(Natural) Childbirth

Once upon a time all births were natural. A lot has happened since then.

Episode 215 | October 4, 2016
Illustration of childbirth

(Natural) Childbirth by Distillations Podcast

Our producer is pregnant. For the past nine months people have asked what her birth plan is, which to her seems like asking what kind of weather she had planned for her wedding day. “All of a sudden my life was full of these terms: natural, medicated, doula, epidural, and it quickly became clear that there was a great debate—and I was supposed to choose a side.” 

We wanted to know when this controversy started, and why comedian Amy Schumer is joking about sea-turtle births. So we talked to Lara Freidenfelds, a historian of sexuality, reproduction, and women’s health in America, and learned some surprising things about our nation’s early childbirth practices.

Freidenfelds also shared her views about why a growing number of women are opting for unmedicated births, while Amy Tuteur, a retired obstetrician and the author of Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting, tells us that once upon a time all births were natural—and a lot of mothers and babies died.

Show Clock

00:01 Inside Amy Schumer: "It's Better for the Baby"
01:00 Intro
02:32 Feature story: "I Can't Get To You"
11:25 Amy Tuteur and Lara Freidenfelds discuss the history and controversy behind natural childbirth.



Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Guests: Amy Tuteur and Lara Freidenfelds
Reporter: Kristin Gourlay
Producer: Mariel Carr
Associate Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez
Audio Engineer: Seth G. Samuel


Music courtesy of the Audio Network.