How do you have an empowering birth?
The key to having an empowering birth is to have a birth where you feel in control and where you are able to make informed decisions.
Sadly in Australia today, with our terribly high levels of intervention, postnatal depression and birth trauma, you can’t just enter a maternity service and hope for the best. To look after your baby, your body and your birth experience you need to take the time to consider the following four points
- Know the risks and reasons for intervention
- Know your alternatives
- Know your rights
- Attend independent child birth classes
- Listen to only empowering birth stories
- Read great books on ways to have a natural birth
- Learn ways to manage birth that don’t require drugs
2. Care Providers
- Your best chance of a natural birth with out compromising safety is to have one to one midwifery care.
- Choose people that believe in your ability to birth naturally.
- Research their statistics.
- Listen to the words they use.
- At a hospital birth, consider employing an independent midwife or doula to be with you in labour as an advocate for you and your baby.
- Remember if you employ a private obstetrician they work for you, tell them what you want, ask lots and lots of questions.
- Remember it is never too late to change your care provider.
Where you choose to birth your baby is one of the biggest decision that you will make.
Things that you might like to consider when choosing a place to have your baby.
- Will you feel safe there? Women give birth easier and faster when they feel safe.
- Can you move around?
- Can you dim the lights?
- Will you be allowed to eat food during labour if you wish? Usually your body will naturally not want to consume food but if you have a long labour you may want to eat which is very helpful in keeping up your energy. Some hospitals have restrictions about this.
- Will you have privacy?
- Will you have access to a shower all during your labour?
- Will you be able to immerse yourself in water or a bath during labour, and birth if you choose a waterbirth? Is there good access to hot water? Some hospitals have the temperature set so low on the main water supply a tepid bath is the best you can get. During a water birth it is essential the water is at the correct temperature during the birth. Your midwife can advise you about this.
- Will you be able to get down on the floor if you want to be there during labour? Some women feel the need to labour on their hands and knees and some hospitals may not have anything to put on the floor for you to have a clean soft surface. You can take your own if you are prepared.
- Will the staff tell you to be quiet in labour?
- Will you routinely be offered drugs for pain relief — gas, pethidine, epidural? If you want to birth without these, it helps to choose a place and care provider who will not offer these to you when you are in the middle of a contraction, or at ANY TIME in your labour/birth unless medically indicated.
- Will you have access to a swiss ball if you desire?
- What is their policy of Continual Fetal Monitoring?
- If you want to use a birthing stool, do you have access to one?
There are many different tools that you can use to help you have a natural birth.
- One on one midwifery care or doula
- Heat Packs
- Changing positions
Everything that happens during a birth influences the way in which a woman perceives herself afterwards. It can affect the relationship between her and the baby, and between both parents and their baby, for years after the actual birth. — Sheila Kitzinger