What Hospitals Have Wrong About Childbirth, The Truth About Natural Childbirth, Fertility-Enhancing Methods, A Plant Medicine Bonus Debate & Much More With Dr. Nathan Riley.

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15 years ago, my wife and I attempted to have a natural birth.

But…it didn't go so well.

Sure, we took breathwork classes, had up a waterbirth pool, a fully prepped home, heart rate monitors, doulas, and the like, but unfortunately, after 12 hours of labor, my wife had to go to the hospital for a C-section. Her petite hips just couldn't seem to handle a couple of big ol' twin boys.

Fast forward 15 years and I have now learned a ton about natural birth, and one of the leading voices on birthing and raising a baby naturally, along with plenty of other holistic principles for Ob-Gyn medicine is my guest on this podcast: Dr. Nathan Riley, of Beloved Holistics.

Nathan is a board-certified obstetrician in Kentucky advocating for autonomous birth. Through his experiences as a hospice care provider he learned that choices around end-of-life care are no different from choices in birth: What matters is that mothers feel in charge of their bodies during their birth experiences.  He argues that birth is much more than the standard metrics of vital signs, length of labor, fetal status, or any variable routinely measured in labor in the medical model of care.

The Holistic OBGYN Podcast, Nathan's show, is the catalyst for a new take on pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, and everything in between. It features conversations about relationships, medicine, food systems, political activism, spirituality, and the sacred rites of passage in life, namely birth and death.

Nathan also recently launched his “Born Free Method,” a course aimed at empowering expectant parents to take control of their birthing experience by making informed choices and advocating for themselves within the medical system. Joined by co-instructor Sara Rosser, CPM, Nathan's course provides guidance and support to help parents feel confident and supported as they navigate the transition into parenthood, emphasizing the importance of personal sovereignty and self-determination throughout the process (use code BEN10 to save 10% on the Born Free Method).

Join Nathan and me for this thought-provoking conversation on how women can better empower themselves in birth and hear one courageous OB's perspective on what his role actually is in the birth process: Supporting your sovereignty and your choice without coercion or judgment. Finally, listen to the end of this podcast for a thought-provoking discussion on plant medicines and entheogens!

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Who is Dr. Nathan Riley?…07:26

-Nathan’s background…12:26

-The development of modern medicine and hospitals…18:47

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, German-style medical education became prevalent
    • 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school
  • Philanthropists wanted to invest heavily in medical education in U.S.
  • Abraham Flexner
  • Medical training programs like homeopathy, chiropractic, herbalism, and other modalities were ignored as inferior
  • Schools that were most aligned with the German-style medical education were heavily financed 
    • Pharmaceuticals and surgery
  • The church didn’t want to let doctors dissect
    • Doctors were using very old texts up to 15-16th century
    • Philosophers argued that there the body is separate from the soul and spirit
    • Made dissection possible
  • Today we look at the body as merely a machine
  • Physiology is the only thing that matters at birth
    • Pregnancy is seen as a disease
  • The development of hospitals in the early 20th century was not seen as a benefit to mothers and babies
  • Germ theory and septic techniques led to a decline in mortality and morbidity  
  • Today, we are doing unnecessary C-sections and inducing birth
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life – The Miracle of Birth

-Childbirth as a rite of passage…27:10

-What should natural birth look like?…37:14

  • Imagine the birth of your child and describe the experience
    • Ben’s would be safe, peaceful, and ceremonial setting, comfortable
    • Most people say the same
  • The best place for birth is where you feel safe
  • Hospital births
    • On your back on an uncomfortable bed
    • Noisy environment, beeping, yelling
    • People coming in and out
    • Bright lights
  • People are deliberately choosing home birth because of the bad experience in the hospital
  • The quality of water and food in hospitals
  • Is pregnancy a disease that needs hospital supervision?
  • Why does Nathan keep the cord attached?
  • Colostrum was thought to be bad for babies
  • VernX Peribiotics 

-Natural postpartum care…46:38

-Steaming recommendations…49:07

  • How to steam genitalia?
  • In pregnancy, it prepares the tissue of the pelvis for the birth
  • In postpartum, the steam heals the tissue
  • The Steamy Chick
  • Treating common medical issues with steaming
    • Recurring infections in the vagina or bladder
    • Cervical infections
    • STI's
    • Early cervical dysplasia – can lead to cervical cancer
    • Abnormal periods
    • Uterine polyps
    • Endometrial atypia which can lead to endometriosis
    • Tubal disease
  • Steaming is an ancient practice that predates modern medicine by thousands of years
  • How often is it recommended
    • 3 days before and 3 after bleeding for 30 minutes or longer
  • Boiling water can be used
  • Go to Beloved Holistics, send Dr. Nathan an email for a free steaming consultation

-Nathan’s fertility program…56:53

-Born Free Method…1:13:45

  • Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%) is a collaborative effort with Sarah Rosser 
    • spokesperson for the resurgence of midwifery in contemporary U.S.
  • Holistic Gynecology & Pregnancy Support (use code BEN200 to save $200 off the 6-hr fertility program package)
  • The Farm Midwifery Center
  • Ina May Gaskin
  • Birth should not be seen as a medical procedure
    • it should be seen as a spiritual opportunity
  • Restore the sacredness of birth
  • Unique pregnancy and postpartum course
    • great opportunity for a 12-month journey

-Use of cannabis and psychedelics in pregnancy…1:17:27 

-And much more…

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Nathan Riley:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Nathan Riley or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

3 thoughts on “What Hospitals Have Wrong About Childbirth, The Truth About Natural Childbirth, Fertility-Enhancing Methods, A Plant Medicine Bonus Debate & Much More With Dr. Nathan Riley.

  1. megan malone says:

    I listen to all your podcasts and respect your recommendations and your choice in people to interview….so when my daughter was having gynecological issues and was not getting any help from the Western medical system I recommended she contact Nathan. Unfortunately, he took her payment but has not contacted her or scheduled a consult for over 2 weeks now. Very, very disappointing…… She is now back to trying to find an Allopathic doctor to help her out.

  2. Lambda Winner says:

    I’m glad to know that awareness about childbirth and other related matters is being discussed. Before, it was such a difficult topic to talk about but now, I see so many posts tackling this issue.

  3. J Y Lym says:

    With all due respect (I have followed you for many years now and always look forward to your insights), as a woman who has “free birthed” five times, giving birth is an experience for women, and a conversation about non-medical births must include women who come to birthing as non-medical professionals. If that is what you would like to highlight in a segment about what is wrong about childbirths in a hospital setting.

    May I suggest you reach out to Laura Shanley, she is the “mother” of this movement in America, where it is called unassisted births? She wrote a book called “Unassisted Childbirth”, (https://unassistedchildbirth.com/) which was an important text for me and my husband in 199 when we were preparing for our first child in Brooklyn, NY.

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