Sunday, November 8, 2009

Options for Birthing

We have been self-dubbed a peculiar people. It’s pretty well known that we don’t do what everyone else is doing. I know plenty of you have been to events and been the only one not drinking, or the only one who believes in waiting till marriage. We don’t do what everyone else does on Sunday. We store large amounts of beans, flour and peanut butter in our garages. We spend our money differently. So why is it, that when it comes to pregnancy and birthing, so many of us don’t question what everybody else is doing?

I know many couples who pray about when to start their families, and about the timing of subsequent pregnancies, so why not pray about how and where to birth and about care providers?

I was inspired to write this book and blog for an LDS audience because there are plenty of good spiritual birthing guides out there that the average LDS woman might not read. I am hoping that because of the spiritual nature of the content and stories in this book and blog, that more LDS women will find it and see that women like them have found better options for birthing.

Pregnancy and birth are some of the most charged moments of a woman’s life and you will remember them forever. They can be positively charged or negatively charged. It is also a time when your potential for spiritual growth is the greatest. I guess you could say that I am a birth missionary. I would be doing a disservice if I kept my mouth shut.

So, to put it in bullet simplicity, here are your options for birthing:

  • Hospital- attended by OB - medicated or not (if you choose no medication, they will likely make it difficult for you.)
  • Hospital – attended by a midwife – medicated or not (you will get more support for natural birth with a midwife.)
  • Home birth – Midwife attended – medication not an option, but birth tubs are. Water birth is often referred to as a liquid epidural. Also ask about sterile water papules—they are amazing for back labor. (Hospitals don’t want you to know about this because it doesn’t cost a thing.)
  • Home birth – Unassisted – I guess I should disclaim that I’m not advocating it, but I know people who have educated themselves, prayed and felt good about it, and had great experiences.
  • Birthing Center – attended by a midwife – medication is usually not available, but birth tubs and other comforts mentioned above make it a middle ground between the hospital and a homebirth. Facilities vary greatly.
  • Caesarean section – This is done in the hospital by an OB – this was traditionally for emergencies and as a last resort, but women can now chose to have planned c-sections.

I’m sure there are other options like birthing with the dolphins, but for most of us, these are our options.

When I became pregnant, home birth was not even in my stratosphere. I wanted to have a planned C-section, and I also didn’t want to breastfeed. Ha! (I ended up nursing my daughter for over three years.) So what happened? I had a change of heart.

God sent the right people into my life and sent me to the right prenatal yoga class and I started to hear about natural birth. What I noticed about all the natural birth mommas is that they were all so happy about it and totally excited to share their wonderful birth stories. This was totally different from anything I had heard before. Then I remembered the sheep and their calm inward focus. I knew there was there was something right about what they were saying. Our bodies know how to do this.

I also loved the idea of water birth. I took a bath twice a day when I was pregnant. It was so soothing to me. I couldn’t help seeing the symbolic nature of it, with me curled up in a watery tub about as cozy as she was inside my bag of waters.

But it wasn’t just a few happy stories and a love of baths that converted me. I did the research. It’s astounding when you actually find out the facts. Your OB isn’t going to give you these, but there is tons of info out there if you look. I still think the best info in in books, but I have linked a few sources. These are by no means the only sources or the best ones. I can only do so much. One day I will put together a best of the best list of info and I appreciate all the stuff all of you post or share with me.

  • UC: I have been recommended books on unassisted childbirth (UC) but I haven't read any so I can't recommend or review them. But can also read Rixa's blog (Stand and Deliver). She's LDS, had a planned unassisted birth and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the modern unassisted childbirth movement.

  • I found this summary of many studies on Epidurals. If you like charts, check this link. Some of the drawbacks ofepidurals include: increased risk of: forceps, vacuum extractor, and c-section. Risk of c-section generally found to be 2-3 times more likely with epidural. It also mentions interesting info on how medicated birth may effect bonding.

That's all for now. Love and light.

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