March 20, 2015

Reclaiming our Power in Labor.

mother and baby

One out of three babies are born via cesarean section.

Most c-sections happen between the hours of 5-10 pm because doctors want to go home. And they were trained for surgery so they might as well make some money. They’ll feed the mother some bullshit excuse, and since “they’re the experts” and women are usually exhausted after hours of labor, they go with it.

A c-section is major abdominal surgery.The doctor cuts mom open, slices through the abdominals and uterus, and in some cases removes her intestines and puts them on a table off to the side before taking the baby out.. And since mom needs to be sewn back up, skin to skin contact with her newborn immediately after birth is extremely rare in the operating room. Women are advised not to walk up and down stairs for several days after a c-section (how many nurseries are on the first floor of the home?) and it takes 6-8 weeks to completely recover from the surgery (on top of having a newborn baby) versus 4-6 weeks for a vaginal delivery.

On rare occasions, c-sections are necessary. I am very thankful for Western medicine in these extremely rare circumstances. But this is not the way we were meant to birth one out of three of our babies.

Pregnancy is not a sickness. Women need to reclaim their power in the labor room. We are meant to be active participants, not patients.

Coming to this conclusion required research. I became passionate about this subject after taking a prenatal yoga teacher training, where I learned about the many possibilities for birth as well as the history of how birth has changed over the last two centuries due to trends in royalty and celebrity. If more women in the spotlight were advocating for natural birth I think we’d see a drop in c-section rates.

Two resources to get better informed:

Ricky Lake’s “The Business of Being Born” on YouTube.

Ina May’s book, “Guide to Childbirth.”

They changed me and made me want to work with pregnant women for the rest of my life.

I recently wrote a birth plan with my husband and doula to highlight my preferences when it’s time to give birth to my son. It’s important to know what I want and also be willing to deviate from that path if it becomes necessary for the health and safety of my baby and myself. But going in blindly isn’t serving anyone but the doctor’s wallet.

Here are my preferences. May they be of benefit. If you’re not familiar with something on this list, Google it!

1. I will be laboring at home for as long as possible.

2. I would like intermittent fetal monitoring.

3. I will allow a saline or hep lock only if and when it becomes necessary for me to take fluids/drugs intravenously.

4. I would like limited vaginal exams.

5. I would like limited staff involved, no students or observers.

6. I will be laboring naturally, please do not ask me if I want medication during my labor. I will ask if necessary.

(A note about drugs: The painful, frequent contractions generated from pitocin often leads to the request for an epidural. The inability to know when to push generated from the epidural often leads to c-sections. Drugs are a slippery slope because they fuck with our body’s natural hormones. Let the hormones do their thing and the common result is a vaginal delivery and drug free baby!)

7. No arom (artificial rupture of membranes).

8. No labor augmentation (no pitocin).

9. I would like to move as much as possible throughout my labor.

10. I would like a calm setting, with dim lights, low monitor tones, and limited interruptions during my labor.

11. Please keep my partner and I informed of all medical concerns and updates, with information discussed immediately and thoroughly. Please allow me time to privately discuss any information and options with my birth team during my labor.

12. I would prefer to eat and drink at my desire during labor.

13. I would like to push spontaneously. Please no “coached pushing.”

14. I would like to push in positions I feel comfortable.

15. I would like a slow, gentle, hands off delivery and for my partner to catch my baby.

16. I would like no forceps or vacuum used on my baby.

17. No episiotomy, I would prefer to tear and heal naturally.

18. I would like immediate skin to skin, with baby placed on my bare chest with a blanket over us both.

19. Please no hat, I would like to smell and touch my baby, which will signal my body, and my heat will regulate body temperature.

20. I would like to delay cord clamping, so my baby can receive the much needed oxygen, iron, clotting and immunity factors, and stem cells from the cord blood. I would like it delayed until it stops pulsing.

21. I would like a physiological third stage, allowing my placenta to deliver naturally.

22. I would not like pitocin after delivery unless my placenta isn’t delivering after 15 minutes.

23. I would like to keep my placenta.

24. I would like a quiet hour for me and my newborn immediately after birth, postponing unnecessary procedures and exams. This is a critical bonding period and important to maintain.

25. Please no baby warmer. I would like my infant on my chest.

26. Please wait to weigh my baby.

27. No antibiotic eye ointment.

28. I agree to Vitamin K and request a preservative-free version if available.

29. No vaccinations, I will follow up with my pediatrician.

30. We wish to leave our baby uncircumcised.

31. No bath. The covering will protect and nourish the skin. I do not need my newborn cleaned or wiped.

32. I will be rooming in with my baby.

33. I will be breastfeeding, please no bottles or binkies unless I ask.

While the ultimate goal is to have a healthy baby in mom’s arms, labor and delivery can be sacred and special if we enter the experience mindfully and informed. Every parent deserves to have preferences regarding how their baby comes into this world. A child’s early experiences in the womb, the journey to the other side and those first few hours of bonding with his family are crucial to his development.



When will a First-Time Mother Meet Her Baby?


Author: Megan Ridge Morris

Editor: Renee Picard

Image: Flickr

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