing this, especially in the first months or year. Mothering Magazine, Compleat Mother and others are full of information, and scientific evidence for co-sleeping. Suggest she go to the library and read Mothering Magazine if she cannot afford to subscribe to it. Buy as a gift the book by Subonfu Some called Welcoming Spirit Home and read it before you give it away.
  19. Give your full, enthusiastic support to pregnant women to breastfeed and let them know you know they can do it successfully and with pleasure. Most often, women make their decision to bottle-fed rather than breastfeed before they get pregnant and they are influenced by those around them. Common reasons women give for not wanting to breastfeed are: that they won’t get their figure back; that it hurts; that it will tie them down; that their partner won’t like it; that their mother tried to breastfeed and couldn’t because it hurt or her milk was too thin, or any number of reasons. Let her know that 99% of women can breastfeed but that it is a learned behavior and may take a little patience and practice, just like anything else that’s valuable. Inform yourself about the existence of local breastfeeding support people (such as lactation consultants and breastfeeding peer counselors, and groups such as La Leche League International). Breastfeeding women are subject to so many negative comments from people around them and get so much propaganda about how good and easy formula feeding is, they usually need extra support. Let them know you will help in any way you can because you are aware of the importance of breastfeeding babies for as long as possible—ideally 2 years. Breastfeeding may take a few weeks of practice to get going well, but it is free, easy, by far the best way to feed and love a baby. It helps a baby becoming a happier, healthier and more independent child and positively builds a healthier immune system, healthy teeth, healthy eating habits. And prevents many diseases in children and adults, including some types of cancer in women. The longer women breastfeed the healthier they are likely to be too. Get yourself the book Bestfeeding by Mary Renfrew, Chloe Fisher and Suzanne Arms. Read it so you will be better informed and able to support women in breastfeeding.
  20. Ask pregnant women if they are planning to have their friends bring meals to her family and do other lovely things for her in the first weeks after birth. Suggest they hire a postpartum doula (Some will do it for free for low-income women) to help them get settled with their new baby, especially if their partner/husband has little or no time off of work after the birth. Do suggest that they appoint the most organized of their friends to be in charge of scheduling family, friends, and co-workers who say they want to help to make life easier for them in the first 6 weeks after birth. A calendar can be made to schedule different people each week to run errands, shop for food, bring flowers, do massage (for the mom and the dad, and even infant massage), clean house, take siblings out to play, etc. A woman’s husband/partner also needs and deserves support, so that he has the time to be with the new baby. You might offer to be the one of these “angels”, especially if the woman has few relatives and close friends living nearby. It’s worth the effort for a woman to plan this ahead of the birth. One of the best ways for her and her partner and the baby to adjust to their new life is to have lots of time in bed, sleeping when the baby is sleeping and being up when the baby is up, around the clock. Babies find their own schedules, but not usually for many weeks. Postpartum can be exhausting. Friends can be an enormous help to the new family. Tip: In the first weeks with a new baby most women are overwhelmed with all the responsibility and end up taking care of all the guests who come to see the baby. She’s the one who needs the support and special care, and the time to just be with the new baby, so that they can bond deeply in peace.
  21. Organize a special ceremony or a “Blessing Way” (a Native American term) toward the end of a woman’s pregnancy. It’s nothing like the standard modern baby shower, when the woman gets gifts for the baby and perhaps silly or sexy gifts for herself. Those can be fun. But a Blessingway is a special gathering of those friends and family who want to honor her for the hard work she will be doing in labor, to recognize the Rite of Passage that birth is going to be in her life, and to help her prepare spiritually and psychology for the challenges and the joy of it all. A Blessingway can give courage and inspiration she won’t find many places in this culture. Ask people to bring symbolic gifts that she can have with her in labor to remind her of her strength, stamina, power, and humor. Focus the ceremony on honoring her and reminding her that she can trust her inner knowing, her body, her baby, and the journey. Read about Blessingway in Suzanne Arms’ “Seasons of Change”. And read Subonfu Some’s lovely little book of African wisdom called Welcoming Spirit Home for ideas. 


  22. When you know a woman who’s had a “bad” birth experience, especially if she is pregnant with another baby or newly postpartum, please find the time to sit and listen to her story. Let any woman you meet who’s unhappy with her birth experience or who had a very difficult or medicalized birth know that it is valuable to gather a group of close women friends to sit with her and let her have all the time she needs to tell her story in full detail. In a sacred circle, giving full attention to the woman, listening with the heart, a woman who carries unhealed scars can begin to heal. This will also prevent women from unconsciously dumping their scary stories on others, especially pregnant women, who don’t need to hear such stories. Read about healing birth trauma in “Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic & Birth.

