Goshen News, Goshen, IN


November 11, 2012

WHOLE FAMILY: Going ‘natural’ doesn’t equal masochism


SO, WHEN SOMEONE calls you a “natural birth Nazi” or worse, he or she might say, “You’re just a masochist. Not me. I don’t like the pain.” It’s a strange argument, usually undergirded by one’s own insecurity, to suggest that people like me — normal, natural proponents — are masochists.

Ask my own birth attendants and they’ll tell you: Steph did not like the pain. In fact, she used some colorful terminology toward it, words we didn’t know she knew.

Here’s the BUT, though, the point: Most childbirth pain is normal, natural. Because it is so, it really is — usually — manageable. In fact, at the risk of being called a masochist, normal, natural childbirth pain is  good.

I’ve been preparing a talk for fellow nursing students, a talk I dub loosely, “Natural Childbirth.” In preparing what to say, this struck me:

Most health-care workers, nurses especially, are taught two things about pain: One, pain is pathology; and two, pain must be stopped, usually via medication.

It’s likely at least the former is true for most situations: Pain is, commonly, evidence of something wrong. Could be outright trauma, nerve troubles (“neuropathy”), some sort musculoskeletal misalignment. Even a simple deficit like malnutrition or low blood sugar can cause pain. Whichever woe causes the pain, it usually is that — a woe.

But check this out. Childbirth is not a woe, not usually. Childbirth pain is not pathological. It is supposed to be there. It’s normal, natural, yes, but not all that common in a life span of 80 years to push 7 pounds of baby through a tiny space that has to contract and stretch in great proportions.

So it hurts. Childbirth hurts. And it’s OK.

A pain assessment is considered, these days, to be a vital sign finding, as in we students nurses are taught to always ask our patients, “Are you in pain?” And if the answer is yes? We’re taught — most times — to check for what medications we might be able to administer.

“Alternative” methods to pain relief — say, dimming the lights or reducing sound or relaxation exercises — sometimes get a nod from health-care workers, but that’s usually because it’s just too soon to give another Tylenol.

Because I’m early in my nursing career, I don’t yet know yet about patients with chronic — or even acute — pain. I’ve read just a little and realize pain management is an holistic and worthwhile discipline in and of itself. To those who suffer from chronic pain: You have my sympathies — perhaps my care one day — and not my criticism of  how you handle it. I’m counting on you to educate me.

But I do know about childbirth pain, both having felt it and witnessed much of it in others, and I can tell you we would do well to leave it in a category of its own and not treat it the same way we treat trauma pain or chronic pain.

So next week I’ll go a little further and write about how to manage childbirth pain without Pharmacia. You might be surprised how simple — normal, natural — it is.

Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, midwife’s assistant and nursing student from Elkhart. Contact her at wholefamily@goshennews.com, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”


Text Only
  • GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Schrock boys could add some excitement to White House EDITOR’S NOTE: Rhonda’s Schrock’s column normally appears on Mondays, but was moved this week due to fair coverage.What a wonderful time of year. As I write, a summer rain is falling. Instead of bundling up in layers, tripling my normal circumference

    July 20, 2014

  • Puppy in perilfrom parvo Dear Dr. Weldy’s: My neighbor’s puppy is sick with parvovirus. Are my dogs at risk? What can you tell me about this illness?Dear reader: If your dogs are current on vaccines, they are at very little risk of contracting this virus. Parvovirus is a com

    July 20, 2014

  • SHADES OF GREEN: Educating future leaders in environmental issues is important Thinking about my future year at Goshen Middle School, I found this essay I wrote in 2009 that I will read often while working with my 12-year-old students.***I’ve had many mentors who have led me down my path of education. Ones who have inspired; on

    July 20, 2014

  • GN140720 whole family 01 A special memory on graduation day Today I get “pinned,” a nursing-school version of a graduation ceremony during which we say a pledge to take good care of people and grin goofy-like — I’m sure I will — as our favorite faculty gift us roses, handshakes, and a little gold broach.Oh, a

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'Staycation' a simple, but fun alternative One of the column topics that I get a lot of comments, compliments and feedback on is when I write about my vacation adventures (or should I say, misadventures?).Since I took a spring vacation this year and didn’t have any other plans to travel, I de

    July 19, 2014

  • Calls aboutlarge, green June bugs increasing The caller was a bit frantic as she described huge bugs flying all around her backyard, seemingly chasing her around as she tried to investigate what was going on near her garden. She described them as shiny green, and shaped somewhat like a Japanese

    July 18, 2014

  • GN140718 dirt on gardening grubs DIRT ON GARDENING: Grubs, left untreated, will continue to cause damage Bugs are a gardener’s worst nightmare — or seemingly so. Every year we are confronted with these pesky critters that enjoy eating the leaves and vegetation of our prized landscapes and vegetable gardens — sometimes even the vegetables themselves.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Briefly ELKHARTRep. Neese appointed to recycling committeeIndiana State Rep. Tim Neese has been reappointed to the advisory committee of the Indiana Recycling Market Development Board by Indiana Speaker of the House Brian C. Bosma. Neese is one of four legis

    July 18, 2014

  • Briefly MIDDLEBURYNorthridge Class of 1984 to meetMembers of the Northridge High School Class of 1984 will meet at Das Dutchman Essenhaus Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m.For more information, go to Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.l.martin.1238.ELKHARTC

    July 17, 2014

  • Dean's list The following students were named to the spring dean’s list at Ball State University:Elkhart CountyElkhart: Dayna Arnett, Lathanial Berkel, Garret Brubaker, Andrew Campogni, Courtney Cromas, Becca Davila, Melissa Dawson, Todd Dion, Evan Eby, Logan Ed

    July 17, 2014


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results