Birth Savvy Childbirth Education focuses on getting the most out of your private obstetrician here in Perth.
After all you are paying him/her a lot of money, so you should be getting fantastic service and a wonderful birth experience .
When you go to your antenatal check ups do you feel like a number or an individual?
Do you worry that you are going to end up as a statistic?
Do you feel like you have an equal relationship with your private obstetrician?
Each birth should be treated as unique as the baby who was born.
Why should choosing a private obstetrician mean you have an increase chance of intervention during your labour and birth?
Probably because most women don’t fully realise that this is what they are buying into when they choose a private obstetrician in a Perth private hospitals.
But also because they don’t really believe they can have an equal relationship with their private obstetrician.
Our society has taught us to revere doctors and that we should always be “good patients”.
However if there is one time in your life when it is crucial that you see yourself as a capable, intelligent woman with every right to challenge a medical professionals opinions, it is when you are having your precious baby.
I know this is easier said than done, because even I struggled with this when I had an obstetric led birth for my 4th baby.
So here are some tips on how to have an equal, open relationship with your obstetrician and get the birthing experience you and your baby deserve.
1. Cultivate confidence in your ability to know what is right and wrong for you and your baby.
As capable, intelligent women we know when we have eaten something that doesn’t agree with us, when we are coming done with a cold, are premenstrual, or feeling really, really well.
But suddenly, when we get pregnant we lose all faith in our ability to know what is right and wrong for our body and, ultimately, our baby.
Just remember that you do know your body better than anyone else, including a highly qualified obstetrician.
Focus on all those times when you have listened to your body, and your instinct, and done exactly what you needed to do in order to get the best outcome for you.
This is actually a skill that you are going to need to call on a lot as a parent.
Once you are a parent, health carers will actively encourage you to listen to your own instincts about your child.
You will always be the best judge on what is right or wrong for your child, so start cultivating this skill and confidence now.
2. Become the expert on normal birth
Anyone can become the expert on normal birth because it is really not brain surgery.
In fact, for centuries it has been common knowledge among women, but the medical profession has taken it over and has made it “secret doctors business”.
The female body is perfectly, and beautifully, designed to give birth through amazing anatomical features and a wonderful cocktail of hormones. And it is really easy to understand how this all works.
However, I recently ran an on-line survey and not one respondent said they felt like an expert in normal birth after completing their prenatal education classes.
So make sure you find classes that offer this as the corner stone to their programme.
Your obstetrician is the expert in abnormal labour, so it is really important that you know exactly what normal labour should look like in order to feel confident to question any policies and procedures that may be offered to you.
3. Then assume you are going to have a normal birth.
Not many of us, when we decide to get pregnant, quickly find a doctor and ask him if he could come and watch just in case something went wrong.
This is because we assume that our bodies, and we, know what to do.
Conceiving a baby is an amazing accomplishment, but we start the process with the assumption that everything will be normal.
Of course, a small percentage of couples do have trouble conceiving and medicine can help them, but most couples give it a really good try the way nature intended, before asking for help.
Then when we are pregnant, again we assume that our body will know how to grow our baby without any excessive intervention.
If you stop to think about how incredibly complex growing a baby is, it is quite mind blowing. Yet most of us trust our bodies to do this.
So why do we think that our body doesn’t know how to birth our baby?
Don’t you think that would be an incredible design fault?
Because obstetricians are the experts in abnormal births, and therefore on the lookout for things to go wrong, they tend to assume that something will go wrong.
So you need to be the one who is assuming everything will be normal and stick to that assumption until you are presented with clear medical evidence that things are not.
Only a small percentage of births will become truly “abnormal” and then your obstetrician will be worth his/her weight in gold, but not before.
4. Present a united front
It is so important that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to the birth of your baby.
So your partner needs to be an expert in normal birth too.
Pregnancy can be an emotional time and you will get lots of conflicting advice.
You partner’s support, when you are unsure or overwhelmed, can give you the confidence you may feel you are lacking.
This is why it is really important that your partner attend good quality childbirth education with you, and be at your antenatal checkups.
5. Realise how important getting the birth you want is to being the best parent you can be.
When you understand how all the hormones work you will realise they are there not just for labour and birth but for early parenting too.
Nature really wants us to succeed at parenting and gives us a helping hand after birth with high levels of oxytocin and endorphins.
So it is important to not interfere with the delicate balance of hormones during labour.
It is equally important to feel that you have had choices and control over decisions made about your birth.
This was summed up perfectly to me recently by a women describing how she felt after giving birth.
She said, “I felt like wonder woman 5 minutes after giving birth and I still do.”
5 months on she still felt like that, which is so different from the tired, overwhelmed state many women experience.
We are all meant to feel like wonder women after birth, so that we can be the best mums we can be.
Finally, I think it is important to remember that, on the whole, obstetricians do want women to have good births.
It’s just that their idea of what a “good birth” can be really different to yours.
Yes, they may have “delivered” 100’s of babies and be perfectly satisfied with their “stats”, but they have never had the privileged of attending your birth, and it is actually your satisfaction that counts not theirs.