Posts Tagged ‘water birth’

If you don’t pee in front of your partner, think twice about having him at the birth of your baby.

July 21, 2016

 

We are on a girlie week-end, climbing hills in the Derbyshire dales, and staying in a bed and breakfast. We are all escaping motherhood for a day or two. Over breakfast one morning, a conversation begins about peeing in the company of our husbands. I am surprised to hear a few women say they have never had a pee with their husband in the room. It turns out they have never broken wind in front of him either. I kind of think this is an awesome feat of bodily control that I wouldn’t be able to achieve!  It reminded me of how different we all are.

But it got me thinking, that if you feel embarrassed to go to the loo with your partner in the room, what must it be like to try to have a baby with him in the room? Having a baby is not particularly alluring, it involve body parts, it involves smells and noises, it is not “lady like” particularly, or “sexy”.

I have been thinking these things for a while, but not had the courage to write them down. There is something, even in our modern day liberated lives, that is not okay about writing about women’s bodies as functional rather than objects of desire. So, as you read this, notice any discomfort you might feel, and ask yourself “why is it not okay to read about my body in this way?”

Dbirth stool labouro you pee in front of your husband? Do you change your sanitary wear in front of him? Do you break wind in his presence? Do you orgasm freely and loudly with him? If so, birthing in front of him might be easier. Because birthing is about your body parts, and it is about things coming out of your body, and it is about letting your body be released from your mental inhibitions.

To orgasm freely, we need to feel uninhibited. We need to feel that we are not being judged or watched, to not feel self-conscious. Birth is the same. I’m not talking about orgasmic, hippy dippy births (yes, orgasmic births actually exist). I’m talking about all births without drugs, or knives. Because your body needs the hormone “oxytocin” to birth without a drug or a knife, and oxytocin disappears if we feel judged, self-conscious or worried.

So, it stands to reason that if you get very self-conscious at the thought of your partner seeing you being anything other than sexy and alluring, you might struggle with his presence at the birth. You might not want him to see you grunting or sweating. You might not want him to see you breaking wind, weeing, or even letting out a little poo. Having some-one in the room, who makes you feel anxious or inhibited is not good for birth. So think very carefully about your partner’s presence, and if you’re not sure, then  my advice is to address it, discuss it, think about it, as part of your birth preparation. Sophie Fletcher, in her book  Mindful Hypnobirthing, is one of the few birthing books to even talk about the fact that he doesn’t have to be there. It is a choice. If you know that you do want him there, prepare for that. The Mindful Mamma classes spend a lot of time of partners’ role. Learn how he can help you to elicit and release your oxytocin via his connection and love. Mark Harris talks about this in his book “Men, Love and Birth”. Ina May Gaskin maintains that the kissing that got baby in there, can get baby out too 🙂 Michel Odent argues that men’s presence in the birthing room might account for the rise in intervention. There’s no right and wrong. As I said at the beginning, we are all so different. But if you’re preparing for your birth, don’t prepare without addressing what it’ll be like for you to have him there, and what role he is going to play.

Mia Scotland

Birth Doula and Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing practitioner

http://www.yourbirthright.co.uk

My All Time Top 5 Tips for Birth Preparation

April 13, 2016

mia brochure photoAfter over 10 years of teaching birth preparation classes, and having taught over 1000 couples, here are my definitive five top birth preparation tips:

1. Get the birth companion prepared too. As a mother, you have the benefit of birth hormones to help you go into the zone, and to help you forget the pain. But your partner doesn’t have this lovely little tool kit for birthing. Because he wasn’t designed to birth a baby. There is a teeny weeny chance that he might get a rush of adrenalin, and try to help with “action man” bravery, when what you need is stillness and calm. If he is going to be there, he needs to prepare for this.

2. Release your fears and negative assumptions about birth. Our society has soaked you in a culture of presuming that birth is a horrific ordeal. You need to let that conditioning go, so that it doesn’t affect you too much on the day. This is true for a zillions of different reasons that science has demonstrated, but that I haven’t got the space to go into right now. One little example is that if we expect pain, our brain actually creates pain. Another is that if you are scared, your labour lasts longer.

3. Take your environment very very seriously indeed. I cannot sleep in a busy security queue at an airport. I can sleep very quickly, tucked up in my own bed at night. Birth follows the same principles (there are so many ways in which birth is similar to sleep – to0 many to go into now). Prioritise your birthing environment to create a spa like feel in the very special room that you are going to meet your baby in.

