One main feature is the traditional Japanese wooden house built within the compounds of the clinic
where woman give birth completely naturally on futons laid out on tatami-floored rooms, just like in the old days.
At Yoshimura’s clinic, the rate of Caesarean births are about 5 percent and vacuum assisted deliveries are a mere 0.3 percent.
These numbers are amazingly low compared with world standards.
The clinic is relatively small with about twenty-five deliveries a month. There are eight midwives and one doctor.
The obstetric system in Japan is quite different to that of the western countries in that half of the childbirths
take place not in hospitals but in smaller institutions called “clinics”.
There are two types of clinics; those run by an obstetrician and gynecologist, and those run by a midwife.
It is interesting that most of these clinics are actually set up at the doctor’s or midwife’s home.
Yoshimura Clinic which is also set up at his home, consists of several buildings where a total of twenty people work including midwives,
cooks and other staff.
Dr. Yoshimura’s ideal on childbirth is very clear.
He believes that it is not just about the technicalities of allowing women to give natural birth but that in the basis lies the Japanese culture
and the respect for women’s natural abilities.
Another unique feature at Yoshimura’s clinic is the prenatal exercises.
A traditional Japanese house which is three-hundred-and-fifty years old has been reconstructed on the premises
and expectant mothers are encouraged to split firewood, perform sawing and water drawing just like in the old days.
By performing these traditional practices, the women can acquire both physical and mental strength, thus preparing themselves for a natural birth.
It can be said that the secret in natural birth at Yoshimura’s clinic lies in the preventive medicine during pregnancy.
Dr.Yoshimura pays close attention to outpatients, spending about fifteen to thirty minutes with each patient.
Supplying mental care as a doctor in this way is another factor which increases the impact of preventive medicine.
Dr. Yoshimura takes a critical stance towards modern obstetrics.
He argues that the definitions of protracted labour and adaptation of Caesarean sections written in obstetric medical books are set far too early.
He claims that the general medical justification that delivery should not be more than twelve hours is wrong.
The reason why the rate of Caesarean births is low at his clinic is because in the cases of protracted labour,
breech babies or women who have had a previous Caesarean, he observes the development carefully and sometimes waits for as long as five days.
By taking the time and care that would be unthinkable in modern obstetrics,
Yoshimura Clinic has been able to offer obstetric care with the lowest rate of Caesarean births in the world.
Over forty years have passed like a flash whilst I was emersed in my job attending, night and day, over 20,000 child births.
These years were not about impersonal things like medical studies, clinical experiences or hospital management
but as I look back there were times that were hard and there were other times that were like an ascetic training which I enjoyed pretty much.
People say I am a little strange but through what I call my ascetic trainings I have been completely transformed
and that is why my attitude as a doctor and how I view birth is totally different from mainstream practices.
If you look at things from a scientific point of view, you can only see what is visible.
Modern childbirth deliveries in hospitals only pursue medical safety and most doctors can end their lives in attending childbirth
as a mere business practice, following only the professional guidelines set by medical societies without the chance to consider the deep cultural
significances that lay behind the physical phenomenon of childbirth.
The women giving birth are also mind-controlled by modern culture and there are too many women
who lose themselves under the superficial powers of medical services, submit to the supervision of doctors
and give birth according to the manual imposed upon them. As a result, most of them do not have the chance to actively experience birth
as a culture and instead of feeling the deep joy of birth they become weary and are left feeling empty.
Natural childbirth in which the women use their own abilities, makes them feel amazingly happy with a deep love towards the newborn baby
and with a strange feeling of wanting to have more babies, they can hold their babies tightly and be ecstatic with the true happiness of giving birth.
Having attended this kind of childbirth all these years, I myself have felt happy and find it hard to leave my job even at this age.
I am devoted to my work and it has made me live a truly happy life. Everyday is so fulfilled, I will not feel any regrets if I had to die today.
This book is not a manual on childbirth. It is about the the philosophy and aesthetics of childbirth and furthermore about women’s way of life.
Having seen many women’s ways of life and having lived through life with enthusiasm, I cannot help
but feel a spiritual and absolute power in women who live on producing the continuous chain of life. Men can only kneel down before them.