Common Sense Birthing- Mama's Intuition
Let's Talk Common Sense with birthing, some numbers, strategies and mother's intuition.
On Common Sense... I think sometimes there is some sort of mystique surrounding what I do as a doula. Some people find what I do magical- whimsical- beautiful- empowering... You name it! But a lot of the time when I sit down and chat about what I ACTUALLY do (see the meme at the bottom for a laugh), people are surprised when I really break it down into common sense, education, and a few other things. (remember that acronym KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid is probably what I tell myself every single time I explain what I do to someone who has never heard of a doula).
Anyway, back to the point. My job is wonderful. Truthfully, I LOVE what I do. But there is no real MAGIC involved. The techniques us doulas use have sometimes been used for thousands of years! A lot of what I do truly is common sense. For example- One of my favorite doula expressions is "the energy surrounding giving birth should be the same/similar as the energy that surrounded conceiving" more simply- "the stuff that got baby in- is the best stuff to help baby get out."
***Slightly Personal Question Alert***How did the environment look like when you were last having sex? A million lights shining in your face and 15 people coming in and out of the room every 5 minutes hooked up to monitors that won't stop beeping? I'm gonna take a little guess here- that was a no from you? So why do we expect that environment to work in the hospital? And why are we surprised when things don't go as planned?
Check these numbers out:
In the event of a medical induction:
*When there is an unfavorable Bishop Score- The odds of a cesarean section are ~37%
*When the Bishop Score is over 8 (considered favorable)- The odds are STILL ~27%
*When labor begins on it's own WITHOUT induction- The odds are ~15-16%
****Definition of Bishop Score: Per Wikipedia: Bishop score, also Bishop's score, also known as cervix score is a pre-labor scoring system to assist in predicting whether induction of labor will be required. It has also been used to assess the odds of spontaneous preterm delivery.****
Things like dimming the lights, quieting the monitors, keeping people from interrupting unless its medically necessary, spending intimate time with your partner ALONE, etc. are not rocket science ideas! Just think if we tried these things at home before electing for an induction due to dates or other non-emergent reasons? After considering the numbers above... It looks like we could drop the section rate in America pretty quickly just by using some common sense!
So when we talk about avoiding interventions... These things should usually be tried first if things are not progressing the way we would like. If you use common sense, usually you can achieve these things together with a supportive partner and a little creativity. Sometimes even later into active labor we hit a roadblock with a provider though, and "give in" to their demands because we have stopped using that little spark of creativity. There are ways to deal with that too with the proper support team.
According to Evidence Based Birth, in America, almost 90% of women still push on their backs. Does your provider or hospital say no pushing anywhere but on the bed? If you are a birth worker, how did you handle the situation when your client was told no? Does on the bed mean laying on your back? I think we all associate it with that... But- did you ever think about squatting/kneeling on the bed assisted? Hands and knees with the back of the hospital bed in an upright position or with a ball on the bed? I mean, TECHNICALLY- you are ON the bed right? Common Sense, Unconditional Support, Creativity and a little Mother's Intuition of what FEELS right can be everything required to get the birth of your dreams even in a place that isn't necessarily Mother Friendly.
Finally, we need to trust our mother's instincts or intuition. If mom feels right in one space, and doesn't feel right in another OR mom feels like one intervention is wrong for her vs another etc. - we need to trust her. Her intuition is worth gold and she often knows best what works for her. Even if it isn't the norm medically or socially- what a woman feels is best for her and her baby simply often is. We need to get back to listening to that woman above all else.
Doulas- this is our job. To hold space, to educate, and most importantly to LISTEN. The one thing my education can NEVER replace is a mother's intuition. That is THE MOST important thing for me to take into consideration when providing support.
Are you an expecting mother? I encourage you to study this acronym when making decisions for your pregnancy... I also encourage you to trust your gut. Hopefully this will help you come to a decision that sits well with both.
A note from Penny Simkin- one of the nation's leading childbirth experts for decades now:
Priorities for Childbirth By Penny Simkin, PT
Most women or couples agree with the following priorities for their birth and baby:
Healthy Pregnancy Full-Term Pregnancy
Spontaneous Onset of Labor Normal Labor Pattern Without Need for Interventions Use or Non-Use of Medications as Planned (and no undesirable side effects if medications are used)
Spontaneous Vaginal Birth in Desired Location
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ Healthy Mother and Baby ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
I wonder- if we used common sense and creativity, had strong unconditional support systems for mothers, and trusted a mother's intuition just a bit more if all of the above could be achieved in most if not all births? Improving birth outcomes is truly within our power. We must trust our knowledge and instincts to get us there though!
I hope these thoughts help you take control of your birth today! Education and Empowerment are key.
Wishing you the best in birth,