We talk a lot about ‘the right birth on the day’ here at The Wise Hippo and so I thought I’d spend a bit of time today talking about why and also how you can achieve it for yourself.
The most important part of focussing on the ‘the right birth on the day’ is… well actually I am sure you’ve already guessed, it’s about making sure that women have the right birth for themselves and their baby. One that they felt that they were in control of and no matter what turn their birthing took that they were the ones making the final decisions about what happened.
Why is this so important? Because women who feel in control of their labour and birth are less likely to feel negative or worse traumatised by their birth experience. This won’t take away the disappointment for a woman if she wasn’t able to have the birth she wanted but it does make sure that she doesn’t feel like she has failed or feels guilty in some way. If she had ‘the right birth on the day’ she knows that she did the best for herself and her baby given the situation at the time.
I will just add a little point here though about hindsight because sometimes people may say “but I could have done that and I wish I did this”. It is important to understand that after the event you are 1) in a different emotional state and 2) most likely have new information. This is why ‘hindsight is such a wonderful thing’ but it doesn’t mean that you were wrong in the decisions that you originally made with the information that you had.
However, preparation can help ensure that you and your birth partner are in the best place emotionally to make good decisions. It can also ensure that you have a structured way to obtain the relevant information that you need in order to make good decisions.
For those that like to have a lot of information to refer to the AIMS booklets maybe a useful investment. However, you will also want to know how to remain emotionally in control and have a structured way to ask questions should you need to during your labour.
This is what I want to focus on today.
I can’t teach you all of our amazing techniques for remaining emotionally in control in one blog post but I can share with you one of our great relaxation mp3s. It is called Calm and Relaxed and it is a great introduction to our tracks.
I can also give you a great structure for asking questions. This doesn’t mean that we never agree with doctors and in fact sometimes couples need to put their baby’s birth completely in the hands of the medical team (we are very lucky to have skilled doctors when there are true medical emergencies), but should this arise couples maintain their sense of control by understanding that this is completely the right thing to do.
To ensure this happens The Wise Hippo teaches couples to ask questions, not to be adversarial, but to help doctors see them and their baby as unique individuals and for their baby’s birth to be viewed appropriately in respect of that.
It can be daunting though for some to question what they are being told by a medical profession and this great mnemonic can help keep you focussed:
B – benefits – What are the benefits of following the course of action suggested?
R – risks – What are the risks involved? In particular ask what the IMMEDIATE dangers and specific medical indications are (ie something that is actually happening not something that MIGHT happen).
A – alternatives – Ask about the alternatives (and the benefits and risks of these). These can help the medical professionals think more ‘out of the box’
I – instincts – Follow your instincts. This is important because it doesn’t matter what anyone else would do in your situation it is about what feels right for you personally.
N – nothing – Ask what would happen if you did nothing. Buying time even if it is for 15 minutes intervals can make the difference between intervention or not.
S – smile – Smile is there to remind you to remain calm and in control. Everyone is on the same team and that is for you and your baby to be healthy. Asking questions isn’t about being antagonist but helping your medical team to think outside the box and not treat all women the same. By asking questions and making decisions based on the answers you are given you will maintain control of your baby’s births. As I mentioned previously even if the decision is to hand your birthing over to the medical team you will have maintained your control by ensuring that it is the right thing for you and the baby.
If you do accept intervention at any point ensure that should this lead on to the suggestion of more intervention that you use your BRAINS again.
If conversations around intervention are required prior to labour starting I would strongly recommend that women take their partner with them to any appointments as this can become very emotional for a pregnant woman. Also, during labour ideally have your birth partner ask the questions. They can be your information gatherer but ultimately the final decision should be with the mum (your midwife will want to make sure that you are happy for your birth partner to gather the information for you).
Use your BRAINS, be informed, make the right decisions for you and your baby and ensure that you have ‘the right birth on the day’.