Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Birth Plan

This week we went to our Mindful Mamma birthing workshop, which I'd decided to do rather than the usual birth classes everyone goes to. I chose to take this class because I don't really buy into the medical model of childbirth and although I accept that yes, there is a place for medicine in some circumstances, I really don't feel that the process of childbirth should be viewed as a medical process. I firmly believe that birth is a completely natural process, and when a woman is left to her own devices, she can birth her baby without pain, without pain relief and without any medical interventions like sweeps, having waters broken or caesarians.
Research has shown that many animals give birth without pain, and without the need for any medical help, yet we, the most sophisticated and advanced mammals on the planet need doctors and drugs and to scream and shout when we birth our babies - the very thing we were put on the Earth to do.

Not everyone thinks the same as me, I accept that, and I'm certainly not trying to change anyones mind. The course was exactly what I wanted to be, and was taught from the same standpoint as mine. We spent the morning exploring different approaches to birth ranging from the medical model, to the hypnobirthing model which is the complete opposite. Hypnobirthing rejects medicine completely, doesn't allow the use of words such as pain or contraction and doesn't allow any medical intervention, not even the use of a heartrate monitor during labour. Although I agree with a lot of the principles behind hypnobirthing, its a little bit too extreme for me. Mindful birthing acknowledges the need for medical proceedures in some cases but completely advocates the natural birth movement. It holds that with the right knowledge, and the right techniques, women can have an enjoyable birth experience free from pain. If women can understand the process of birth, how the muscles work, and the effect of natural hormones on the body during labour, we can approach birth positively, without fear of pain. Fear causes the body to become tense, preventing the production of oxytocin and natural anaesthetics in the body, so instead it produces stress hormones and tenses up. The flight or fight response to fear causes blood to flow to the extremities and away from the uterus, putting the baby under stress. This increases the likelihood of caesarian. All this tension means that the muscles fight against contractions and the movement of the baby leading to unnecessary pain. So approaching birth with a positive attitude and knowledge of what is happening is more likely to reduce any pain perpetuated by fears. Common sense really, nothing radical.

Other factors are important, such as environment - research has shown that women who give birth at home, in a place where they feel safe, comfortable and in control, are less likely to experience pain, or need any interventions, and are more likely to have shorter labours, enjoyable experiences of birth and have more contented babies. This increases exponentially when combined with a water birth. So after a lot of discussion and a bit of research, we have decided that we are going to have a pain relief free water birth at home!!

A home birth is something I wanted to do from the moment I found out I was pregnant, but He was reluctant to as he thought babies should be born in hospital. Now that he's learned a bit more about it though, he understands the advantages not just for me but for the baby, and for him too, as he won't have to spend hours feeling uncomfortable and perhaps useless at the hospital and instead can be relaxing at home. We've researched birthing pools and we can buy one for £90 with all the kit we need, or hire one for £80 for 5 weeks and it will easily fit in our front room. We'll move the tv out, and put lots of rugs on the floor to keep it warm. Anyone who needs to get in or out of house can come through the back door so I'm not being disturbed all the time and the advantage of being at home is that anyone who wants to be here, can be. If we were at the hospital, I could only have two people with me, but a few people have asked if they can be there, and to be honest, I don't really mind. I'll be so wrapped up in my breathing techniques and should in theory be in an altered state, that I won't be aware of who's there and who's not.

I've got a great cd full of relaxing music and self hypnosis techniques which I'll listen to several times a week so I can practice in preparation for the big day. It important to do it at different times of the day and in different places so I don't become conditioned to doing it at bedtime in bed. If I did that, it would make it much harder to then use the techniques in the middle of the day in a pool in my front room! I'm so excited about the birth now that we're both on board with the same plan and we both want the same things. The midlife says she'll come round here when I'm about 34 weeks so she can assess the house and make sure it's ok for us to have the birth here. As long as theres no complications between now and my due date, then theres no reason why we can't have our birth at home, naturally and just the way I want it :)

No comments:

Post a Comment