Sunday, 4 September 2011

The second best

For some women giving birth at home is not an option. They might have a genuine reason to prefer a hospital or they might be misinformed about the safety of homebirth. A part of these women will still want to have a natural birth and most of them will end up not having one. An even smaller group will however have a natural birth they hope for.

It is very difficult to have a natural birth in a hospital setting - this requires a sound preparation or lots of luck. You need to organise a support team around you - partner, doula, understanding OB or midwife. You should to read birth stories, get to know medical terms and decide what is acceptable for you and what is not. If you are lucky, you will be allowed to have the things your way without fight. If you are less lucky, you will have to fight for respecting your rights and preferences. If you and your team are well prepared, most of those fights can be handled by your partner.

Having an undisturbed childbirth in hospital not impossible. There are some basic guidelines:
  • Labour at home as long as possible (you have some options even if your waters break).
  • Bring to the birthing room a part of your home - whatever makes you feel comfortable (music, pictures, candles, birth bundle).
  • Have a plan and a birth partner who will know your preferences and make sure they are respected.
  • Stay away from that huge bed. It takes most of the room, but this not where natural labour should take place. Stand, walk, squat, do whatever feels good.

Doctors are used to women wishing just to have the baby out - even patients desiring a "natural birth" usually just mean a vaginal birth or no-medication delivery. Natural birth is not about that - it involves listening and following the voice your body. It is challenging to create the necessary safe space around you in a hospital setting, but it is possible.

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