4. Condition your body to be able to respond with an automatic relaxation response to specific triggers. In NLP, this is called anchoring. In psychology, it is called conditioning. It is the basic technique that all good advertising is based on, and it works. It is so easy, but so effective. Hypnotic relaxation PM3s are perfect for this. You can also anchor yourself to a smell. Or a touch. You do the anchoring in your pregnancy, and then on the day, you generate the trigger, and your body will respond automatically.

5. Know your rights. So many second time mums say “I didn’t realise I had a choice” or “I didn’t know what they were doing” or “I know I don’t want to do that this time”. You know what? The NHS is your servant. It is there to support you, offer you advice, and listen to what your preferences are. They literally can’t touch you without your consent. You have the power to always say “not yet thank-you, I want to have a think about it first”.  Whether it is a blood test, an induction, a sweep, having your waters broken, seeing a doctor instead of a midwife, you choose. Birth preparation is about empowering yourself to enable the midwives to help you to have your choices and needs met.

These are the five things that we have prioritised in our  Mindful Mamma hypnobirthing class. It is one day, but it is packed full of all the above. There is the wonderful Mindful Hypnobirthing book which you receive when you book your place. There are 9 MP3s to help you release your fear, build a positive mindset, and anchor relaxation. There is exclusive access to a website with handouts, infographics and bonus MP3s. I run the class near Nottingham and Leicester, in a lovely venue in Melton Mowbray. There some of the testimonials and birth stories from people who have done my class here. Enjoy 🙂

Mia Scotland

Clinical Psychologist, Hypnobirthing antenatal teacher, Birth doula

www.yourbirthright.co.uk 

 

Split Personality Midwifery: who has the power?

November 30, 2013

Image“I’m in two different worlds.  Two completely different worlds.  It’s strange.  It’s hard”.  These words were uttered by a client of mine, over the phone.  She wants to work towards a home birth after caesarean section, an HBAC.  Did you know, that in the UK, there is the support to do this, unlike other countries, where you might have to go “underground” to get an HBAC, and then risk being imprisoned for doing so.  That, of course, means having to birth without the midwifery support that can be lifesaving.  But in Britain, women have a right to birth where they choose and how they choose.  Not only that, but there is a fantastic service in place for them.  They have top notch midwifery back up to birth at home, if that is what they want.  Not all people know this.  But my client did know this, because her midwife had told her.  Her midwife had supported her.  Also, she had booked a doula.  Her doula had told her too.  Her midwife and her doula didn’t bat an eyelid.  They supported her in her wishes and needs to birth at home.

Then, she had her doctor’s appointment at the hospital.  And she thought that she might share her thoughts with them.  She had asked me if that was a good idea.  We had talked about the pros and cons. Her midwife had said “don’t tell any-one, they will just put you off”.  As it turned out, at the appointment, she wasn’t  asked what she would like to do, she was told “you’re going to need a cannula, you’re going to need continual electronic foetal monitoring, you can’t have a home birth” and my client says she began to feel out of control again, anxious, as she did with the first birth. The very feelings she is trying to avoid by planning a home birth. She did not mention that she was wanting an HBAC, and she went home again.

Two completely different worlds.  The “normal birth” world of midwifery, that is moving forward fast, and is supported by evidence and  government  policies.  And the medical world of obstetrics that is cautious to save lives and eliminate all risk, at a cost of eliminating normal birth. * She is getting a right royal dose of both of these.  In our Mindful Mamma class, we do show people a diagram of these two  models of childbirth.  Midwifery is pro natural birth, trusts women’s bodies, understands the psychology, non-interventionist, views birth as amazing, hands control to the woman.  The medical model uses drugs, interventions, believes birth to be dangerous and unpleasant, takes control from the woman, and does not believe women can do it without help.  Sometimes I wonder if we are too black and white in class.  Nothing is ever that straightforward.  There are midwives who say “you can’t have a home birth” and there are doctors who say “of course you would be better off at home, reducing your risk of obstetric intervention when you don’t need it”. There are doctors who are promoting water birth after a caesarean, because they understand the psychological benefits of relaxation and a sense of control.  There’s doctor who have said;

The first intervention in birth, that a healthy woman takes, is when she walks out the front door of her home, in labour.”
Dr. Michael Rosenthal – Obstetrician 

