Or perhaps you’re trying. As your belly blossoms and you dream of meeting face to face this little one growing inside you, a fear may slowly creep up on you: I have to birth this baby. Relatives, friends, and strangers may already be sharing their personal horror stories with you. Large babies, long and painful labors, you’ve heard it all. But relax! We’re here to tell you that YOU CAN BIRTH. You can do it! And ICAN of Louisville wants to give you the support and education that you need to feel confident and empowered on your road to BIRTH.
Whether it is your first pregnancy or your fourth, it is important that you and your doctor or midwife have the same view of pregnancy and childbirth. Is pregnancy a medical condition? Is birth a medical event? Or are both normal and deeply personal experiences for women?
One of your first goals in pregnancy (or before!) is to find a care-provider with whom you feel comfortable and who shares your philosophy of birth. But before you can find this like-minded caregiver you need to decide what your philosophy of birth actually is. How do you see yourself giving birth? WHERE do you see yourself giving birth? Who is around you? Where are you laboring? If this is your first baby, talk to your friends or relatives about their birth stories. Do you want what they had? If this not your first birth, do you want a repeat of the last one? Think about what you want, and decide what is best for you and your family.
Watch for red flags during your interviews and prenatal visits. And remember that You can at any time change care providers. Trust your instincts.
A doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. Doula meaning woman’s servant in Greek can be an important aid to the laboring woman and her family. Labor studies by Kennel, Kennel and Klaus show the following benefits from using a doula:
- C-Sections reduced by 50%
- Length of Labor reduced by 25%
- Pitocin use reduced by 40%
- Use of narcotics reduced by 30%
- Forceps reduced by 30%
- Epidurals reduced by 60%
As with choosing your maternity care-provider, it is essential that you and your doula not only have the same view of childbirth, but that you feel you can trust her to help you achieve your goals throughout labor. Locally, The Birth Care Network sponsors “Meet the Doulas” presentations in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area.
Many new mothers debate about whether or not to take Childbirth Education Classes. Even seasoned birthers might need a refresher course. Are childbirth education classes worth the money? Are they really better than the hospital classes? Is it all just breathing and counting?
We recommend taking independent birthing classes, as hospitals are restricted by their protocols and practices. Although independent classes can be moderately expensive, many instructors are willing to work with your individual situation, so it never hurts to ask. Most students of childbirth classes consider it an invaluable investment when labor and birth are said and done. If classes are not in your budget, please speak with the local educators as many have scholarship spots in their classes or offer payment plans.
There are several childbirth educators and class options in our area. Research which class philosophy fits your ideals best, contact local instructors and ask questions.
- The Bradley Method®
- International Childbirth Education Association
- Birthing From Within
Like all other life events, sometimes the unexpected happens during pregnancy and birth: some babies stay or turn breech, mothers might go “over due”, and medical routine interventions can escalate into an undesirable situation. However, having a like-minded doctor or midwife, a doula, and the education from your childbirth classes and books will certainly keep you going in the right direction even when the unexpected happens.
Medical News Today: Maternity Care Analysis Finds Danger of Routine Birth Interventions, 13 Mar 2007
Talk to your doctor or midwife about the position of the baby. Does he/she deliver breech babies? Can you be referred to a professional who is experienced in delivering breech babies? Keep the lines of communication open and check out these resources:
- ACOG Committee Opinion, Number 340, July 2006: Mode of Term Singleton Breech Delivery
- Prenatal Breech issues from Gentle Birth
- Spinning Babies is a great site to get an understanding of why “head down” isn’t all that matters when you are getting ready to birth your baby.
- Head’s Up! All About Breech Babies This site was developed so families expecting a breech baby have a place to go for a great deal of information regarding the dynamics of birthing breech.
Chiropractors use the Webster Technique and/or the Bagnell Technique pon pregnant women to encourage the baby to get into the best possible position for birth. This technique has also been used with success to turn breech babies, as well as posterior and vertex babies. Contact the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association to find chiropractors in our area who are certified in the Webster Technique. The ICPA also recommends chiropractic care for all expectant mothers. You may be interested in interviewing a local chiropractor to see if this kind of care is right for you.
- Complete placenta previa at term
- Transverse lie
- Prolapsed cord
- Abrupted placenta
- Eclampsia or severe preclampsia with failed induction of labor
- Large uterine tumor which blocks the cervix
- True fetal distress, confirmed with a fetal scalp sampling or biophysical profile
- True cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD- baby too large for pelvis). This is extremely rare and associated with a pelvic deformity or an incorrectly healed pelvic break.
- Initial outbreak of active herpes at the onset of labor.
- Uterine rupture
When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved. Contact ICAN of Louisville if you believe that you are facing an impending cesarean, or if you have already had one. We are here to support you, and our chapter is a safe place to discuss and share your feelings.