    For Your Community

    Yourself || For Your Family || Every Pregnant Women || Community || Culture


  23. Bring men into the subject of birth. We were all born. Birth is not a woman’s issue alone. And how men think and feel about birth matters. Have men tell you what they know and feel about three very important subjects: circumcision, breastfeeding, and vaccinations. Many times women allow their newborn sons to be circumcised, don’t breastfeed or wean early, and accept the standard vaccination routines because of pressure from men in their family. Listen to their views and suggest they do some reading about these three important subjects. Tips: Recommend men read Mothering Magazine (which has lots of articles directed to men and about fathering) and the books by Mothering. Also recommend the web at such sites www.SuzanneArms.com for birthing, www.breastfeeding.com for breastfeeding, and www.NoCirc.org for circumcision issues, and www.909shot.com, which is the National Vaccine Information Center.
  24. Buy and donate to your local public library a copy of each of Suzanne Arms’ books and her video Giving Birth. If you can afford it also donate copies to your local health clinic that cares for pregnant teens and low-income women. If your bookstore doesn’t have these items, you can order from them, or from our store or contact us. Either way, be sure to ask them to carry these books and let them know they give much more accurate information than do “What to Expect…” or “GirlFriends Guide”.
  25. Suggest teachers you know (in elementary, junior high, and high school) learn about natural, normal birth and midwives, birth centers, home birth, waterbirth, breastfeeding and bonding (attachment). Suggest to college instructors and professor that they include issues such as the physiology, psychology, politics, economics and ecology of birth in their curriculum. Reach out to anyone you know who teaches family life education or sex ed in high school, or human biology, women’s studies or child development and other relevant courses in junior college, community colleges, colleges and universities to get Suzanne Arms’ books and video and include them in their teaching. We need to educate women early—and men too— about the biology of birth, and breastfeeding and baby care. The decisions women make about how they want to birth and whether or not they will breastfeeding, circumcise their boy baby, question standard vaccination protocol, etc, have their roots in childhood. Both the original edition of Immaculate Deception and the current edition Immaculate Deception II are considered classics and frequently used in sociology, women’s studies, anthropology and human biology and sexuality classes. In addition they might want to bring Suzanne Arms to their community to speak at their college— both to classes and for a public event. Suzanne is a very popular and dynamic speaker/teacher and has been giving keynote talks, workshops and guest-lecturing at colleges on 4 continents since 1975. Offer to help if you can, even if only to contact local midwives, birth educators, doulas and birth-related organizations to get them involved. To bring Suzanne Arms to your community, contact us


  26. Create your own lending library of birthing books and if you have your own office and clients, include birthing books in your waiting room. Talk to your local osteopaths, chiropractors, naturopathic and homeopathic and oriental medicine (acupuncture) doctors about creating a small library in their offices of the best books (and, if they have a TV, videos) on birth and breastfeeding. Look at the books in the Giving Birth teaching guide or go on the web to www.birthingthefuture.org. for ideas.
  27. Buy bumper stickers supporting breastfeeding, midwives and/or home birth or birth centers and put them on your car. Or wear a T-shirt that shows your support of natural birth, birth centers, anti-circumcision, breastfeeding, and women’s bodies.
  28. Offer to volunteer on a project that will help your local birth center or midwife. For example, help with publicity, donate money, organize the library, build something for them.
  29. To Help Transform Our Culture

    Yourself || For Your Family || Every Pregnant Women || Community || Culture


  30. Buy “Giving Birth”. If you are a teacher, or professional in body work, social services, health, or any aspect of mind-body healing, get the professional version and show it regularly. The professional version comes with a 36 page teaching guide. Find ways to use it in your work. Research has been done showing the transformative potential of this single video on people’s thinking and decisions about birth. If you are not in any of the above fields, but want to be an activist, get the professional version and use the guide to help you put on regular public showings—for example at a local library or family center. Otherwise, buy the private use version and show and lend it to friends. Tip: Begin a discussion about birth with friends and family and colleagues, using the film as the starting point. Find Out what other professionals from around the world have said about this ground-breaking film. Order it here or contact us.
  31. Write letters about your concerns regarding birth and some changes you wish to see and send it to your local/national paper, as a letter to the editor, or to local/national TV shows. Also request they do an investigative story on birth in your area or that they interview and follow a local midwife, a birth center, or a woman who’s had a home birth. Notice how natural birth, home birth, breastfeeding and bonding are often portrayed negatively in the media, including popular morning TV shows like Good Morning America and Today. Suggestion: Once a month, write a letter or get on the internet and give your thoughtful comments and recommendations to such shows.

