Following from my blog post FRONT AND CENTRE IS WHERE YOU NEED TO BE -WRITING YOUR BIRTH PROPOSAL read on the find out more about how to write your birth proposal.
Midway through your pregnancy it is an idea to discuss your birth plan with your midwife or gynaecologist. It is a way of registering your preferences for the process of your labour so that your wishes can be carried out whilst you concentrate on relaxing, breathing and focusing on the birth of your baby.
The ethos of hypnobirthing is to encourage natural childbirth and empower you to be in control of this process. Here are a few areas for you to discuss with your midwife and add to your birth plan if you wish. In a hypnobirthing course these are covered in more detail but please feel free to drop me an email or call if you want to discuss any of these areas.
A quiet and calm environment where you feel safe and confident will help keep you relaxed and let your labour develop quickly and smoothly. It is easier to create this environment in your own home but points to consider include:
If you plan on taking a course and practising for a Hypnobirthing Birth it is a good idea to let your caregivers know this so they can be fully supportive. Whilst Hypnobirthing is becoming more widespread there are still a number of health professionals who have not had any experience of the process. Simply put, practising hypnobirthing empowers you to have a calm and gentle, natural and drug free birth, and uses self hypnosis, breathing, and deep relaxation and visualisation techniques.
It is best if you request patience and understanding to refrain (in the absence of medical emergency) from any intervention, or any procedure that could unnecessarily stand in the way of you having the most natural birth possible. It is good to state this clearly on your birth plan/proposal.
Activity During Labour
Although gentle movement can be beneficial in the early stages of labour, please bear in mind that you need to conserve your energy for actual birth of your baby. Eating whatever snacks appeal to you in the early stages of labour helps to maintain your energy. Remember the muscles of the uterus are some of the strongest muscles in the human body and they are working to capacity. Labour can be entirely comfortable and, at the same time, the muscular effort is powerful.
If you prefer to be undisturbed, you can decline an internal examination with no risk to yourself or your baby in normal circumstances.
Monitoring Your Babies Heart
Your baby’s heart can be monitored by Doppler ultrasound or with a stethoscope if you prefer not to expose your baby to the risks of sonar.
Positions to Give Birth In
There are a variety of positions you can give birth in but ultimately you’ll do what you feel like at the time. Many women find that a vertical, slightly forward position is the most comfortable, so that the weight of the baby is not pressing on your circulatory and nervous systems, gravity is on your side, and the capacity of the pelvis is at its maximum.
Popular positions include:
Many women find having a bath or shower very comfortable in pregnancy, and this feeling of relaxation in water can continue in labour. Being relaxed and at ease in the water allows your muscles to work more freely and so your baby is born more quickly. A birth pool is warm and you’re buoyant so you can move more easily into any position that suits you. Being in the water also increases the chance of respectful care, and women say it improves their experience. Birth pools were pioneered by Michel Odent in the 1970s on the grounds that a baby had been in ‘water’ for the last nine months and so would find it a more gentle introduction to the world.
Skin to Skin Contact with Your Baby
Immediately after your baby is delivered they can be placed on your tummy, giving skin to skin contact. This is very beneficial because the only things in your baby’s new world that it recognises from it’s old world are your skin, your heartbeat and breathing, and you and your partners voices. Skin to skin contact helps to build the bond between you and your baby and helps establish breastfeeding. You should allow any vernix to be absorbed into your baby’s skin so there is no need for any cleaning or rubbing. It can be done later if needed with a soft cloth.
Delivery of Your Placenta
In hospital directly after the birth you will often be offered an injection of artificial oxytocin. The purpose of this is to cause uterine contractions and to prevent or stop postpartum haemorrhaging and help with a fast delivery of the placenta. However evidence shows this may be an unnecessary procedure in many women and may inhibit the production of natural oxytocin. It is often routinely being used without full knowledge of the mother. The choice is yours, and it is wise to do some research beforehand. This is one of the many subjects which are discussed in a hypnobirthing course.
A drug free and natural way for your body to achieve the same process as above is to immediately breastfeed your baby which will assist with the natural delivery of your placenta, as well as give your child the sustenance and comfort it needs at the beginning of life.
A few other ideas you might like to consider:
Vitamin K for your baby
Vitamin K is offered for babies and again the choice is yours. It can be given by injection after they are born and helps prevent a rare disease called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding. It can be also be given by mouth in several doses after your baby is born which saves them from an injection within the first few hours of arriving in this world. If you choose to give the vitamin K by mouth it is essential that it is completed in full. Of course you can choose not to give Vitamin K.
Cutting your Baby's Umbilical Cord
Delaying the cutting of the cord until it has stopped pulsating enables the full supply of oxygenated blood to reach your baby. This also provides a dual support system while your baby learns to take its first breaths.
Supporting and encouraging you to breastfeed several times during the first few hours after birth. It’s a wonderful way of establishing your bond with your baby.
Medical Interventions can be life-savers in an emergency situation, and unnecessary interventions can themselves create unnecessary problems; something to be considered carefully and researched in advance. Medical interventions are discussed in detail on a KG Hypnobirthing course. You might want to check the AIMS website: www.aims.org.uk/ for more information.
There are a number of different pain relief options and many women use a combination of them. To enjoy a natural and comfortable birth, a hypnobirthing course will go a long way to helping you have a calm and gentle birth. Thank goodness pain relief is available, but many hypnobirthing mothers find it is not needed as birth can be comfortable and calm.
Induction of Labour
Induction of labour is often offered as standard, and often presented as if you have no choice. Remember you are entitled to a full discussion and explanation of the pros and cons before you decided on any intervention. Always listen carefully to medical advice; your midwives and doctor are knowledgeable and experienced, but remember that it is ultimately your decision.
On the KGH website you will find a free interactive birth plan you can complete to discuss with your caregivers. I will be discuss many of these topics in more depth on my hypnobirthing courses. But, I hope this has given you some food for thought at this exciting time.