This is why the greatest birth keepers on Earth such as Ibu Robin Lim, Ina May Gaskin and Jeannine Parvati Baker have as their mantra these simple and profound words of wisdom “Peace on Earth begins with birth”.
How to ensure a gentle birth for the child?
The answer to this is also very straightforward – not to mess up with the natural physiological process of birth. No medical intervention passes without consequences, especially when they are done routinely without a true indication. Birthing gently means to choose a birth practice that aligns to the maximum with what nature intended for the mother and child to go through in the birthing process reserving medical interventions to the cases when they are truly needed.
What points to consider when planning a gentle birth?
1. Get inspired. Read real life accounts of gentle birth stories and professional reflections written by the champions of natural birth. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is a long time favorite and on the top of the list of natural birth books. Also check out the titles by Sarah Buckley, Michel Odent, Pam England, Sheila Kitzinger and Carl Jones.
2. Refrain from watching mainstream media birth shows. Their portrayal of birth is highly inaccurate and honestly quite distressing. Usually a birth is presented as an emergency waiting to happen and birthing women are to be immediately rescued from their own bodies. This is absurd. It is high time to start changing this erroneous perception of female bodies!
3. Instead equip yourself with knowledge! Open up to new sources of information. Get access and watch films such as Orgasmic Birth, Birth as We Know It, The Business of Being Born and Microbirth The whole new world of pleasurable, ecstatic, sensual and joyful birthing will open up for you!
4. Know well the physiology of labour and birth. Study a menu of multiple procedures done in the hospitals and learn their pros and cons. Be empowered with facts, particularly on the cons! Taking a natural birth preparation class will take you there. Check out the childbirth preparation classes run by Birth Times and Birthing is a Blessing.
5. Find a care-provider that will listen to you and support your wishes. This is very important! A supportive care-provider is 90% of your success to have a natural and gentle birth, your body will do the rest. Ask your care-provider critical questions. Listen carefully. If you see any red flags, switch ASAP. It is never too late! It is your birth and you do not owe it to anyone except to yourself.
6. Form a supportive birth team. Hire a doula! Doula is a trained birth professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. Multiple studies from around the world have concluded that a doula’s support is more effective than hospital staff, friends or family in achieving successful natural birth.
7. Have a birth plan and stick to it! A doula will help you to have your birth preferences respected.
8. Trust your body and refrain from medical interventions unless they are truly necessary. Go all way natural. No unnecessary ultrasounds, cervical exams, continuous fetal monitoring, epidural etc. One intervention leads to another once you start on that winding path. Having an epidural doubles the chance of having a C-section for labour dystocia.
9. If you are to have a surgical delivery via C-section for certain reasons or due to circumstances insist on the protocol that support a gentle Cesarean birth.
10. Have a firm plan for postnatal procedures. Ensure your baby is immediately placed on your chest skin to skin and stays there for an extended period of time. Exercise delayed cord clamping, ideally do not touch it for at least one hour. Consider doing a lotus or semi-lotus birth. By all means breastfeed your baby.
I hope this is helpful and will inspire you to envision and work towards a gentle birth that you deserve. To conclude I would like to once again go back to the word of wisdom, the most powerful birth mantra – “Peace begins at birth”. One peaceful gentle birth at a time creates a lifetime of peace.
Irina is a birth
keeper, mother and an advocate. As a certified Childbirth Doula and
Hypno-Doula she accompanies mothers through pregnancy, birth and postpartum to
ensure a joyful, balanced and pleasurable experience. It is her greatest joy to
see mothers to come out of birth feeling empowered, proud and honored.