Birth professionals are frustrated with childbirth too!
There’s an imbalance in childbirth. Everyone knows that and you as a doctor, obstetrician, CNM or Direct Entry Midwife and Doulas all know this. For years the issues around childbirth have been put into political debates. Things have changed yet somehow everything has stayed the same.
Politics of childbirth
The debates have centered around broadly these issues: natural versus medical, doctor versus midwife and home versus hospital.
Of course, there are lots of little debates such as constant foetal monitoring as standard practice or cesarean delivery for all breeches and twins. The political debate goes on and on and on.
What if there is a social rather than political debate that has not come to the forefront. What if the debates are much less about where a woman births or who is the birth provider and more about what expectant parents need to do for themselves regardless of where or with whom they give birth?
Social change in childbirth
What if a social change could improve all birth professionals’enjoyment of their work with birthing families? What if a social change could stop much of the political debate … at least stop the ‘either/or’ approach to birth care? This can happen when we reframe the relationship between pregnancy and childbirth from the point of view of expectant parents.
Obstetricians and midwives have all the skills to care for a woman in birth. Birth providers are highly trained from extensive education. What type of education is connected to expectant parents? Unfortunately even though birth is such a Big Event in a family, the current assumption strongly implies there is nothing a woman can do about an absolutely unknowable future event.
Given that attitude which is promoted by both obstetricians and midwives alike, families are left with either ‘do what the doctor says’ or create ‘Birth Plans’ to try to take some control over an experience that is surrounded closely by professionals. Let’s consider having the appropriate birth/coaching skills that give families the ability to feel in control by how they work with their baby’s efforts to be born.
Birth is ‘unknowable’ Does that mean it remains that way? No. Childbirth has a 100% chance of unfolding. Let’s consider the benefits of growing a social acceptance that connects pregnancy, preparing for birth, learning birth/coaching skills then using the skills during birth.
Birth is an action word and the actions any birthing woman can take comes from the skills she learns. Because all women are human beings and all men have essentially the same body this means there can be a set of shared, common knowledge skills.
Regardless of where or with whom a woman gives birth, she has to breathe and her body will be in some position. Skills such as Directed Breathing, the Pelvic Clock or Deep Touch Relaxation, Kate’s Cat, Hip Lift and Sacral Manoeuvre any woman can learn and then use with the necessary care assessments, monitoring and procedures that you do.
In reality, every birth provider loves to see a woman have a great birth experience. Now that fathers are encouraged to come help at birth, all birth professionals really love to see men do something practical and helpful. Does having a skilled birthing population hinder or endanger the birthing process?
It doesn’t seem likely. In fact, preparing for birth, learning skills then using them should work well with maternity services. When more expectant parents arrive in your care with confidence, capability, maturity and ability to work with their baby’s efforts to be born this can make your job much easier.
Having a reframing of our social relationship between pregnancy and birth must have a positive impact on how families feel about their birth experiences… they feel more in control no matter what type of birth they have.
Birth professionals want the stalemate in childbirth to shift. Midwives want more ‘natural’ births and obstetricians want ‘safe and healthy mothers and babies’. Placing a greater ‘responsibility’ on expectant parents to prepare for birth, learn skills then use them in whatever birth they have can become part of the childbirth solution. Has any obstetrician or midwife required a woman to scream rather than breathe well?
Although breathing is something we do all the time, childbirth is called ‘labour’ for a good reason. It’s hard work. When we have the right skills for the task, we feel more in control and better about our effort. When a birth requires a surgical delivery by cesarean, any family can still enjoy preparing for birth, use the skills during surgery and recovery. Birth will always be an activity no matter what.