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Why Childbirth Ed is Sex Ed

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Submitted by Alison Cole on Sat, 2009-12-05 10:22

Sex leads to pregnancy leads to childbirth.

This, of course, is a huge oversimplification. It is possible to have lots of satisfying sex that doesn’t lead to pregnancy because a penis never goes into a vagina. It is possible to have chemical or mechanical problems of the reproductive system that make it impossible or unlikely for penis-in-vagina sex to produce pregnancy. People can also have penis-in-vagina sex while using any of a number of chemical, mechanical or physiological methods to prevent pregnancy (contraception).

But, penis-in-vagina sex has been until very recently in human history the only way to make more humans, and it is only recently that it has been as simple (and difficult) as taking a medicine to prevent pregnancy.

When pregnancy occurs as a result of sex, it may not necessarily lead to childbirth. Genetically abnormal embryos often spontaneously abort, and one pregnancy out of five will end spontaneously before halfway through the pregnancy (20 weeks). Many women choose to end unwanted pregnancies through induced abortion, even in countries where abortion is illegal, clandestine, and dangerous because it is practiced outside the reach of evidence-based healthcare. Illegal abortion is a leading contributor to maternal mortality worldwide. In countries where abortion is legal, women have the choice to end an unwanted pregnancy with the help of a trusted healthcare professional and at little risk to their health or well-being. So, women can be pregnant without ever having given birth or having a child.

For most women who choose to get pregnant, sex gets them pregnant, though some use reproductive technology like insemination or in vitro fertilization to conceive. However, all unplanned pregnancies, which is about half of all pregnancies, occur because of penis-in-vagina sex. So, although it is a generalization, it is still generally true: sex leads to pregnancy leads to childbirth.

Knowledge is power. Sex ed helps us take charge of our sexual and reproductive health, and an important part of reproductive health is the part where you’re reproducing: conception, pregnancy and birth. Sexuality is affected by pregnancy, and childbirth is accomplished with the same hormones and muscular contractions as orgasm. Sex, pregnancy, and birth are biologically and physiologically linked. Childbirth ed is sex ed.

All animals are built to reproduce themselves, and we humans do it with sex, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. The pregnancy and birth of your child is your first act as a parent, and as parents you want to make the best choices you can for your children and family. By getting educated about the physiologic process of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, you set yourself up for a healthy reproductive life, and prepare yourself to be an informed consumer of the health-care you receive during pregnancy and childbirth.

I want to bring childbirth ed to Scarleteen because when women and families are educated about birth it can be an empowering, transformative and even sexual experience in the life of a family.

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