I've been reading a book called Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth by Marsden Wagner, M.D.,M.S. The book has been very informative about all the variations of birth and hospital routines and when an intervention is absolutely necessary and when it is not. This Dr. is very liberal in his views as he believes that birth is a natural process and not medical.
In the chapter about a support and advocacy team during birth, he described the support of a dolphin mother about to give birth. The whole pod is involved. The mother is central and swimming in a circle around the mother is a group of female dolphins. The rest of the female dolphins in the pod swim in a circle around the first circle slightly further away. Then, last but not least, all the males swim in a third circle still further away. The pod pulls together to protect the birthing mother from intrusion and harm. And I quote: "A woman giving birth to a baby thrives when she's at the center of a circle of love."
Just thought it was a really cool picture. I don't think enough can be said for the support a woman has during birth - I truly believe it must make all the difference!