You have the right to a pleasurable birth. A pleasurable birth is a positive birth where you are respected, part of decision making and are able to weave in whatever brings you pleasure: touch, intimacy, dance, singing, kissing, love, images, visualizations. With moments of pleasure, you can better face any challenges and this is what I call an Orgasmic Birth, a birth that you can look back at with pleasure and power.
You have the right to create an environment of pleasurable birth ambiance. The hormones of labor and birth are the same hormones of sexuality and need the same sensuality to flow. Consider how you will feel and enjoy what you see, hear, smell, feel and taste, what ways can you create your birth ambiance to support your sensual hormonal flow in any setting.
You have the right to have Privacy. Privacy is essential for oxytocin the hormone of love to flow. How do you describe privacy and how will you create the privacy you need for the intimacy of labor and birth – this includes feeling private with your partner, providers, and place of birth.
You have the right to feel and to be Safe. Feeling safe is essential every day and even more so in childbirth. When you feel safe you can gently open yourself to birth, when you don’t feel safe, nature is designed to flood you with stress hormones to take you to safety, these stress hormones will slow or stop your labor.
You have the right to Laugh, Love, and Connect with your Inner Wisdom. I always say love through labor – love yourself, your baby, and your partner as they love and honor you. Feeling love from friends and loved ones near or far is all a part of your pleasure chest – as is laughter and checking in with yourself as you know your body and your baby best. Your inner knowing will guide you.
You and your baby have the right to be treated with Love, Respect and Dignity. This says it all!
You have the right to enjoy your Sacred Sexuality/Sensuality. Birth is sexual- taking time to heal, learn, and expand your sexuality and consider how it will impact how you feel about birth is important to find pleasure in the process instead of being triggered to trauma. Our award-winning documentary Orgasmic birth included Helen’s birth story, a survivor of sexual abuse birth whose birth helped her to reclaim her body and sexuality. This is an important step that is too often overlooked as the sexuality of childbirth has been stripped and sterilized away.
You have the right to be involved in and fully informed about care for yourself and your baby. Being a part of the decisions is essential to have a positive pleasurable birth. This means nothing is ever done without your permission and consent, from safe touch to any intervention – it’s your body, baby, and birth – and it’s your right to fully be informed, understand and be a part of the decision making this is an essential part of Respectful care.
You have the right to be offered drug-free comfort and pain-relief measures. Step 5 of the International Childbirth Initiative says: Offer non-pharmacological comfort and pain relief measures as safe first options, explaining their benefits for facilitating normal birth. Educate women (and their companions) about how to use these methods, including breathing, touch, holding, massage, relaxation techniques, and labouring in water (when available). If pharmacological pain relief options are available and requested, explain their benefits and risks. Train staff in all comfort measures and pain relief options and to respect women’s preferences and informed choices to maximize their confidence and wellbeing” There are so many ways to transform pain to power with pleasure and taking classes that prepare you to move and find positions that help your baby to rotate and move gently thru labor and birth makes a world of difference – getting into a bed, laying on your back can cause longer and often more painful labors.
You and your baby have the right to receive care consisting of evidence-based practices proven to be beneficial in supporting the normal physiology of labor, birth, and postpartum. To read more about what is considered evidence-based practices that benefit you and your baby read Step 6 of the International Childbirth Initiative www.icichildbirth.org (you may also want to read Step 7 of all the harmful practices to be avoided that are too commonly overused when now needed. Read here.
You and your baby have the right to be cared for by practitioners with knowledge of and skills to support breastfeeding.
You and your baby have the right to remain together skin-to-skin for at least the first hour, to stay together 24 hours a day, and to breastfeed on demand. The ICI Step 12 Refers to 10 Steps of the revised Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
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