Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Conscious Choices

Not all birth choices are the same. Still, a woman benefits hugely when she at least makes conscious choices. In other words, she takes complete responsibility for her baby from the moment of conception. Mama is in charge of herself and her child.

When rounded mama is making intentional decisions, she receives better care than if she numbly does what she's told I think. She is able to tailor the expert advice to herself and her baby. She has instincts and understanding that a medical professional can't know about her unique pregnancy. The happy ideal is harmonious respect for the mother's capability and also the professional's expertise.

Perhaps even more significant, when mama is in charge, she takes better care of herself and baby. She gets that what she eats matters, what she does matters, and what she feels matters. She is the only one who can eat right, do right, and feel right for her developing fetus. Her trust for wellness rests in this body of hers designed to bring life. She appreciates others assisting her to grow, labor, and deliver her baby.

What's more, a woman in charge (not the same as being in control) surrenders to life flowing through her. She is in awe of her body and this new person given to her care. Though frightening, she welcomes the terrific waves of energy carrying life forward. She chooses an intervention because she knows it too will assist her. She trusts, and is well. She gives thanks for every privileged moment holding new life.

More info? Midwife Thinking is a tremendous place to start.

Monday, September 14, 2015

On Pushing

I recently enjoyed my first kayaking on ocean waves. My husband and I were flattened a couple of times just trying to get the craft out there. Surrounded by the vastness, we let the oars rest. Mild swells lifted and dropped us with soothing rhythm and frightening ease. I could not begin to control the power carrying me. I could simply be in awe and work with it. I was reminded of birth.

Rachel Reed gives us a researched article called Supporting Women's Instinctive Pushing Behavior During Birth. She respects a woman's ability to birth and provides practical suggestions for giving good support. I've included these suggestions in my post.
"Evidence supports the notion that women instinctively push in the most effective and safe way for themselves and their babies during birth. A birthing woman is the expert regarding when and how she pushes. Providing directions implies she needs our guidance and that we are the experts. Facilitating women’s instinctive birthing behaviours rather than directing them is evidence based and reinforces women’s innate ability to birth. 
Suggestions for practice:
  • Include information about the physiology of birth in antenatal education/preparation. Reinforce the message that women have an innate ability to birth without direction.
  • Provide an environment that facilitates physiological birth and instinctive behaviour – low lighting, minimal disturbance, comfortable furniture that supports mobility and movement (floor mats, beanbags, birth pool, shower).
  • Avoid asking the woman if she needs to push, or feels ‘pushy’ as this may suggest that she should and could interfere with her inward focus and instinctive behaviour.
  • If the woman tells you she feels the urge to push, reassure her that this is good, but don’t encourage her to push. There will come a point when she is spontaneously pushing rather than feeling an urge to.
  • Avoid vaginal examinations to ‘diagnose’ full dilatation. If you are not going to provide instructions about pushing based on cervical dilatation, there is no benefit in knowing this information.
  • Do not disturb the woman’s instinctive pattern of pushing and breathing. Avoid directions and, if you must speak, gently reinforce her ability to birth.
  • Avoid directions or distractions as the baby’s head is emerging to facilitate the woman’s instinctive perineal protecting behaviours (such as gasping, screaming, closing her legs, holding her baby and perineum)."
Can you relate to her explanation of a woman's instincts to push? In my case, the ladies assisting me got a bit excited when Baby crowned and started cheering me to push. It was rather distracting. Thankfully though, up until then I (mostly) rode the waves instinctively.

More pushing tips: from Aidan - I heartily agree!