Aboriginals of Australia
The Aboriginals of Australia sought to preserve several birth traditions that birth workers these days are integrating into their teachings. As western medicine swept throughout the country of Australia in the late 1800’s, Aboriginals were ashamed by the recommendations for how they were instructed to labor and birth their children. The Aboriginals insisted on being able to birth in an upright, squatting position instead of lying down or on their backs. They also fought for the ability to have a husband present during labor and birth, something that wasn’t even normalized in western society until nearly 1975. It was even common practice for Aboriginal midwives to achieve delayed or optimal cord action, and the umbilical cord was never severed until it had completely stopped pulsating.
To my fellow birth workers, does any of this sound familiar to you?
The significance of having a burning fire roaring throughout labor and birth was an important one to Aboriginals birthing on their homeland, and also during the postpartum period too. A healthy fire provides warmth, protection, relaxation, pain relief, comfort, and safety. Ceremonies that involve smoking a fire are still performed today to encourage lactation, protection over the new child, and healing in the parent following birth. While the Aboriginals do not practice hygiene, they have an impressive rate of healthy live births. Birth attendants do not touch a birthing parent’s genitals, thus reducing and nearly eliminating the chances of puerperal infection. - 4 hours ago