Tag Archives: Midwifery

Preparation for Birth

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There is so much talk about preparing for birth.  So I’d love for this post to be as interactive as possible.  Please feel free to comment, leave suggestions you might have for expectant mothers, and tell us how you prepared for your birth/s.

Pregnancy, for most women lasts from 37-42 weeks, and while that seems like a long time, it really is not.  In that time, couples/families become very involved in preparing for the birth, and I can’t help but wonder if families prepare enough.  We all know that couples, especially first time parents, go a little wacko on baby registries, and I’m sure stores are thrilled with this.  But are couples preparing adequately for the birth of their newest loves?

How did you prepare for your birth/s?  Do you think you prepared enough?  Do you think you could have ever been prepared enough?  So here are some questions I’d love for you to weigh in on.

  1. Did you take childbirth classes?  (If so, where were they offered?  Do you feel like you learned enough to feel comfortable with giving birth?)
  2. Did you interview multiple care providers, and shop around at several hospitals/birthing centers?
  3. Did you take other classes?  (Breastfeeding, Newborn Care, Etc)
  4. Did you research routine interventions that are used in hospitals?
  5. Did you research newborn care procedures in hospitals?
  6. Did you prepare a birth plan?  If so, did anyone help you with this?
  7. Did you have all of your questions answered by your care provider?  (Questions to Ask your Care Provider)
  8. Were you satisfied with the prenatal care your received?
  9. Were you comfortable with your care provider/hospital?
  10. Did you feel prepared to give birth?

I know that right now, in my community, there are two hospitals.  I have attended births at both, and each has its own policies and procedures, some the same, and some very different.  I cannot say that one hospital is better than the other, simply because I am not a woman who is preparing to give birth in either.  Each woman preparing for birth, prepares in her own way.  And the consensus I hear around my area is that women are not necessarily feeling prepared adequately.

The sad truth is that there is over-crowding in the hospitals, and the time that women receive with their care providers is little.  I always encourage women to ask tons of questions, and ensure that her questions are answered before she leaves her doctors office – whether she feels good about the answers or not.  I went to a Homebirth Meetup Group in Fayetteville a couple weeks ago, and heard a woman say that she felt like cattle in the system that is caring for pregnant mothers.  No mother should feel that way, ever, but especially by the providers who will help her to birth her baby.

Preparing to give birth is HUGE.  I believe that couples should research until they are blue in the face.  Here are the things I think should be researched by every expectant couple:

  1. Proper nutrition during pregnancy
  2. Advantages of hiring a Doula/Labor Support
  3. Childbirth Classes – Which one is the best fit for you?
  4. Routine interventions – imposed by care provider, and by hospital
  5. Medical reasons for induction & augmentation of labor (when it is appropriate to do so)
  6. Medical reasons for Cesarean section
  7. Routine newborn procedures – who does them, when are they done, which are mandatory
  8. Circumcision – Do you want this done?  (Here is a guide for you to look at if you’re curious about why or why not to have this done.)
  9. Vaccinations – Will you vaccinate, will you delay?

Another sad truth is that many people research what car to buy, what TV to buy, what cable service to use, where to have their dog groomed more than they do how to give birth, where to give birth, who to have in attendance, and what the process will be like for them.  Some women do not feel confident with the care they receive, but do not switch providers.  So, if I can make one suggestion, it would be to prepare for your birth, and this includes switching providers if you do not feel comfortable with them. Prepare for birth, for you and your baby.

Make this interactive:  COMMENTS PLEASE.

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Talking Birth

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Talking to my friend online about her birth reminds me that there are different views of birth.  There are the people who go to medical school to attend very medicalized births of frightened women who may or may not be prepared for the challenges of childbirth.  These same people attend births that are largely medicated in one form or another, and because of this, they see this as “normal”. The women who give birth in this setting often have to fight for their birth wishes.  Even if women don’t come armed with birth plans, some have desires that they would like met, but in the face of having to defend their wishes in the presence of staff, they give up.

The normal that the other group of people see is totally and completely different.  We see birth as nothing short of a miracle.  Birth is normal, it is natural, and it is healthy.  Birth is meant to happen to women, and women were built to give birth.  We grow babies that are the perfect size for our bodies.  The normal birth that this group sees has every confidence in birth.  Birth is not a medical event, and it certainly is not an emergency.  The women who give birth among this group of attendees often simply drift through birth  without a fight.  These births are peaceful, calm, quiet (sometimes eerily so), and have a sacred feel to them.  Women feel loved, at peace, protected, nurtured, and surrender to their birthing energy.

I love talking birth, probably more than anything else in this world (except for sharing stories about Sydney, of couse!).  My passion comes out, I get fired up, and I want for others to feel what I feel about this subject.  There are certain things about birth that anger me, some that make me so proud to be a woman, and some that just sadden me.

I think back to my own labor, when I felt totally in control.  And even upon arrival at the hospital, in San Ramon, CA, I felt the same.  The team of people I had supporting me was incredible.  Never did anyone treat the impending birth of Sydney like it was an emergency, or even a medical event.  I self hydrated, walked, did many position changes, had intermittent monitoring, and never heard a mention of my pain.  Going through labor was a time in my life when I felt the most vulnerable, but knew I was so loved and supported.  Sydney’s birth was at the very least challenging.  But it was also a time that defined much of my life now, it was a time that empowered me, and bonded us together as a family.

