Monday, April 5, 2010

what is "birth unplugged"?

I have been considering starting a birth blog for a while now. I finally decided to do it. I chose for the name of my blog "Birth Unplugged" and I'd like to use this, my first post, to explain why.

I thought of the phrase while preparing for the recent birth of my second child. It was really important to me for this birth to go the way I wanted. My first birth was not traumatic, it just wasn't ideal for me. I decided, sort of late in my pregnancy, (I'm sure I'll write more about that in future posts) that I wanted minimal medical intervention. I wanted my body to control the birth process, but it didn't work out that way, because I ended up getting induced.

By the time I was fully dilated, It felt to me like the machines had taken over my birth. I didn't need to produce oxytocin with a machine was steadily dripping pitocin into my blood stream, and there were monitors on me to make sure it was the right amount. I didn't need endorhins because another machine pumped pain killers into my back, I didn't even need to drink or pee because the machines fed me IV fluids and drained my bladder. I had five different tubes/wires connecting me to machines during my birth.

There are times when all of this medical stuff is necessary, but unfortunately, this birth-by-machine model has become the norm in our society. For my second birth, I wanted something different. I wanted to give birth of my own body's power. I wanted to birth unplugged. Unplugged from the machines. Many people don't understand natural childbirth because they are looking at it in terms of a choice between pain and no pain. To me, it is more about power than it is about pain. It is not just about not using pain medication, but about avoiding a whole host of other medical interventions that usually come along with pain relief and take away the woman's body's control over the process of birth.

I am a music lover. I was familiar with the term "unplugged" in reference to acoustic music performances. I did some looking around and found this definition at the Encyclopedia at
unplugged (see buzzwords) implies some sort of essential purity and back-to-the-roots. In fact, it means that the performers are using microphones and acoustic instruments instead of pickups or electric guitars. (
I love the "essential purity and back-to-the-roots" part. I think that birth without unnecessary routine use of technology also fits this definition. Acoustic versions of songs are beautiful for their intimacy and simplicity, the same direction I would love to see childbirth go.


  1. Lovely post. Welcome to the Birth Blogging World!

    I love the idea of birth unplugged.

    I felt like I wasn't even needed with my epidural birth. The machines took over and once I was no longer needing my husband we weren't connected either. It was an odd feeling.

  2. Great minds think alike?

    Four years ago after reading the book Pushed by Jennifer Block my thoughts and reactions were overflowing such that I was contemplating (read: fantasizing about) writing a book myself. My title? Acoustic Childbirth: Birth Unplugged.

    Now planning a website and blog I decided to check who may have already used my idea. . . that's how I found you. :-)