Labour is not the time to make decisions.
If you are asked to consent to something during labour, it is unlikely that that consent will be informed.
Pregnancy is the time to find out how you feel about hospital routines:
gbs swab (and subsequent antibiotics during labour if positive)
vaginal exams (eg to check dilation)
pain relief options (eg epidural, pethadine, gas)
monitoring (will you be straped to a machine?)
time frames (will you have a time limit?)
breech birth policy
can you delay cord clamping?
injections and tests on your newborn Hep B, Vit K and the heel prick test, and less common procedures, like circumcision.
"big baby" blood sugar testing
breastfeeding policy (is the hospital baby friendly?)
Do you want to keep the placenta?
Your birth map needs to include your decisions for labour, birth and until you leave hospital.
but where do you get ALL the information you need to make an informed decision for what is best for you?
Chances are if you rely on your hospital care providers alone to gain all the info, you will feel compelled to consent, which is disempowering. Perhaps you choose to google your options, wade through the myriad of opinions that are available, and become overwhelmed or perhaps you can rely on family and friends opinions?
If you take the hospital run birth classes, you may find that you are not getting all the information you need either.
How much is reasonable to spend on independent birth education or a doula?
Is real birth education and choices only available to those that can afford it?
Achieving a natural birth can seem a daunting insummountable challenge in the face of all these interventions and procedures, especially when in order to retain 'low risk' status, you need to comply with certain tests. Generally though, I believe, that keeping it simple is your best chance.
During labour, stay home as long as you can, stay relaxed and comfortable. Once you transfer to hospital, chances are labour will slow as you are disturbed and unable to focus. Once at hospital you will be relying on your support person/s (husband, sister, friend, doula) to create a cocoon of safety around you, to regain your focus. You need to be free to move and birth as you need, which is unlikely to be on your back.
Selected Articles by Catherine
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birth without fear
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