Silent Birth – Birth without Violence

Silent Birth | Birth without Violence

What is the most important event that happened in your life? Birth! Coming into this world was quite an event. Although you don’t remember it anymore, the circumstances in which you were born could have caused traumas that you are still carrying around, unconsciously. People who have been regressed through hypnosis to the moment of birth have remembered unpleasant experiences that caused psychological problems later on in their lives. Silent Birth – Birth without Violence >>


Almost 40 years ago, a French obstetrician – Frédérick Leboyer – had a revolutionary idea. Perhaps, he mused, those most closely involved in childbirth – obstetricians, midwives, even parents – were ignoring the person who mattered most of all.

Frédérick Leboyer - Birth Without Violence,Mr. Leboyer’s pointed criticism of the modern medical establishment was not to be found in peer-reviewed articles, in large-scale studies and trials, or in mountains of data. Rather, in his seminal work, “Birth Without Violence” (1974) it appeared, unusually, in a form of prose poetry.

In the book, published in 1974, Mr. Leboyer argued that the modern delivery room bowed to the needs of doctors, women and procedures while often overlooking those of a primary player in the birth: the baby.

“Could childbirth be as distressing for the child as for the mother?” he wrote in the first part of “Birth Without Violence.” “And if so, does anyone care? It doesn’t seem so, judging by the way we treat the new arrival.”

Mr. Leboyer (he thought people made too much of their education and preferred Mr. to Dr.) argued that babies feel pain, anxiety and suffering, and that the manner in which they come into the world shapes the adults they will become. While he was not the first to advocate natural methods in childbirth, like eschewing unnecessary drugs and medical procedures, Mr. Leboyer set himself apart by focusing primarily on minimizing the baby’s suffering.

In the Leboyer method, the delivery room is kept quiet and dimly lit, to spare the baby from sensory overload. The newborn is not held upside down and spanked, and is not whisked away to be examined directly after birth.

Instead, the baby is gently placed on the mother’s stomach and lightly massaged. The umbilical cord is cut only when it stops pulsating. After a few moments with the mother, the baby is given a warm bath.


Mr. Leboyer drew scorn from the medical establishment. His ideas, his critics said, could endanger the baby and leave doctors open to accusations of malpractice. Doctors needed plenty of light to see the newborn’s color, they said, and as one skeptical doctor told The New York Times in 1974, “a good hearty scream” was important in checking the infant’s breathing. Some accused him of shamanism or quackery.

But he also drew converts. Shortly after “Birth Without Violence” was published, mothers in delivery rooms across the United States, Britain and France began requesting the Leboyer method.



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Alternative Birth Methods: Silent Birth

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