Unfortunately Birth Centers are not at all common. If you live around a free standing Birth Center then you are very lucky. You’re more likely to have access to a hospital with an attached Birth Centre. You’ve already discovered that they have stringent protocols and it’s very easy to fall outside their guidelines for acceptance. Once you’ve been accepted to birth in a Birth Centre it’s important to increase your chances of birthing there.
Often families choose to birth outside hospital yet not at home. Birth Centers offer that in-between place. Many families want a more relaxed environment for the birth of their baby than the sterile, cold and clinical environment of many hospitals … sad really.
Birth Plans are political
Many decisions (Birth Plans or choices) are based on political feelings about birth, financial ability to pay, past experiences and future hopes. Hospitals certainly have gotten a bad rap, but it’s curious that so many families will head there if needed. So somehow the hospital is a love/hate place.
When a family chooses a Birth Center because they have political/personal/philosophical beliefs around childbirth when some thing happens to change those choices often despair descends. So there are two aspects to this article.
- First is how to reduce or eliminate the risks of transferring to hospital and having a successful Birth Center birth.
- Second is how to improve your hospital birth if you end up there.
One thing is certain, you’ll still have medical assessments, monitoring and perhaps some procedures (all lumped into the word ‘interventions’) in your Birth Center birth. A perceived rough vaginal exam can occur whether the woman is birthing at home, hospital or Birth Center. So a Birth Center experience can be improved by what skills you bring to your birth … and that’s your preparation and skills.
What is birth?
In the simplest form childbirth is an exercise in plumbing. A large object has to get out of a container. Keeping this understanding in mind, you can see how important it is to prepare the container to let the object out as easily and safely as possible. Fortunately, pregnancy is the only time to do this and only after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Preparing your birthing body has to do with learning skills to keep your container open, relaxed and mobile. There are three parts of the container the object must negotiate to come out:
- the bony pelvis
- open the cervix
- open the birth canal.
After 24 weeks of pregnancy every pregnant body begins it’s journey toward birth. Always keep in mind that birth is actually an active word. Actions are taken in order for the object to come out of the container. You do the activity of giving birth. Your baby does the activity of being born. You do this activity together.
Preparation skills + birth and birth coach-skills
Along with preparing the pregnant container for the activity of birth, it’s important to learn birth skills. Coaching skills for the birthing partner is as vitally important. Where ever you birth, pain is often connected to the activity of birth. Being at a Birth Center does not change the pain perception and women can as easily tense up their container in a Birth Center as in hospital or home.
Birth pain is most often connected to the cervix opening. This means it’s essential you learn to relax inside your pelvic clock, keep your sacrum mobile, remain in positions that keep the bell shaped curve of your contractions and stay open. These are learned skills that you use by linking your mind to your birthing (activity) body.
If you don’t know how to reduce your own birth tension in response to pain this is more likely to lead to more assessment, monitoring and procedures (interventions) and even transfer to hospital. So, the first thing you need to do is make certain you learn birth skills that come from preparing your pregnant body so you can cope and manage the pain in a relaxed manner. This means you have to look and act like you are coping with labour pains.
- The number #1 way you can assure a Birth Center birth is to cope, manage, deal with, work through, handle, stay in control and remain on top of every contraction. If the midwives at your Birth Centre see you looking overwhelmed and stressed particularly coupled with a long labour, then you are more likely to be transferred.
- The number #2 way you can guarantee a Birth Center experience is to make certain your baby comes through your birth canal in a reasonable amount of time. If you have tight muscles inside your vagina or tense up as this large object comes down into this area then you risk delaying the final exit of your baby. By doing Internal Work from 32 weeks onward, you can assure that this part of your body can open easily without the characteristic stinging that occurs.
Planning a Birth Center experience is just one step on the road to success. However, once you’ve prepared your pregnant body and learned great birth/coaching skills then you’ll realize that you’re more likely have a successful Birth Center birth. However, you’ll also absolutely know that if you need more medical care that all your preparation and your skills will give you the birth you imagined even if you end up in that place … a hospital.