Birth is a time when women must feel supported, loved, and vulnerable.  Our birthing energy must be focused, intent, and committed.  We must labor with conviction, with a knowledge that we can do this.  Women who lose this energy, this conviction become easily steered in directions they may not want to go.  This does not make them weak at all, it just makes their path to birth different, and sometimes a bit more challenging, and sometimes still, more dangerous.

The births that OBs and L&D nurses see are dramatized because of the environment in which they are.  They are closely monitored, managed, and manipulated.  These births are mere fragments of what births should be.  Many of these births are not at all what the mothers or the babies want, but sometimes, mothers truly know no different.  Often times mothers are convinced of what they should want because of stories they have seen and heard from others (friends, family, media sources, etc), which creates fear in them, and they lose confidence and are convinced they need anesthetic assistance to get through birth.

Medicalized birth certainly has its place, it has its time, it has its necessity.  But it is not a majority of the time.  Healthy full-term mothers have a right to be fully apprised of how their bodies function, and how to work with their bodies and babies to have a birth with as few interventions as possible.

So here are some of my suggestions for a healthier birthing experience.

  1. Take ownership for how you want to give birth.  Decide now, and follow through.
  2. Eliminate the words “Delivery” and “Deliver” from your vocabulary.  They allow you no responsibility as a birthing mother.
  3. Create a birth plan.
  4. Research, research, research.
  5. Consider options you may not have considered before (home birth, birthing center, water birth, different hospital etc).
  6. Choose a care provider that is completely supportive of what you want.  If he/she is not, find another one.
  7. Prepare for birth by taking a birthing class that fits well with you and your birth partner.
  8. Believe in your abilities to give birth.
  9. Hire a doula.
  10. Be flexible about labor and birth, accept that some things in birth may shift a bit.
  11. Envision your birth, just the way you want it to be.
  12. Ask for positive birth stories only.  Walk away if people share anything less.
  13. Do NOT watch shows like Maternity Ward or A Baby Story.
  14. Arrange everything ahead of time so when birthing time nears, your life is free of undue stress.
  15. When labor begins, stay at home as long as you are comfortable.
  16. Have a happy, healthy, and safe birth.
  17. Take time following birth to talk about your birth to a person who respects you and will not judge.
  18. Do not feel like a failure if you chose to have interventions that you previously thought you would not.  You are NOT a failure.

Comments Welcome.

What would YOU like to read about?

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I am always interested in reading new articles about birthing, helping people to understand HypnoBirthing, and helping my community to become more progressive toward birthing.

With this in mind, I am giving the floor to you, my readers!  Please write me a comment and tell me what kind of things interest you about birthing or what kinds of questions you have.  HypnoBirthing is not a medical birthing method, but we do help couples to achieve a gentle birth in medical settings (often, and with beautiful results).  So medical birthing questions are fair game (to include questions about breech babies, interventions, etc. )  Keep in mind, also that HypnoBirthing does not require that I am medically trained, because I do not assist my couples medically.

So here you go, the floor is yours!  Ask your questions, and I will answer as many of them as possible, in blog format! I look forward to reading them and answering them.

~Teva

International Cesarean Awareness Month

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I was floating around Facebook, and saw this posted!  Avoiding the First C-Section :  An article on Birth Sense about what kinds of questions to ask your provider in order to avoid unnecessary interventions that have a high risk of leading to cesarean sections.  In HypnoBirthing, we teach awareness of how to avoid interventions, and how to advocate for a natural start of labor.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the C-section rate in the United States has risen 53% since 1996.  Scary! Cesarean birth is being overused, and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is being grossly underused, at about 8%, because many hospitals are outlawing VBACs.  Because of bans on VBACs, women have been denied access in over 40% of hospitals in the United States .  The National Institutes of Health has found that VBACs are reasonably safe for women who had a previous cesarean birth and are low risk for uterine rupture.

Many hospitals and providers fail to disclose all of the risks associated with cesarean birth.  Some of the risks of cesarean birth include:

  • Life-threatening risks to mother
  • Long-term risk to reproductive health and future pregnancies
  • Longer recovery time following birth
  • More pain following birth
  • Baby is often whisked away to the nursery or NICU
  • Often no skin-to-skin bonding immediately
  • Trouble with breastfeeding
  • Bonding may be difficult for mother and baby (because of drugs, and separation time)
  • Low Birth Weight in babies
  • Respiratory problems in babies
  • Infection in mother
  • Risk of excessive bleeding in mother

So with all of these risks, what can YOU do to avoid having your first c-section?

  • Take a birthing class that encourages you to speak up for yourself.
  • Know your options about avoiding interventions and how to achieve a natural onset of labor.
  • Know your provider, ask questions until you are blue in the face.
  • Learn about the risks to all interventions you may be faced with.
  • Speak up when you feel like something goes against what you want (don’t wait till next time).
  • Ask for patience at all times from your providers while you are in labor (many c-sections and interventions happen because providers and/or hospitals expect birth to happen at their rate, not at the rate of the mother and baby).
  • If interventions and/or c-section are not medically necessary, ask for more time.
  • If membranes have released, ask for antibiotics after 24 hours, or whenever is standard practice at the hospital.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what about if you’ve already had a c-section and are faced with the possibility of another one?  The International Cesarean Awareness Network has provided a document for women whose providers or hospitals have banned VBACs.

The bottom line, with all of this is, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!  Research what you want to know, and stand behind your wishes for you and your baby.  It is your birth, and you have every right to have a beautiful and gentle one.

~Teva

Comments welcome.