  32. Form a local group to support midwives in your area and home birth–become a member of Citizens for Midwifery. They’ll help you! (www.cfmidwifery.org) If you believe women deserve options in birth and want to see midwifery exist in this country and midwives be able to work without harassment, and get paid fairly, then this is the group to join. Midwives all around the U.S. are under attack—whether they practice in homes, birth centers or hospitals, and whether they are nurse-midwives or have been trained in other ways. Note: Few people know that a modern-day “witch hunt” is going on to control or eliminate the independent profession of midwives as well as to eliminate home birth and drive birth centers out of business. These practices should not be part of a democracy. And the limit the choices women have and the safety of birth for everyone. Suggestion: Look in the phone book yellow pages under “midwives”, call them up, introduce yourself, show an interest in their work and see if you can help support them.
  33. If there’s an out-of-hospital birth center near you, visit it. Take your children. Then get your local school or college (for any students of any age) to have a field trip there and talk to the midwives. Also have schools invite pregnant women, local midwives, natural birthing educators, and breastfeeding mothers to talk about their experiences and share their knowledge. Phone books in areas where birth centers exist list them under “birth centers.” Suggestion: If there is no birth center near you, find out why and what you can do to help create one. Contact The National Association of Childbearing Centers—www.birthcenters.org
  34. Get together or interest an existing Book Club to read books about birth, midwifery, the politics and spirituality and consciousness of birth. For many suggestions of books to read, check out our store and our Resources section. There are a wide variety of birth-related issues to choose from.
  35. Order by mail or download the CIMS (Coalition to Improve Maternity Services) Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative (www.motherfriendly.org). Read it. Get inspired. Then get together a small group of men and women concerned about birth to discuss it. After that, arrange to have some of you meet with the administrator of your local hospital(s) to talk about how their hospital measures up to the Mother Friendly Initiative. Before you go, get copies of the brochure from CIMS and a copy of the video “Giving Birth” (which supports the CIMS initiative and talks about how hospital routines are not based in scientific evidence of safety or efficacy. Suggest to the administrator that it would be wise to hold showings of the video and discussion of the Initiative for all nursing staff and all physicians doing births there. Plan to be at the first meeting, if possible, to make sure all the issues are discussed. Suggest that the hospital create a committee to look into becoming a Mother Friendly Hospital (through CIMS) and that they institute a policy that any medical routine or intervention during labor must be “evidence-based”- that is, must have solid scientific evidence backing it. Since most hospitals know nothing of this concept, but their medical-legal department would be interested in it, you may need to discuss the legal implications of not practicing evidence-based medicine, as well as the implications in patient satisfaction with their institution.
  36. Ask organizations putting on conferences why they’ve omitted birth from their conference. Any time you read a brochure about a conference on health on women’s issues or alternative medicine call for information, get the names and phone numbers of the coordinators and call them. Suggest they include the subject of childbirth in at least one of its many aspects at their next conference. Also give them some suggested speakers’ names (local or national) with phone numbers, e-mails and websites to make their work easier and ask them to make sure and include them in the next conference. Tip: Suzanne Arms can offer a wide range of speaker suggestions for topics including the economic, political, psychological, ecological aspects of conception, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, bonding, midwives, waterbirth, birth trauma and healing. Contact her here.
  37. Get a group of artists together to come up with art that will promote natural birth, midwifery, breastfeeding, genital integrity (stop circumcision!) and get this art displayed publicly. Artists can have a powerful impact on shifting or supporting dominant cultural values and attitudes. An art/craft show on birthing can inspire and focalize other projects in your community.
  38. Ask the buyers at your local health, natural food store, and bookstore (esp. independent and women) to put in a section for books and videos on birth (including natural birth, home birth, waterbirth, midwifery and breastfeeding.
  39. If you are, or know someone, who is an artist or documentarian, encourage them to take on birth, breastfeeding, bonding, home birth, birth centers or midwifery as projects and perhaps volunteering their help to the movement. For example, interview local midwives, birthing educators and activists who support midwifery and home births.
  40. Ask if you can set up a display of books and information about birth in a glass wall display case at a local college or high school. Contact the Birthing The Future office for suggestions of titles that are provocative and attractive visually.
  41. Attend to a birth conference. Midwifery Today puts on wonderful ones for anyone interested in midwifery. Email them at inquiries@midwiferytoday.com, http://www.midwiferytoday.com as does The Open Center in New York City, www.opencenter.org (Encourage them to do another Art of Birthing Conference with a phone call to 212-219-2527, or email adeleoc@hotmail.com)
  42. Ask your local college/university to sponsor and put on a conference on birth and its impact on our lives and our entire society. Check out the student activities office on campus, which usually receives student fees to put on public events of interest to students and the community. If they are not interested, go to the departments that should be interested in birth and the political, social, public health, ecological, child and family development, women’s issues related to birthing today. You can get a media packet about Suzanne Arms by contacting us. Learn about all the different kinds of public events, talks, workshops that Suzanne offers here. Tip: Suzanne Arms has professional contacts around the world and can also be a help in finding other speakers.
