I hear so many pregnant mums and families make comments
“I’m just going to go with the flow!” “The midwives and doctors are the professionals, they’ll tell me what to do!” “ It’s natural so what do I have to know anything about it for?”
There are some good points to these comments, however, there are also a number of issues with this kind of attitude towards your birth. So what are they?
Why is positive birth preparation so important?
Going with the flow is a great way to stay relaxed, enjoy and not get too worried about complications, HOWEVER, the problem with this attitude and comment is that it can hide a multitude of fear. It is like going into an exam with a relaxed attitude but having not studied, that is great to begin with but it is not long into the exam that you are going to start to stress, tense and start to understand and experience more pain than the other students.
The midwives and doctors in hospitals are professionals, they are the “experts” of birth, but not the expert in you or your family, not your history, not your body, the only person that is the best judge, the best expert of your experience is you. If you don’t have all the facts, if you don’t know the questions to ask, then how are you going to know that you are in fact making the best call? The best decision for your baby and yourself?
As for “birth is natural so why do I need antenatal classes?”
When was the last time you heard a positive birth story? When was the last time you had a complete conversation about positive birth with someone? Someone who truly understood what was going on? Who do you know that has had a positive birth where they felt in tune with their instincts, their intuition and they followed it? Birth is a life event, it is not a medical event, however, for many women they don’t know how to experience birth as a life event as opposed to a medical event. Many women struggle to get in tune with their internal monitors, their internal judgement and rely on the external environment to tell them what they are or are not feeling.
So as you can see positive birth preparation is important for so many reasons, the excuses and reasons we give ourselves and others while they sound great and are based on a solid reasoning, are flawed, they need to be backed up with MORE.
Positive Birth Preparation assists with:
- Knowing your options, the benefits as well as the risks
- It provides you an opportunity to do more research, discuss further with others prior to making a decision on the day. On the day you will have little to go on except what the professionals are saying
- Making the right decision for you and your family through your positive pregnancy and positive birth, especially in care settings where you see a different midwife each appointment and in labour. This midwife does not know your ability to listen to your baby and body, she does not know what positive preparation, what positive research you have done except what is written on your birth preferences. In these circumstances it is even more important to know your options and be able to make an informed decision regarding any circumstance that arises, good, bad or slightly different to expected.
- It gives you and your partner the opportunity to discuss your birth preferences, while an option may seem obvious to mum, her partner may have a different obvious opinion and it is important to air these prior to a decision needing to be made in pregnancy, labour or birth.
- It means you can prioritise what is important to you, what is a definite yes/no, what preferences throughout your pregnancy journey have more wiggle room in them?
- It means you can plan a potential cascade of intervention – we know that inductions are a much higher risk of further intervention being introduced, more pain relief and a higher rate of cesarean section. By knowing your options you can plan if you need an induction/antibiotics/cesarean and what you are happy to have with this, what you would prefer to avoid and where you would like to have more time/alternatives/discussion to continue to plan for a positive birth.
- It means if you do decide that a certain hospital policy or “normal” intervention/preference is NOT for you and your family you can prepare for this, you can gather research to support your choice, you can practice what you will say. Your birth companion can practice advocating for your rights as parents.
By knowing what is involved with birth preferences and getting fully informed it gives you and your partner the opportunity to go away and gather more information, discuss, get in tune with your baby, your body. So when the situation arises, you are not scared, you are not bullied, you are aware, you are informed and you are completely comfortable as a family in what you wish to do with the information provided by your care provider.
Positive Birth Preparation is not…
Just for interventions, or complications. Birth preparation about knowing your options for tests and interventions in pregnancy and preparation for labour and birth. It is for knowing ALL of your options regarding labour and birth, pain relief (natural, pharmaceutical and the complete benefits and risks or each). It is about knowing what you want after your babies birth, for the birth of placenta and your babies transition to extrauterine life. It is about immunisations for your baby, discharge times, baby feeding, the list goes on.
Want to learn more about what Birth Preparation option will fit in best with your life? Want to ensure the lasting memory of your babies birth is a positive experience? Want to have an experienced mum and midwife supporting you through your pregnancy providing you with the most recent research and resources?
Consider the lasting implications of this event, this memory and this moment for yourself, your partner and your baby for life.
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6 thoughts on “Why is Positive Birth Preparation so Important?”
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I believe a woman’s perspective, intention, and focus are very important in childbirth preparation. An unclear or ambiguous intention, and fearful or anxious focus and perspective, can lead to birth complications, unwanted interventions, and possibly a negative birth experience and outcome. Mindful Birth and Beyond Childbirth Education Playshops seek to direct your focus toward the joys and miracle of birth, helping to create a positive, present moment perspective, allowing you to turn off your anxious mind, and surrender to what your glorious female body already knows how to do. Mindful Birth classes will instill an understanding, belief, and faith in your own body’s ability to bring your child safely and successfully forth into life, and teach you how to stay grounded in present moment awareness, relaxation, and peace, allowing you to revel in every moment of the miracle of your baby’s birth. American society does an injustice to women, teaching them to fear birth. Our society is so set on sensationalism, fear, and negativity when it comes to birth. Expectant parents are bombarded with marketing telling them all the myriad ways they are inadequate, or will fail at parenting, in order to guilt them into buying their products. Television shows and movies depict birth as a terrible experience with laboring women screaming out of control, and dads running in circles with no clue how to help, and then there are the naysayers who seem to pop up around every corner, always ready with a new birth horror story they just have to tell you about. Is it any wonder American women are afraid of birth? Add to that list the increasing medicalization of birth, defensive medicine practices, lack of fully informed consent, and the cloud of unknowns looming over the heads of all first time mothers, and you have a very effective prescription for anxiety and fear, which can set you up to have a challenging and unsatisfying birth experience.
Such fantastic insight! Thank you so much for your thoughts, I completely agree fear plays a huge part in the high rates of disturbed, disrupted birth worldwide. Birth Preparation is not just about education for labour and birth, but reminding women how perfect they are designed for birth, how well their body already works. We have a hospital system which is constantly learning and improving outcomes for the small percentage of problems that can occur for any woman prepared or otherwise, but it is important to step aside when not required.
Fab article. It’s like I know all this but then when faced with the need to explain, even justify why it’s important… I struggled! Thank you for giving me some words to work with 🙏
Excellent blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress
or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there
that I’m completely confused .. Any ideas?
Thanks a lot!
Thank you so much! I am probably not the best person to provide advice as far as platforms, it would depend on content and times etc.