Let’s talk about birth
Birth is a powerful transitional time; magical, unreal and sublime.
For many, it can often be shrouded in fear and uncertainty.
Empowering you within your birth space will help you feel
more in control and confident with your decision making.
Whether you are having a planned caesarean or a home birth I highly recommend you read up around birth preferences as there are many available to you that can help you feel empowered whatever your birth setting may be.
I used the information from Milli Hill’s incredible book “The positive birth book” to help me write my birth preferences.
It’s important we change the wording from birth plan to birth preference as there can be so many variables in pregnancy and during birth that to have a strict “plan” can sometimes leave people traumatised if they don’t follow it to the letter.
To have preferences includes that degree of flexibility and recognition that your options are not fixed and can be flexible.
For example, you can request delayed cord clamping in both vaginal and abdominal birth just as you can ask for immediate skin-to-skin post birth and delayed weighing and measuring provided that you and your baby are safe and well.
I filmed this ten minute short video all about my birth preferences using Milli Hill’s book as I love the visual pictures that are easier to understand quickly at a glance. They were written for a VBAC (Vaginal birth after Caesarean) and also for another abdominal birth so apply to everyone.
The power of your cervix…
Do you know about the superpowers of your cervix in birth?
When giving birth surround yourself with positive birth stories, images, videos and bits of information like below.
When we teach women that their bodies are CAPABLE and designed to birth babies just like they are to grow babies… we give that woman the BELIEF & CONFIDENCE that helps her mindset to tune into her body & birth her baby.
Did you know this about your cervix?
Before becoming pregnant did you even know what your cervix was or where it is?
If you could visualise this happening during birth would that have given you more confidence to trust that your body knows how to birth your baby?
The more I know, the more I realised I didn’t know but wish I had!
For a brilliant visual and information post all about this, check out this facebook post.
It’s so important all pregnant ladies KNOW this information. Especially the higher rates of mechanical delivery rates if lying on your back.
Mechanical delivery of your baby using instruments like forceps or ventouse dramatically increase the possibility of trauma to your pelvic floor muscles. Leaving many ladies incontinent or with a pelvic organ prolapse.
Knowledge is power & education is key.
So what is upright birthing? It’s any position that allows you to be more upright during your labour. That might be squatting, on all fours, forwards leaning, sitting, high kneeling or kneeling with one leg forwards. There are tonnes of options and midwives can deliver a baby in different positions.
Equally if you want to be on your back propped up then so be it, your body knows how to birth your baby. Trust in the process.
When preparing for birth & during labour tune into your JAW!
It is directly linked to your pelvis.
Relax your jaw = relax your pelvis, allow it to soften, expand & nature to do its thing
Relax your jaw to relax your pelvis – the two are intrinsically linked.
If you clench your jaw/grind your teeth chances are you are holding a lot of tension in your pelvis.
This can present as increased pain in your pelvis during labour if pregnant or as bladder complications in non-pregnant women.
Take time today to see if your jaw feels tense, then actively visualise it relaxing. Your pelvis will thank you for it.
Am I in labour? Is it braxton hicks or even hiccups?
When I trained in pelvic health as a physiotherapist we taught an active birth class that described labour in 3 stages. It is widely acknowledged amongst health care practitioners that:
Stage 1 – Beginning of labour were you can still move around and have breaks between contractions.
Stage 2 – Active labour; pushing phase
Stage 3 – Delivery of your placenta, the afterbirth.
However after reading Milli Hill’s 14 phases of labour I was awestruck. Labour can be different for each and everyone of us but also there will signs to look out for.
She beautifully describes how labour actually FEELS which I think is very empowering and helps to reduce the fear factor many of us have from media portrayals of birth.
Feeling empowered in your birthspace
Giving birth is a huge life event and one that for many can leave us feeling confused and de-railed afterwards. However, it is possible to feel confident and in control of your birth choices and birth environment if you use the acronym: BRAINS
There was a point before and after my birth that I panicked. I was faced with a decision to make that I had not anticipated and really felt on the spot overwhelm.
It’s really important to not feel pressured into making sudden decisions. It is truly ok to ask for some time alone to discuss the conundrum and make an informed choice, not a rushed one. This can really empower you and make a huge difference to how you perceive your birth experience.
My husband and I had taken a hypnobirthing class and we learned the BRAINS technique. I’m so pleased we did as we used it very efficiently after the birth of our daughter.
Want to know what BRAINS stands for? Read below…
Have you heard about gentle Caesarean section birthing?
I was utterly amazed to see this the other day and overwhelmed by the beauty of it – yes I cried!
It is a video of a real life gentle caesarian section baby being born – so please don’t watch this whilst you’re eating but it is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
I am also extremely proud to say Nottingham City hospital where this operation took place is where I had my very own C-section and had the pleasure of working as a physiotherapist with this consultation Mr. Simms.
He was great at collaborating with physiotherapists with multi-disciplinary birthing advise for ladies with severe Pelvic Girdle Pain to help give them the confidence that they would be able to labour naturally despite the horrendous pains they were struggling with.
He inspired me back then and today and I am in awe of him.
Let’s talk about WORD CHOICE surrounding caesarean birth.
Caesarean birth was according to some named after “Caesar” as in Julius Caesar who was born via his mother’s abdomen! However others say that the term caesarean arose from the Latin verb “caedre” which means to cut open and the term “caesones” which was used when babies were born by postmortem operations.
The word operation was replaced by “section” when a book was first published on midwifery practice in 1598.
So, from dire surgical practices that often saw a c-section being performed to save the child and not the mother, we have advanced a long way, thank goodness!
Learn why word choice is so important around your birth space below…
Position of baby for birth
The most optimal position for baby to be in for birth is LOA = Left Occipital Anterior.
Any clues what that means?
I’ll explain more…
Related blog posts about Birth…
Abdominal Birth Let's talk about WORD CHOICE surrounding caesarean birth. How did the word Caesarean birth come to be? Caesarean birth was according to some named after "Caesar" as in Julius Caesar who was born via his mother's abdomen! However others say that the...
Feeling empowered in your birth space Giving birth is a huge life event and one that for many can leave us feeling confused and de-railed afterwards. However, it is possible to feel confident and in control of your birth choices and birth environment if you use the...
Am I in labour? Is it braxton hicks or even hiccups? When I trained in pelvic health as a physiotherapist we taught an active birth class that described labour in 3 stages. For instance, it is widely acknowledged amongst health care practitioners that: The three...
Instagram accounts to follow:
@mamastefit | @pandas_uk | @positivebirthmovement | @thepositivebirthcompany | @thewarriorwithinbirth | @mixing.up.motherhood | @realbirthproject | @birthbetter | @doulauk | @urban_hatch
The Positive Birth Book, Give Birth Like a Feminist by Milli Hill
Ina May’s Guide to childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher