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What do I mean by connections when it comes to childbirth?
One definition given by Webster’s Dictionary is: A relationship, an association with something or someone, a thing that connects.
There are many variables that can influence your experience in giving birth such as, your health, your faith in your healthcare provider, how you cope with stress, your interpretation and fear of “labor pain”, the environment in which you live and give birth in, and your relationship with your partner. You have a connection with all of these and more, which can profoundly impact the choices you make.
Here you will find information about how we react physically and emotionally when confronted with fear, how we respond to pain, and how you can block it.
If you can understand the hows and whys of how your body and mind work, it will be easier to know when to apply the suggestions made in the labor section of this online childbirth class. All of the information provided here, is for preparation of birth.
Always know that whatever decisions you make regarding the birth of your child, and your choice in comfort measures – medications, etc., they will be the right ones for you simply because you know best and you’ll know what’s best at the time of birth.
We have a lot of connections in our lives: To material things, and people. We are also connected to science, medicine, philosophy, religion, culture, economics, technology, sociology, history, politics, and psychology, ( to name a few ).
All of us are influenced by the culture and society in which we live on a daily basis. It is such a part of our lives, we don’t really think about it! It’s automatic! We get vaccinated by doctors, buy computers, take yoga classes, see counselors, physicians, therapists, go to hospitals to birth our babies, and so on. Usually with no questions asked.
We support these connections by incorporating them into our lives based on our beliefs and the way we’re raised as kids by our parents. How we incorporate them depends on our lifestyle, values, and what we believe to be true in our personal life. It’s totally individual.
So what do these connections have to do with planning the birth of a baby?
A lot! You and your partner are the center of attraction now and your connections with family, relatives, with each other, and with the disciplines mentioned above are enhanced – perhaps even magnified.
I bet you are being bombarded with questions like:
- “Where are you having the baby?
- What hospital are you having baby in?
- Who’s your doctor?
- Is the nursery ready?
- Are you going to get an epidural?
- are you planning a natural birth?
- Get the epidural!
- Will you christen the baby?
- If it’s a boy will you circumcise him?
- How can you birth at home?
- Are you going to breastfeed?
Yes, you are having a baby, but this wonderful event is also dynamic and complex. It used to be – just one hundred years ago, you would have your baby at home surrounded by friends and family members. Today it’s very different. You are surrounded by technology, doctors and nurses, with very little family members, and many decisions to make. Although things are changing. Homebirths are on the rise om the USA.
Most births occur in hospitals, and even though there are other choices, women choose hospitals simply because it’s been the standard of maternity care since the late 1800’s and women have been taught over the years that’s the “default” place to go – automatically and without question. I say this not to be argumentative, but to raise awareness that the hospital is no longer the “standard” place to birth a baby.
So, if you are going to a hospital you need to be prepared and EDUCATED about current Evidence Based Practices. You also need to know you have other options:
- home birth without medical assistance
- waterbirth with a midwife of doctor
- birthing center
- hospital birth with a Midwife
- hospital birth with a Doula
- home birth/ hospital birth with Midwife and Doula (these choices are safe).
The more educated you are leads to being prepared which helps you to anticipate events and problem solve when you need to make a choice. When you are prepared you respond better, can solve problems, and anxiety is decreased. That’s why childbirth education is great because it gives you the information you need to know, BUT what you DO with that information is the most important part!
This may or may not be a stressful time for you. However, It usually is. All at once you have many decisions to make, financial, social, medical, and at the same time, you and your partner are sorting everything out as future parents. It’s an emotional time!
A woman’s emotional state can influence her body’s physiology, the pregnancy and the birth process – you’ll hear me say this several times throughout this online childbirth class.
Having a baby is a major life change! At times you will find yourself thinking about your own childhood, and how you were raised. Will you be good parent? A good mother? Father? Men will be anxious about money, responsibility, when and where to go to the hospital. You? You’ll be concerned with when labor begins, labor pain, sex, your pregnant appearance, the baby, and motherhood.
During all of this, as you get lost in the worries, probably the the most magnificent of connections of all is how natural and normal it is to be pregnant! Childbirth and all its discomforts is normal too. Women have been doing it for thousands of years.
We are so preoccupied with worries and fears that THEY magnify and end up controlling us, causing unrealistic thoughts about pregnancy and birth that it’s potentially psychologically damaging, influencing our abilities to birth and causing unnecessary suffering.
How? Hang in there, we will talk about that very soon!
In the mean time, here are some suggestions of what you can do, and learn about to fulfill your part, an active part, in the delivery of your baby. Childbirth is more about you ….
S t a r t m a k i n g c o n n e c t i o n s w i t h:
- Yourself. This is an a-m-a-z-i-n-g time for you! You are filled with emotions. This is a good time to release them! When you keep emotions bottled up inside, they fester, you worry. Then you hear a horror story about another woman’s childbirth experience, and you cringe. Now, you are really upset! If you haven’t already, start a Journal! This is a very healthy, and an inexpensive way to unload your feelings in a safe way. It will also give you a book of great memories to share maybe with that child you give birth to.
Start thinking about what kind of birth you want, where, and who you want there. What is important to you? To your partner? Do you really want drugs? Start talking!
- Learn some historical information about women and birthing. Why? Because there have been thousands of women who have given birth around the world, for thousands of years. They did it! A woman’s body is anatomically designed to have babies, and what a beautiful design at that! AND before the last 100 + years, without medication as we know it today! It will give you a different perspective on giving birth. Listen to positive birth stories too – they can be quite inspirational!
- Knowledge of medical terminology, procedures, and interventions used in hospitals, birthing centers, home births, and their differences in managment, so that you and your partner can make appropriate decisions that suit your lifestyle and values. You may want to write out a birth plan.
- Support System. The evidence is very clear if you choose to have a Midwife or a Doula at your side: The cesarean birth rate is reduced, less complications, resulting in happier, and healthier births. Why? Because they provide the emotional nurturing that is often missing during labor ( mostly from the healthcare team ) AND patience! Also, Your partner is a very important aspect of the birthing experience, but both of you need support at the same time, for different reasons.
- Share what you want with your partner. Get a clear idea of how they feel about your birthing plans. Sometimes partners can sway what you want to meet their needs instead.
- A heck of a Tool Box! What? If you stick around this will be discussed.
- Communication. All of the above depends on communication and asking questions! You need to share your thoughts with your partner, your midwife, Doula, and your healthcare provider so that your needs and wants are met as best as possible. You know they have your best interest at heart, but they can’t read your mind if you don’t like something! Speak-up!
- A basic understanding of your body, its anatomy, physiology, the discomforts you may feel during your pregnancy. What to anticipate in labor, birth, and postpartum.
- Educate yourself about the mind/body connection. Look in the library to read some books about this significant topic that can really make a difference with perception of labor pain and its management.
Learn what you and your partner can do to help ease worries, negativity, and discomforts during labor.
Now, believe it or not, YOU bring your attitudes, values, and personal beliefs to a childbirth class, assumptions about birth, babies, pregnancy,and more!
Hopefully you’ll also bring an open mind, a willingness to try, learn and PRACTICE new skills and embrace new ideas.
Beware! You may gain new perspectives about yourself personally, your life, and gain a renewed confidence in your ability to give birth.
Test your memory! Take the quiz below. Got questions? Write them in the comment box and I’ll answer them …
There are 4 questions.