5 Things Caregivers SHOULD Be Saying To Mums About Birth
Updated: Jan 28, 2019
I feel sad when women tell me things like “my pelvis is too small to birth naturally,” “my body just isn’t able to produce milk,” “my partner just wants me to take the drugs, as he doesn’t want to see me in pain,” “I was 7 days over my due date, so I had to be induced,” or “I had to be induced as my baby was too big.” It’s no wonder women don’t trust their bodies, when medical professionals tell them this, when family members, friends or strangers tell us their negative birth experiences and we see TV shows or movies showing the drama of birth.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not pointing the finger at any of the above statements, as I am sure that for many women in such situations are perfectly happy with how their births have turned out and neither Mum or baby has experienced any adverse consequences, as a result of various interventions, such as an induction or a caesarean.
Further, interventions can absolutely work as “natures little helper.”
Sometimes, they do nudge things along and sometimes they are life saving. However, the research overwhelmingly suggests that they are overused and may even influence the birth in a negative way. Further, there is much evidence now to indicate that babies that are birthed naturally, do fare better, in regard to health over their life span (see the new documentary Microbirth). So, it’s a shame that caesareans are being provided so readily, when perhaps they are not necessary.
It would be great if you, Mumma, were given the message that...
1. Your birthing body already knows what to do. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and think that you really need to think about growing your baby's fingernails tonight? No? Why not!? Because your body just KNOWS how to grow your baby right?!
Well guess what? Just like your body grows your baby, it also knows how to birth your baby. It doesn't just give up the ghost, on the day your baby decides to arrive.
2. Birth is inherently normal, not inherently risky. It is actually the exception to the rule that women are just unable to give birth naturally or that labour needs to be artificially stimulated. The World Health Organisation state that 85% of women are capable of giving birth with minimal or no intervention and that countries that have induction rates of higher than 10%, are doing more harm than good. Australia has a caesarean rate of 32% and an induction rate of 26%. Of course some women actively decide on interventions well before they go into labour, such as an induction, an epidural or a caesarean. That’s great, at least they are taking charge of their birth journey and are being actively involved in the process.
3. You and your birthing partner should be actively involved in the decision making process throughout pregnancy and birth. Like any other medical situation in your life, don't just accept that you should be completely passive. Ask questions and don't be afraid to seek a second opinion. This is a human right of childbirth “the right to be an active member in decision making during your pregnancy, labour and birth and the right to be given all the necessary information.”
However, often, unless you directly ask your caregiver about the pros and cons of an intervention and what happens if you do nothing, the reason for the intervention is the only explanation given. You also have the right to ask your caregiver for the evidence and a good caregiver will be more than happy to provide you with the pros and cons of any intervention.
4. Stay at home as long as possible. Now this is one that most caregivers will tell you. Unless you're being induced that is. But once you're in labour, stay in the comfort of home, as long as you feel practical. Home is way more comfortable than a hospital room right? Watch TV, sleep, go for a walk, listen to music, cook, cuddle, shower, whatever you can to manage. And when you absolutely can't cope any more, head to the hospital. As if you're not in active labour, once you head to hospital, the lights, the questioning, the vaginal exams etc, can all cause labour to stall. Time will pass more quickly at home and a familiar environment, gets the oxytocin going.
5. Practice Relaxation/Meditation/Breathing Strategies. Fear or anxiety can tighten the muscles of the uterus, thus causing more pain, ineffective contractions and a lack of oxygen to the uterus and baby. Therefore, it is very important that a woman learns relaxation and breathing strategies to allow the uterine muscles to relax and to release oxygen. Even in caesareans, keeping as calm as you can is helpful for you to stay focussed and for baby to stay calm too.
I'd love to share more birthing wisdom with you at my next Hypnobirthing Australia Class. Click here to get in contact ;)