We believe parents and birthing people should feel informed and empowered, without feeling overwhelmed. Birth in the US, and the image of birth is fear-based. We believe that is predatory and doesn't allow people to experience birth in the way that is safe, encouraging, and family-centered.
This a list of terms you might hear and need to learn more about. If you come across a word that you've not heard of -- a condition, procedure, risk, or option -- and it's not listed here, please let us know! We'd like to add it.
It's like due date, but less pressure. The range of normal for babies to be born is anywhere from 38 weeks to 42 weeks. Giving a due date implies that the baby is late, and not normal, if you pass that date. Since almost half of all births in the United States are induced with pitocin, which is one of the leading reasons for surgical births, this puts a birthing person at greater risk.
Birth Centers often have a home-like feel (some are even homes converted into birth centers). They typically follow the midwifery model of care which sees pregnancy, birth and postpartum as normal physiological events with limited interventions, rather than a medical event. Education and continuous, hands-on support are foundations to this model of care. The stay after a birth is anywhere from two to eight hours. Birth Centers have highly skilled medical professionals which can include: nurses, midwives, doulas, and sometimes obstetricians. They care for the whole person and all aspects of perinatal health including prenatal, labor, birth, newborn, and postpartum care. Midwives are trained in caring for many birth medical events, but work closely with nearby hospitals in case a transfer is needed.
The non-gendered way to refer to a person that is pregnant and giving birth. Too often we refer to birthing people as mothers or women, but the truth is that there are birthing people who are surrogates or the birthing person for adoptive parents, or a transgender or non-binary person with a uterus. Not all birthing people are women or mothers and not all parents are birthing people. This term is more inclusive and leaves no one out.
This term encompasses many different areas of those who assist in the birth of a little one. It can mean a doula, midwife, lactation consultant, chiropractor, labor and birth nurse, massage therapist. Those who work with pregnant and birthing people.
Just like it sounds. A midwife or doctor places their skilled hands near the vagina when the birthing person has pushed the head out. They guide the little one into safe arms with as little intervention as possible. Sometimes the partner gets in on this privilege. The birthing person amazingly goes through a normal physiological process, they do the work (although, don’t get us wrong...we know how hard birthworkers work).
At Mina we rarely use this term and prefer active language centering the birthing person who grew the baby and birthed the baby. Saying "delivery" centers the doctor or care provider. We prefer the term "Catching the Baby" or "Birth".
Homebirth most often occurs at the home of the birthing person. A highly skilled midwife and typically an assistant attend the birth together. They follow the midwifery model of care which sees pregnancy, birth and postpartum as normal physiological events with limited interventions, rather than a medical event. Education and continuous, hands-on support are foundations to this model of care. They care for the whole person and all aspects of perinatal health including prenatal, lab
Hospital births most often occur with an obstetrician and other skilled medical professionals. The obstetric model of care looks to treat complications that can occur during pregnancy, labor, and birth. Birth is seen as a medical event often coupled with interventions such as medications, epidurals, and sometimes surgery. The average stay at a hospital is 24 to 48 hours after birth occurs. Hospitals typically have Maternity Wards or Birth Centers within them that serve as a separate part of the hospital reserved for parents and babies. Some hospitals also have Midwives that oversee births. They can use the Midwifery Model of Care, but are usually overseen by an OBGYN.
A birth that has one or more interventions such as augmented birth, painkillers, or an epidural.
This term has gotten a lot of pushback. Every vaginal birth actually is natural, because birth is a natural physiological process. (And that’s not to diminish those who’ve had a surgical birth, your birth is not “less than” at all but it was a surgical process). Words like “natural” are thrown out quite a bit (ugh, are chicken fingers natural, I think not). We can sadly start to draw lines in the sand and have an “us vs. them” type of mentality when we start saying things like, my birth was natural, but yours not so much. Instead, we like to say unmediated birth, medicated birth, and surgical birth or vaginal birth.
It’s probably pretty common to hear the term C-Section, which sounds like a nice little shortened way of referencing a Cesarean Birth. But because language is crafty and means things, when we take the “birth” out of those terms, we start to strip the birthing person from that experience. A surgical birth or cesarean birth — is birth. It deserves all the respect and power given to the person birthing their child as any other form of birth.
A birth with no intervention such as augmented birth (induction), painkillers, or an epidural.