When I had my first child a little over thirteen years ago, I went into the birthing process without any real knowledge of what to expect and relied on my doctors to make many of my medical and birthing decisions. If I only knew then what I know now! My water broke and I arrived at the hospital only to be pumped with pitocin. I was also “checked” for dilation way too many times and after hours of very “unnatural feeling” contractions, I wound up having a C-section–my son, who probably wasn’t quite ready to be jarred out of the comforts of the womb in such a dramatic way, was presenting brow first and my cervix was not dilating. It was a scary and miserable experience, but it had a silver lining– I got a beautiful, big, (8lb., 11 oz.) healthy, baby boy out of the deal. I could not help, but believe, however, if the doctors had just been patient, given me sometime, and not given me the pitocin so soon, I might not have had that C-Section. If I had been more informed and more assertive, I might have guided the the birth process in the way I wanted it to go. I knew I wouldn’t let that happen again.
According to a study Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, many first time mothers are significantly unprepared to make decisions regarding birth options. Many seemed to rely on their doctors or midwives to make decisions. Many did not know the risks and safety issues nor the pros and cons of procedures such as episiotomies, Cesarean sections, or epidurals. Less then 30% of women, many first time moms, did not attend any kind of child birth education class. The study also found that those who were under the care of midwives were usually more informed. Here is the link to the article in the LA Times describing the study: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-childbirth-20110614,0,2941171.story?track=rss
I was that woman 13 or so years ago. I was uninformed. After the birth of our son, I became a little wiser. Through talking with other moms, hearing about their birthing experiences, reading and staying informed, you can really educate yourself. There are birth classes available and there are people to talk to. Ask questions of your care provider! Make known your concerns, worries, hopes and desires. If you don’t get the feedback you desire or feel uncomfortable with that person, find someone else who you can trust and count on. Hire a doula if you want or need the support. Trust your instincts!
It is important to take care of the body, mind a spirit when you are pregnant. Building body awareness is a huge focus in my prenatal yoga class . Through breath and movement, we try to cultivate this knowledge. It is through this heightened sense of self that we learn to listen to our body’s wisdom and tune into our instincts. There is no guarantee that your birth will ever go as “planned.” It will go as it goes. Be open to the process and be aware of the options and choices you may or may not have to make. It is important for you and it is important for your baby.
Four years after my C-section, another state and a new doctor later, I found myself in better cirucumstances. I was much more informed. My doctors did not make my decisions…I did. I told them what I did and did not want during my birthing process and they honored and respected that. I was able to deliver two more beautiful and healthy children via VBAC.
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