This movement isn’t about natural birth vs. medicated birth. It’s not about hospital birth vs. homebirth or birth center birth. It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives. It’s about respect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
When I began really looking into what evidence based birth meant, it seemed like the exact opposite of what I had received. It turns out laboring on your back is not conducive to letting your body open and your baby come down. While I knew it was best to stay out of bed, I hadn’t known how listening to the nursing staff like a good patient might alter the course of my birth. It seems like commonsense now, to make use of gravity, one of the most natural forces in the world. But at the time, I was trying, against my better judgment, to listen to my care providers. I should’ve been listening to my body.
But in a hospital setting, it is far easier to manage a floor of laboring woman who are attached to monitors, than women bouncing through the hall on yoga balls, leaking amniotic fluid everywhere and high-fiving each other (maybe). In many ways, I understand how hospital birth has become so routine, so limiting. But you can’t make birth routine because it’s as unique as every woman’s body, and trying to do so fails us, more often than not.
We wanted our baby to have as undisturbed and gentle a birth as possible. Still, because we were first-time parents, we wanted to keep the door open for a hospital birth, in case complications arose. We went for regular check-ups, got our hospital admissions letter, and at the same time, got a birthing pool, birthing ball and yoga mat ready. Unlike many staunch home birthers, we weren’t sure where we would end up until I actually went into labour.
Gustavo Gomes and his girlfriend Priscila Bochi chose to skip the hospital and welcome their child at home after seeing a documentary called O Renascimento do Parto, which explores the high number of caesareans and traumatic births taking place around the world.
A list of sources for reliable information on the safety of specific medications while breastfeeding.
A candid opinion piece from Eva Wiseman for The Guardian on her own experience of breastfeeding, knowing the benefits that it can bring but facing the realities of her situation.
PLEASE don’t let Home Birth Canterbury die by neglect. Don’t assume that someone else will step in to do what needs to be done. A little commitment from many is what we need. Gather your like-minded friends and do something, however small, to get involved in protecting, supporting and promoting home birth as an option for Cantabrians.
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International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. The theme for this year’s event is “Make It Happen” to encourage “effective action for advancing and recognising women”.
The familiarity the baby has with the sound of their voices, but significantly in combination with that song, provides a point of comfort once they are born.