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There are a few other childbirth preparation methods … not as many as we would think. You probably know about Grantly Dick-Reid, Lamaze, The Bradley Method, Active Birth, Hypnobirthing and Hypno-babies. The first four were developed in the 1950s and 60s. Active Birth was developed in the 1980s. Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies in the 1990s.

Skills associated with childbirth has been quite new in the history of our humanity. No kidding. While there are thousands of traditional cultures that developed heaps of ‘do’ and ‘don’t during pregnancy they actually didn’t develop heaps of skills for giving birth. Around the world, we get sucked into a Truth that is followed by an Untruth that is perceived of as being equally True but isn’t. The Truth is: ‘There is NO way to know how your birth will unfold’. That is True. You know what follows: ‘Therefore there is really nothing you can do to prepare’. That is UNTRUE big time!

The first three skills-based resources were developed by male obstetricians. That’s not wrong. They are at the cold face of birthing reality. They knew two things:

  1. The modern maternity system post WW2 focused on an ‘evidence-based’ system that was full of ‘standards of care’ or ‘guidelines to practice’ or ‘interventions’ or lots of medical assessments, monitoring and procedures (AMPs). The question these three obstetricians were asking was: ‘Do all births need to be so medical?’
  2. They wanted more ‘natural birth’ and they also believed women could have ‘painless’ labors.

What happened?

It’s really important that you understand that these three male obstetricians were the very first people who began to believe there were universal skills for childbirth. This was evolutionary. No one had even though there was ‘something’ women could do when facing the Truth of the Unknown.

There were some problems with their approach

  1. Lots of women aren’t going to have a ‘natural birth’ so skills should initially be for all women. Focusing skills only on one outcome has presented a problem for years. When a woman uses skills and fails to have a natural birth then it is assumed the skills fail. Besides, the majority of pregnant women will have medical care during pregnancy and birth. By focusing only on natural birth then we leave out most birthing women. That’s just not right. Every birthing family should have the ability to experience a positive birth.
  2. If women used the birth skills and didn’t achieve painless labour then the childbirth skills had failed again. To assume birth skills will lead to a painless birth means that the majority of birthing women will fail to achieve that goal. That’s not ok. We need to find a way for all pregnant women to achieve an empowered birth.
  3. Many of those original skills were birth techniques that were quite artificial to use. No woman can take short breaths in and out of their mouth for any length of time. This type of breathing causes hyperventilation which causes nausea and even fainting. Also, these artificial techniques don’t adjust and adapt well.

Advantages of being skilled

If the above sounds like Lamaze, Bradley and Grantly Dick-Reid aren’t good childbirth preparation methods, that’s not what we’re saying. The more skills expectant families have to do the activity of giving birth the better. Who cares where you get those skills. You just need them.

Birthing Better online birth classes also began to develop in the early 1970s. These skills were developed by ordinary families and every type of birth … not by an obstetrician and only for a natural birth or painless childbirth. This makes a difference. You get to learn from fathers and mothers who developed childbirth preparation, birth and birth-coaching skills that are incredibly effective, adapt, adjust and have been used by tens of thousands of birthing families in absolutely every type of birth imaginable.

Birthing Better certainly works with all other childbirth preparation methods.

Your job as a mother-to-be and father-to-be/other is to not only gather information and make birth choices but also to learn birth and birth coaching skills.

  1. You get to round off your pregnant body preparation skills.
  2. You get to learn birth and birth coaching skills that fit into every type of birth.
  3. You’ll round off all the techniques you get elsewhere so you’ll never be without some birth skill to help you do the activity of giving birth.

Shifting childbirth preparation

We are making a shift from a ‘choice-based’ approach to pregnancy and childbirth to a skills-based approach and this is great. Whether this is your first birth, having a VBAC, giving birth in the hospital or having a home birth by blending Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation course with other types of childbirth preparation skills you will more likely birth better no matter how your birth unfolds.

We’re building a Movement to grow a skilled birthing population for all pregnancies and every birth. You can use Lamaze, Bradley, Active Birth, Hypnobirthing and babies along with Birthing Better if you want. Each skills-based resource is different. Check them all out.

Remember there are a number of elements to every birth.

  • How you prepare your pregnant body to give birth.
  • What type of birth you want
  • What type of birth you have

Look for skills-based resources that cover those three elements … particularly the last one. Remember what the initial problems have been. When we focus on one type of birth we ignore the reality of giving birth and all birthing families. That’s not right for our society. Every birthing family should and can be a skilled birthing mother and skilled coaching father/other.

There is ‘no way to know what your birth will be like’ however you will give birth. Because there are skills you can learn and practice then you can use them to birth your baby no matter where, with whom or what is happening … that’s called ‘the birth you have’.

Birthing Better skills were developed by moms and dads in the early 1970s in the US and used by many thousands globally in all types of birth. Birthing Better online birthing classes are housed in Common Knowledge Trust.