Are you planning for a physiological birth?
Here's 5 top tips...
1. Choose a care giver with the same birth philosophy as you.
Make sure you've chosen a care giver with an aligned birth philosophy. It makes no sense choosing a private obstetrician or a hospital with high intervention rates to support your birth if that's not the birth that you are after. Continuity of midwifery care has been the gold standard for millennia. It's proved to decrease risk of intervention and preterm birth whilst increasing rates of NVB and maternal satisfaction, with no adverse effects. You can access performance indicators for most Victorian hospitals via the Safer Care Victoria website. If you're considering a private obstetrician or private midwife - enquire about their outcomes. If they're not keeping track of their statistics - that's an alarm bell for me.
It's important to point out that only 8% of Australian women have access to continuity of midwifery care models in Australia, and therefore a huge emphasis needs to be placed on Tip.2.
2. Create an epic support team.
Choose your support team very wisely. If you're inviting anyone into your birth space, make sure they 1: trust birth and 2: believe you can do it! When an athlete prepares and trains for an event, they choose coaches and support people who are going to stay with them, encourage them and cheer them on with 100% conviction. This same applies for birth.
Evidence shows that women who receive continuous support in labour have higher NVB rates, are less likely to have intervention and have greater satisfaction of their experience. Two outcomes (increased NVB rates and decrease caesarean section rates) show that the best results occur when that continuous support is not provided by a member of hospital staff, or someone a part of the woman's social network.
3. Invest in private childbirth education.
Hospital childbirth education programs tend to be geared towards a brief overview of what to expect in labour and postpartum vs. an aim to walk into birth with a positive mindset, a belief in the body’s innate wisdom and a toolbox of coping strategies. The 'Complementary Therapies for Labour and Birth Study' showed that incorporating techniques such as acupressure, visualisation, relaxation, breathing, massage, yoga techniques and facilitated partner support in antenatal education significantly reduced caesarean section and epidural rates.
4. Consider bodywork and conscious movement throughout your pregnancy.
“Motion is lotion”. Optimising movement in the pelvis by working on soft tissues and structures as your body changes in pregnancy, helps to create space for your baby. Moving mindfully in ways that support your baby into their optimal position for birth, allows for an easier pathway through the birth canal in labour.
5. Create a calm, safe and connected environment.
You need oxytocin to birth your baby. Lots of it. It’s the same hormone that we release during sex, it’s the same hormone we release during orgasm. What do most of us need in those situations? Safety. Calm. Quiet. Low lighting. Warmth. Intimacy. Connectedness. Love. Touch. That’s exactly what you need in birth. When that perfect cocktail of hormones occurs, labour is effective and efficient.