How did we come to disregard the sanctity of childbirth for MotherBaby? Why did we move from a social model where each woman was uniquely cared for and nurtured by a circle of women, friends, and family, to a technocractic model where she is stripped of her identity, outfitted in a hospital gown that symbolizes illness and conformity, and indoctrinated into the institution and put on the conveyor belt? This process is well described in Robbie Davis-Floyd’s classic book “Birth as an American Right of Passage.” Where else are people stripped of their identity, disempowered and required to conform to standard practices?
So how do we avoid this? Let’s look at 3 mistakes to avoid in childbirth.
Not taking the time to explore all your options or to ask questions about what you can expect from your caregiver in childbirth. Instead, take the time to plan your birth as you would your wedding, or another day your will remember, and cherish all your life. Carefully consider where, with whom, and how you want to give birth. Know how others rate the care they received from your caregiver. Know your providers rates of interventions, as well as the number of births that happen upright, in water, with doulas and with any options you would like. As their percentage is your rate of possibility for the birth you desire.
Not demanding dignity, respect and being a part of decision making. Too many women I meet remember their birth as less than great, and sadly a growing number experience birth as traumatic, and go on to bear a lifetime of birth trauma since they not receive respect, dignity and/or had things done to them rather than with them. As Human Rights in Childbirth says,
Women do not lose their basic human rights once they become pregnant, and yet, across the globe, women’s human rights are compromised and violated around childbirth. – HRiC
Instead, “Stand up and Deliver – Don’t take it lying down. Don’t let anyone put you down in childbirth!” (as I have said again and again). Demand dignity, respect and informed decision making! Birth is a day that should be ecstatic, powerful and a memory you will treasure all your life. Your birth memory begins with the care and respect you receive- feeling that everyone on your birth team, including your caregivers, respects you and honors your opinion and decisions, is an essential part of having a positive birth experience.
Not preparing for birth with a took kit of comfort measures. Not understanding the pros & cons to MotherBaby when medication is introduced for comfort (since any medications can start a series of interventions). Instead, understand the many comfort measure we already know are very effective at relieving pain and providing comfort and pleasure. These comforts are described in in the recent review, Nonpharmacologic approaches for pain management during labor compared with usual care: a meta-analysis.
Nonpharmacologic approaches, based on Gate Control (water immersion, massage, ambulation, positions) and Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control (acupressure, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, water injections), are associated with a reduction in epidural analgesia and a higher maternal satisfaction with childbirth. Read more
This evidence is also cited in this report from Science and Sensibility Non Drug Coping Strategies Improve Outcomes,
Reviewers reached the rather anemic conclusion that epidurals did best at relieving pain—no surprise there—but increased need for medical intervention—no surprise there either—while non-drug modalities (hypnosis, immersion in warm water, relaxation techniques, acupressure/acupuncture, hands on techniques such as massage or reflexology, and TENS) did equally well or better than their comparison groups… Read more
It is understandable we make the above listed mistakes as when women are afraid- in hospitals where they are put down, put into gowns that strip their identity, hooked up to Intravenous drips and monitors and put into bed- we know they will experience longer, more painful labors so are driven by pain and fear. Then we say women can’t manage their pain and it is our broken system that is putting them in so much pain without options for comfort in the first place. Don’t make the mistake of expecting pain, listening to stories full of pain, and bringing fear into your conscious.
How can you move from our current paradigm of pain to experience an easier, more sacred, pleasurable birth? These thoughts and ideas open us to see birth through a new lens, as well as to learn and to share the many techniques that can help women to have an easier, gentler, safer and more satisfying birth experience with the help of doulas, exercise balls, water and aquadural, movement, song, dance, touch, acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, rebozo technique, lunges, birth ambiance, and more. What techniques do you wish all women had access to in childbirth to help them to move from pain to pleasure? Create your tool kit for comfort and pleasure and ask what comfort measures will be available to you at your place of birth.
There are many ways to make a difference and heal our broken maternity care system and help every MotherBaby and family have a safe, satisfying and pleasurable birth experience. What will you to do spread the information and knowledge that birth can and should be filled with emotion, power and orgasmic bliss?
Share your thoughts and ideas below in the comments and let’s transform childbirth together.
Pain to Power Online Childbirth Education and Pain to Power Online Childbirth Videos helps support your natural birth and guide you towards a pleasurable birth. Learn more today.