Unfortunately many hospitals are just not used to seeing natural births these days. It does depend on which hospital you go to, but if you’re in a private hospital in the US, UK or Australia you have about a 50% chance of having a cesarean. But let’s just thank god your not in Brazil where their Cesarean rate is more than 90%.
That means if you’re hoping for a natural birth, the odds could be stacked against you.
So, does that mean you’re going to have to “fight” against medication-wielding-midwives and scalpel-happy-obstetricians for the natural childbirth you’re dreaming of?
Not exactly … and I’ll explain what I mean …
I remember going into the birthing suite at my local hospital and within minutes I had doctors, who were yet to examine me, tell me that I should have an induction. I declined and told them I was in labour and my baby was going to be born soon. They came back a few times and finally I agreed to have an internal exam, so they could see that I was already 4cm dilated.
In fact, Honey Rose was born in the water just 5 hours later and it was definitely the birth I had been dreaming of
However, there were a few times when my stress levels could have gone up because staff (who were not used to seeing such a calm labour) were suggesting medical intervention or something that is more routine for a hospital birth.
It was also suggested I may have to be hooked up to a drip, but we negotiated our way out of that because I wanted to labour in the big corner spa.
When it came time to “push” … I was asked to get out of the bath and birth on the bed. Again, I declined.
I was so comfortable in the water, but we later found out the midwife was suggesting the bed because she had not attended many water births, so I can understand why she did.
Looking back I hardly even remember those parts of my labour, because they were no big deal … BECAUSE my husband and I were educated about what was safe to negotiate with hospital staff.
We knew what questions to ask such as:
- What are the risks?
- Can we have some more time to let things progress naturally?
- Is the baby at risk?
- What are our options?
- Or … we just said no.
During my pregnancy I had also done daily practice of the exercises I had learned in my positive childbirth classes. This helped me become very in-tune with my body, so I could communicate with staff about what was going on inside me – Amazing huh!
The reason I had to write this today is because there are women like you, who may be planning a natural birth in a hospital and have some concerns that staff will not support your wishes.
And … it’s also for women who may have been unsatisfied with their previous childbirth experience and felt like they were pressured into unnecessary medical intervention. Some mothers have told me of doctors fighting with them and demanding they get into certain positions.
Things like birthing on your back is much easier for the doctor because he is in the best position to catch your baby, but physically this can make birth much more uncomfortable for the woman (not all).
You also have to remember hospitals are businesses and people who work there are on shifts – they can’t work forever and that’s understandable. That’s why you want your own support (husband, mother or doula) who know how to keep you comfortable and communicate with staff, but also so you can concentrate on staying relaxed.
Hospital staff may also want to help you get through labour in a certain amount of time. But if you’re labouring comfortably, this is not a problem – my longer labour was actually more comfortable than my shorter one – but it’s different for everyone.
So, what can you do to ensure you’re not fending off unnecessary medical intervention and “fighting” for the natural birth you want?
The answer is … EDUCATION & COMMUNICATION
Then COMMUNICATE with your care providers (hospital, birth centre, home birth midwife) that you want a natural birth and these are the things you’re doing to prepare for that. They are usually more responsive to your wishes when they know you’re educated.
For my 2nd birth, midwives knew that I was in hypnosis when I arrived because my mum told them and I had a natural birth there before. Straight away they offered me a birthing ball and a mat on the floor and sat back and watched my boy come into the world with minimal fuss.
This is possible for you and your baby too. You just need to take action.
Knowledge is power, but only HALF the power … ACTION is the other half. Enrol in a positive childbirth class now and practice, practice, practice.
You and your baby are worth it! …XXX
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