You’re welcome to read if you’re NOT an expecting parent, but I’m compiling this specifically for pregnant women, their partners, or anyone thinking you might be pregnant ONE day.
Childbirth brings up plenty of emotions in folks, including myself. Nope, I’ve never had a child, but I’ve been listening. And studying. My recent delve into the ‘doula’ world has opened me up to oodles of research on the matters of childbirth. Be it natural, medicated, in a hospital, at home, with twins, or triplets, assisted by a doctor or midwife. Whatever you’ve experienced or selected from the Salad Bar of Having a Baby, I’d love to share some stories and research with you.
If you were training for a marathon, what would you do first? How would you prepare? At some point, you’d have to start running. You’d probably research a running schedule. You may get together with other runners or join a running club, so you’ve got a few folks to encourage you on those long miles. You’d buy some nice shoes. Find yourself talking about running a lot more, thinking about running, you may even imagine yourself crossing the finish line, or give yourself a mantra to chant when the miles get long and lonely. You probably WOULDN’T say, “I don’t need to train, or prepare for this marathon” (unless you’re a BEAST!!) or “I’ve got legs, so obviously God designed them to run.” Sure, He designed your legs for movement, even the impact-loading exercise of running. However, research backs Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
Marathon training is MUCH like preparing for childbirth (or so I hear). Expecting mothers train physically, they eat healthier foods (right?!), talk to people, read books, attend childbirth education classes, attend breast feeding classes, some buy pregnancy clothes, do lots of squats & walking to stay strong, and may even ‘train’ with a companion, such as a doula, or partner or coach.
Here’s a sampling of research & stories I’ve found RATHER compelling. But LADIES! FELLAS! Don’t just read my thoughts, research. Learn for yourselves. Seek answers. Above all – listen to your hearts and your bodies. If you’re uncomfortable with a caregiver, or birth setting, or anything – listen to yourselves. You’re developing the instincts of a parent that will protect you and that precious baby for years to come.
- Natural Labor and Childbirth Options – from Wellness Mama. My sister turned my onto her blog, which I love. The research she shares, I’ve double-checked in most cases & it’s concurrent and trustworthy, as best I can tell.
- Doulas – usually a woman ‘servant’ who helps women & families before, during, and shortly after childbirth. She provides emotional, physical and informational support. (Since I’ve trained to be a doula, of course I’m biased. But since I no longer live in the USA, all you Americans can rest easy that I’m NOT trying to promote my business to you. Therefore, what I share is lovingly shared to help YOU and not me.) Mothers who are assisted by doulas have the following statistics:
- – 50% less cesarean sections
- – 25% decrease in labor time
- – 40% less medical inductions
- – 60% less epidurals
- – Increased breast-feeding success (even at 6 months post-partum)
- – increased mother-baby bonding immediately post-partum
- – decreased post-partum depression and mood disorders.
Let me say: medicine HAS come a looooong way and interventions like epidurals, cesareans, and inductions CAN save lives and HAVE helped many mothers & babies. A doula is there to support your choice, and it’s also her role to encourage education. Therefore – educate yourselves! What are the risks of each medical intervention? Did you know you have choices? Your body is created to give birth to a child, women, so find ways you can support that process that’s best for you and your baby.
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – an easy read. Great for women (and dads) who want to know and believe in a woman’s incredible body and it’s amazing ability to give birth – in all kinds of situations! The first half is stories. The second half is more ‘how to’ and research.
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn – it’s long, yet comprehensive. Not biased, yet VERY information-based. You can download several chapters free on iBooks if you’d like a sample.
- The Womanly Art of Breast feeding – The La Leche League puts out some incredible information. This book is easy to find answers quickly. You may find yourself thumbing through while you attempt to breast feed your newborn.
- The La Leche League International. A peer-support setting that welcomes women who want to breast feed their babies. They have some in South Africa, but the U.S.A. is riddled with them!
Well, I’ve only gotten started. I’d love to hear your story or help answer any questions that arise as you research. As I build my own set of beliefs and practices as a doula, I thank you for sharing with us all, as we need our collective stories. My heart is open and I encourage her to be non-judgmental, especially in childbirth matters. Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.