The DOs and DON’Ts of Unhindered Birth

Yes, you probably can have an unhindered birth! But you need to know how to set it all up well in advance.

The DOs and DON’Ts of Unhindered Birth

Unhindered birth : Birth that is unhindered, instinctive, or natural. Unfortunately the word natural has come to mean pretty much any birth that is vaginal, so for that reason we use the term unhindered birth.

Are you planning an unhindered birth? Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do was front up at the hospital and push a baby out? The sad truth is that it just isn’t that simple in 2016. We have incredibly high rates of interventions, including induction and caesarean. Women who want to experience an unhindered birth need to be savvy consumers of maternity care, so here’s a few tips on getting the natural birth YOU want!

DO hire a care provider that you can completely trust. Interview them thoroughly, if there are things you feel nervous to ask then try to find a new provider. You need total open communication with a care provider. Be sure that your definition of natural birth aligns with theirs because it means different things to different people.

DON’T hire the first care provider you talk to, or the one your mother’s work colleague’s sister’s cousin in law used. This is your birth, not theirs and you may have totally different expectations, or your pregnancies could be so different that the style of care provided doesn’t match up to your expectations.

DO research as many venues for birth as you can locate. Call hospitals, birth centres, call midwives who attend homebirths, research research research. You have nothing to lose by researching, and when you make the final decision about venue, you’ll be fully informed and 100% confident with your choice. Remember that giving birth at home is more likely to result in an unhindered birth so if you truly want one, research homebirth as an option. Researching it doesn’t mean you have to hire a midwife and stay home, it simply means that you’re in a good position to make an informed decision about the best venue for your birth.

DON’T walk into the nearest hospital or doctor / midwife’s office and trust that they will provide you with the service you want. Remember that you want service, you don’t want to feel indebted to them, or as if you’re a naughty, childlike inconvenience. It pays to be choosy when picking a care provider and venue for birth. Wanting everything to be of a high standard, and to your personal liking, isn’t fussy.

DO research the sort of birth you want thoroughly. If you want an unhindered birth, you should look at midwifery care – independent midwifery care, not midwifery care under the oversight of a surgeon or hospital. Midwives are the experts on normal birth and they know when to refer you to someone with different expertise.

DON’T just do everything that’s recommended without asking for a thorough explanation of why it’s necessary. Just because something is routine doesn’t make it beneficial, or compulsory.And just because something is recommended doesn’t mean it’s necessary! There’s a big difference between medical necessity and routine. This includes ultrasound scans and other routine pregnancy testing, routine induction, vaginal exams to check dilation, caesareans for the position or size of the baby, repeat caesareans, and many others. Basically you need to research the evidence for every recommendation and determine the difference between what is medically necessary and what is simply protocol, or routine.

DO learn as much as you can possibly learn about birth, how it works, what can hinder the process, what is safe and what isn’t, what you’d like YOUR birth to be like, how you’d like to be supported in labour and anything else you can think of.

DON’T invite anyone into your birth space unless they will support your complete bodily integrity and decisional capacity, no matter what. Unless they think birth is normal and natural, and entirely possible, don’t invite them. Birth is not a spectator sport. You don’t want any negative, nervous, energy in your birth space. Remember that birth space is emotional as well as physical, it’s not just the room you plan on giving birth in, it’s the mental state you take into labour with you.

DO everything you can to support optimal hormone release in labour. Hormones like it when you’re in a warm, dark, quiet place. Hormones help you manage the intensity of labour, they set the pace nicely, and they are also involved with the safety of birth, and bonding afterwards. Hormones can make or break a birth!

DON’T induce or augment with synthetic hormones or other methods unless there is an actual physical reason to interrupt pregnancy or labour. Research what makes it necessary so you have a better chance of identifying protocol versus medical requirement, and ask your care providers whether they are making evidence based recommendations, do they offer this routinely in certain situations, why? What if you choose NOT to augment or induce?

DO be confident saying “no thank-you” to your care provider, and requesting things for yourself as well. Remember you are a customer, they are not your employer, you are theirs! Get the service you want or fire them. Your baby is depending on you to navigate your way through all of this, to give them the very best birth they can have.

Remember that birth doesn’t always go to plan, and that’s why it’s so important to be fully informed about as many options as you can. Planning an unhindered birth isn’t about setting things in stone, it’s about being prepared to change at a moments notice, or stay the course.

Good luck!

FOR FURTHER READING 

Unhindered birth - pregnant woman in natural setting
Planning an unhindered birth?
License: Creative Commons CC0.

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