What kind of birth do you really want? Yes, that's right: you can choose! In fact, there's a whole heap of things you can choose when planning how to give birth to your beautiful tiny human. It's actually been official Government policy since 1993:
'Women must be the focus of maternity care. She should be able to feel that she is in control of what is happening to her and able to make decisions about her care, based on her needs, having discussed matters fully with the professionals involved.'
Changing Childbirth Report (Department of Health, 1993)
It makes my blood boil when women come to me feeling anxious and concerned, saying they've been told they have to do this or they must do that - NO! It's your body and your baby - you decide! You absolutely have the right to say no, and saying it once should be enough!
I remember at my 36 week midwife appointment being told that: 'We don't allow women to go over 41 weeks, therefore, you are booked in for a sweep on Saturday 12th March at 9am.' Absolutely not! The pressure this then puts on you to give birth before the proposed sweep is awful and completely unnecessary.
Whilst full term pregnancy in the UK is generally considered to be 40 weeks, the WHO (World Health Organisation) considers full term to be anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks, which is much more realistic, as most babies arrive somewhere between those dates. However, some babies like to stay put for up to 43 weeks. Some babies are born at normal size and perfectly naturally at 44 weeks, or even a few days more. So, no thank you, as long as I am fine and my baby is fine, I choose to wait.
So many pregnant women, particularly first timers, fall into the trap of assuming a patient mentality: assuming they should, or feeling obliged to do as they are told by their doctor or midwife. Yes, they are busy people, but care should be offered and provided, not insisted upon, nor your consent assumed.
It is because of this routine medical approach that sadly, many perfectly healthy women do not end up having a normal, natural birth. Research carried out in 2000, (Downe S et al., 2001) revealed that only one in six first time mothers had a normal birth and only one in three women birthing subsequent babies gave birth normally.
A surprising majority of pregnant women are totally unaware that they have alternatives, rights and options. In fact, many first timers actually have little or no idea of what maternity services are available or indeed where to look for guidance. Tragically, most maternity publications and indeed the majority of NHS antenatal classes, simply accustom women to hospital policies and practices - and compliance! They fail to explain what you can do to make an informed decision - based upon your individual needs and those of your baby.
If you would like to aim to have a normal birth - that means: giving birth without having your waters broken, a drip set up or a prostaglandin pessary, epidural anaesthesia or an episiotomy, forceps, ventouse or Caesarean section - then you need to get to know your options and your rights, throughout your pregnancy, labour and birth.
Whilst I cannot promise you the perfect, pain-free, natural birth, Hypnobirthing will always make a difference. You will learn so much more than just a few techniques to use during labour and birth: I will give you the knowledge and the tools to have the right birth for you and your baby.
All the love,
Your body, your baby, your birth
Helen Wright: Double Mama to two gorgeous little humans; Positive Birth Coach and Postnatal Revival Expert, is on a mission to support parents achieve the right births for them and their babies and help them to thrive in the precious postnatal period and beyond.
Helen is an experienced KG Hypnobirthing Teacher, Positive Birth Coach and Creative Genius behind BirthWright Affirmation Cards; she's also a Certified Placenta Remedies Specialist with the Placenta Remedies Network, a Registered Breastfeeding Helper with the Breastfeeding Network and she co-hosts a monthly Family Meet Up & Support Group in the East End of London where she lives.For more info visit: www.BirthWright.co.uk and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.