This was always the first reaction I received when I told someone my plan for an at home birth in a birthing pool. Sometimes it would be followed with a “cool” or “interesting,” but more often than not, I was regaled with stories and facts on how terrible, painful, and horrifying birth actually is. But my decision had been made, and their words literally rolled off me.
Our son is a miracle himself. After being told by a fertility specialist that my husband, Patrick, and I would never be able to conceive without the help of fertility drugs or IVF, we thanked him for his time and resigned ourselves to adopting a child as soon as we had saved enough money. I will never forget the taste of those tears or the way they burned going down my cheeks on the ride home from the doctor, as Patrick tried to comfort me. My dream of carrying my own baby had been dashed against the rough carpeted floor in his office, and I felt that hurt completely.
During my last pregnancy, I followed along with an app that let me know how my baby was developing each week. It would suggest articles and occasionally there would be a poll. Once such poll was: "Will You Use a Doula?"
Of 117,000 votes, 6% said Yes and 9% said they were not sure.
85% said "NO"
There is only a small part of the population using this app, but when looking at research it matches the findings. About 6% of birthing mothers use a doula annually in the United States.
So why would someone want to use a doula? Births involving doulas have a 50% less chance of cesarean. Births involving doulas are 25% shorter. The need for pitocin is dropped by 40% and requests for an epidural by 60%. These are the scientific reasons to hire a doula, and just a few of the positive influences having one present during birth can have.
The question then becomes, why aren't more people utilizing this tool?
So you peed on the stick, and (SURPRISE!) - You are pregnant!
The first thing that most women and couples do next is nail down their care provider and maybe an early ultrasound. Then comes baby registries, nursery designs, and baby shower invitations.
But a step that is becoming increasingly popular is researching childbirth education classes available. Is this a necessity?
As a mom of two babies and pregnant with our third, I would raise my hand with a resounding "YES."
In our culture, unfortunately, birth is a hidden wonder. We seem to only hear about the horrors that await a pregnant mommy and soon to be daddy. Rarely has a couple trying to conceive and start a family witnessed the birth of a child. The births they have seen (straight from the wonderful world of television) are adrenaline filled, full of screaming, and drama, and somehow the father always passes out or is portrayed in some other negative light.
Every woman, child, and birth is different. Logic would then follow that every woman's and family's experience and care would differ with each birth. However, this is not the case for most of the United States.
I first want to state that I am in no way against interventions, inductions, or cesareans. These can be life-saving medical procedures, and they exist for a reason. They should be available for women who need them and ask for them.
Evidence based care is just that - care that is based on the highest-quality, most recent scientifically backed research, and is custom to each and every woman, baby, and birth. So what is the alternative that is so prevalent in our medical world today?
Instead of looking at each woman individually as they birth, a set of routine procedures are performed during a birth, whether they are medically indicated or not. These procedures can be needed in some cases, but they are not necessary for every birth. Here...
Many women ask the question, "When is the best time to discuss my birth plan with my care provider?"
The answer is always "NOW."
Your care provider is the one providing the care for your pregnancy and birth. Before signing on as their client, whether they are a doctor or a midwife, you should feel comfortable and confident that the options and choices you have in your birth plan will be available to you. This can only happen when the lines of communication are open and flowing. Waiting to discuss your choices until later in your pregnancy is not a recommended decision.
When choosing a care provider, bring your birth plan. If you do not have a plan yet, bring a list of things that you want to discuss and know more about for your pregnancy and birth. These lists should be part of the decision for any family. A mother and father have the right to decide the care they will receive, and most providers are open and willing to listen and discuss your options. If something in you...