Above all it is your business – you, the soon to be new parents. Many other people will try to make it their business. Your friends, relatives and especially those vying for your services. Consider your options carefully. What are your personal values? Do you value health? Do you value long-term wellbeing for yourself and your new baby? How high does convenience come on your list of values? Are you willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term gain? Would you rather a short burst of pain or a longer term reminder with constant nagging pain?
Most people offering you care in childbirth won’t exactly ask you for a list of your personal values and go through each one with you. But I would suggest formulating such a list might be the most important exercise you can do. Begin by knowing who you areand what you value most. That will help you match your needs to those of those offering you their services. You are powerful. You are the one paying the bills. Don’t be awed by someone else’s power projections based on their presence, confidence, opulent office furniture, education, etc. Consider the reason that most doctors began their medical school training (hey – you might also have once thought about going to medical school). Isn’t one of the main reasons anyone chooses to go through all that agonizing training because of a desire for lifestyle? Do you want to help support their lifestyle? Because, if you choose their services, that is exactly what you are doing.
But I am running away with myself. I wanted to talk about getting the best start possible with childbirth.
Awake and aware. It’s always better to be awake and aware so that you can participate fully in the birth process. I’m not going to site a lot of statistics. I’m sure you can find them. But since birth is a normal natural process that your body, guided by all parts of your brain, is going through, it just makes sense that you would want to cooperate with it. In this regard, choosing your birth care provider is probably the most important decision you can make.
Actions speak louder than words. Don’t take a person’s word that says “sure, you can have a natural birth.” Get the cold hard facts. What percentage of your clients who were first time moms, in the past five year, have had a natural, no interference birth? How many of your patients required stitches? What other interventions do you think are standard for childbirth?
Get the facts. Past performance is the only predictor of future performance. If you walk through the door to speak to a surgeon you can expect surgery in a majority of situations. A natural birth is not the normal course of birth for a surgeon, so don’t believe them if they tell you that it is. Get the facts by getting the stats from their office.
Your body was designed for childbirth. Yes, there are some rare exceptions when modern medicine can do miracles and help. But 95% of women in Holland are able to give birth naturally. Why is the Caesarean rate so high in most other developed nations? If you go to a surgeon for routine childbirth care, expect surgery.
Explore the benefits of natural birth. There are benefits to baby, benefits to mom, benefits to long-term gut health and the immune system, benefits to getting breastfeeding off to a good start, and many other physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. When you know why, the how becomes easier.
Childbirth is a huge business. For most of us bearing children is probably the most profound event of our entire lives. Take some time to explore yourself, your values and get the real facts. You will look back and be so glad that you did.