  43. Contact local medical, nursing or midwifery schools, naturopathic, chiropractic and osteopathic colleges, and massage and holistic health schools in your area and suggest they bring Suzanne Arms to speak and teach. Chiropractors have a particularly strong interest in birthing issues and you might also contact local chiropractors to find out whether there is a chiropractic organization that might be interested in bringing Suzanne Arms to your area.
  44. Consider whether any organization you are part of or support might logically have a reason to include birth in its scope. Once you are familiar with some of the major issues in birth, practice talking about them and linking them to the organization’s vision and goals. You can be sure that birth has ecological, psychological, spiritual, feminist, economic, political ramifications. That should get you thinking. How about interesting your local farmers’ market or ecology group to include a booth on birth. Inform yourself first; browse this website.
  45. Offer to help staff a booth for a local, regional, or national birth-related organization at a local health or art fair or community day to help promote midwifery, natural childbirth, home birth, a local birth center, breastfeeding, and anti-circumcision in your community.
  46. Call your local YMCA, fitness center or pool, and your local community or family center. Ask if they offer education and fitness classes for pregnant women, and infant care classes for parents and parents-to-be. If they don’t, suggest they start having them. If they do, suggest they expand their offerings. Suggest they offer tai chi and/or yoga as well as aerobics and other exercise. It’s very important for women to be fit in pregnancy and that means exercise and rest as well as good diet and keeping away from toxic substances such as oil-based paints, chemical hair and skin products, cigarettes, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, pesticides, and chemical housecleaning agents. And parents need information and support with a new baby, practical help, information about how to be with babies who are crying, how to do infant and baby massage. Help them find good teachers of these classes or workshops and offer to help get the word out about them.
  47. Assume everyone you know is as interested in birth as you are, and act surprised if they aren’t. Assume they don’t know much but would like to, such as how they were born. After all, we were all born, and the experiences we had from our conception through birth and how our mother’s and others cared for us in the first hours, weeks and months have had a lot to do with shaping our lives. Our health, our attitude, our relationships. All of it.
  48. Sharpen your observation skills. Notice, when women are talking about birth, how many of them speak about their epidurals as if they are in love with it, not the birth or the baby. Also notice how many women talk about the birth as if they or their baby might have died if they hadn’t had the doctor, the drugs, the interventions. Remember that among any population of women 10% or fewer is at risk for complications. A skilled midwife with the simplest of equipment and knowledge of first aid, can handle most of those complications outside a hospital. The rest of the problems in birth you hear about have probably been caused by the interventions done (such as inducing labor, given drugs, to speed labor drugs, cesarean…) If you feel comfortable doing so, suggest that in fact the problems that the woman or man are talking about could probably have been solved effectively and safely at home or in a birth center with a midwife, because midwives learn how to identify problems and treat them before they become seriously complications or life threatening. They also transport women to a hospital when that is appropriate. And they are trained in emergency first aid.
  49. Go up and personally thank every woman you see who is breastfeeding in public. And thank her for being a great role model!
  50. When you meet a woman who’s had a wonderful natural birth, especially if at home or in a birth center, encourage her to tell her experience to everyone she meets and her husband or partner and anyone who was present at the birth (such as friends or grandparents) to do the same. It’s amazing how many men are eager to hear!
  51. Speak out at any conference or event you attend where you can make an obvious link to some aspect of birth. Help people make the connection.
  52. Let people know there has never been a good scientific study proving that women should go to a hospital for birth and that hospital no is safer than home birth for a healthy woman. If they think otherwise, ask them to find the evidence. You can find the evidence for what you say in a book called “Safer Childbirth?” by British researcher Marjorie Tew, with a forward in the 1998 edition by anthropologist/author Sheila Kitzinger.
  53. Dare to bring up the subject of home births at the dinner table, or a cocktail party or a social gathering (e.g. “did you know less than _% of births in the US are at home, yet there has never been any scientific research in any country proving that the hospital is the safest place to have a baby.” Refer people to Suzanne Arms website, books, and videos. Suggest to your friends that our attitudes toward birth and women’s bodies in this country are revealed by the words and phrases we use. For example, “She has an incompetent cervix…inadequate pelvis…hostile cervical mucus.” 


  54. Think of a list of inspiring or startling statements and information about birth and write one a week on the sidewalk in chalk, or make little fliers and post them around town. Examples: or “A midwife for every mother!” or “Peace on Earth Begins With Birth
  55. This is just a beginning, to get you started….What else can you do?

Remember you don’t have to be an expert to offer an informed opinion (especially if its backed by a little bit of evidence or your direct experience.) Even just a couple of well chosen facts makes you more knowledgeable than most. And at least you can start the process of getting people thinking and questioning.

suzanne52 Ways You Can Make Birth Better

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