And his is a very good point.  It is the woman beginning the intervention, because she is choosing to walk out of the door and go into a hospital.  My client has a choice.  She always has a choice.  In our classes, we often hear that women feel empowered.  That they didn’t realise they had so much choice. That they could say no.  That they could choose alternatives.  That they and their baby would still be looked after even if they declined some things.  This is something most people don’t know.  Not even doctors and midwives.  The woman has the choice.  The woman has the power.  My client is learning this, in her split personality experience of midwifery.  She is choosing to stay on the normality side of things, sticking to her home birth choices.  This is no easy choice. She tells me it is confusing, and difficult.  And I fear it will get more difficult for her.  Although she has a choice, she has to be very determined to keep the faith, because, once the “dead baby card” gets played only the strongest of us can stay rational about our choices.  But she has her midwife on her side.  And her doula.  And her hypnobirthing practitioner.  And the British midwifery system, supported by the NHS.  Good luck to her and her baby.

*this is not to deny that obstetrics can and does save lives.  The issue is about knowing when doctors are needed, and when they are not, to avoid doing more harm than good.

Keep the Love Flowing this Valentine’s day: Plan a Natural Birth

February 12, 2013


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Valentine’s day.  A time for romantic love.  Just the two of you, together, with soft music on in the background, candle light, and a meal for two. It’s not a coincidence that Valentine’s day is associated with candle light, food, and calmness.  Romance, and all that lovey dove-iness is mediated by the love hormone, oxytocin.  Oxytocin is released when we kiss, cuddle, look into each other’s eyes, and even when we eat food together.  Oxytocin is a bonding hormone, it facilitates a sense of calm, peace, wellbeing, interconnectedness, love, trust and mutual dependence.  For more about this, see Kerstin Uvnas Moberg’s wonderfully easy to read and fascinating book, The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing.  Until very recently, the human race could not exist without oxytocin, because it is totally impossible to birth a baby and breastfeed without oxytocin. No mammal on this planet can have a baby without the help of oxytocin, unless she has a planned caesarean section.  Nowadays, Caesarean sections are a pretty common way to have a baby.  Each time a women has a caesarean section, her body has “skipped” the biological act of releasing abundant amounts of natural oxytocin into her brain and body.  The baby has missed it too.  Each time a women is given a drip of Syntocinon (the synthetic version of oxytocin) to induce or speed up her labour, her body is denied the chance to release abundant amounts of oxytocin into her system.  And the baby misses it too.  Each time a woman is given a Syntometrine injection to “help” the placenta out, her body’s natural release of oxytocin is interrupted.  The question is, what are the long term effects (or even, short term effects) of this dramatic, swift, and very recent biological change in the human race?

Nature didn’t overlook the fact that it is very important for a new mother to fall in love quite quickly with her baby, so birth and love become intertwined at birth, via oxytocin.  Maybe nature also takes into account, that if we flood a new-born baby’s body and brain with oxytocin, that baby becomes endowed with the building blocks to live a life of peace, calm, safeness, trust, interdependence, love and bonding.  Maybe, if we interfere with nature’s way,  and deny the baby this flow of oxytocin into the brain and body, we increase the cases of aggression, anxiety, autism, isolation (depression) and self harm (suicide) in our population.  Given the alarming increase in rates of mental health problems in childhood and rates of autism, this is an important question to answer.  A second issue is this: maybe, if we keep interfering with women’s natural release of oxytocin, then women will literally lose the genetic ability to release it naturally, quickly and easily, every time they go into labour or breastfeed.  Michel Odent, an eminent obstetrician and natural birth guru, believes we are seeing the effects of this already, by the fact that labours seem to be longer and more problematic now that they were fifty years ago.  With regards the effects of oxytocin on the baby, he has a whole online library of correlational evidence demonstrating a relationship between the behavioural problems outlined above, and the manner in which a child was born.  But no one is asking, except for him.  Somehow, the medical community just plows on, (lining drug companies pockets), by giving women syntocin or syntometrine or an epidural (which also interrupts her natural hormones) or a caesarean section without pausing to seriously question the long term consequences.  Last year, I heard a midwife try to persuade a mum to have syntocinon to speed up labour.  She said “it’s nothing to worry about, it’s just like a little bit of lucozade to re-energise you”.  I disagree.  We need to stop handing out these drugs as though they were sweets.  They are costing the NHS a fortune at the point of delivery (excuse the pun), and I dread to think what they are costing the NHS in the long run.

So, if you are planning a natural birth this Valentine season, don’t be dissuaded by people who think you are better off with an epidural or a caesarean section.  Keep the love flowing; plan a natural birth.

Addendum:  I would just like to say, that this blog is based on theory and statistics, and that means that research which shows a correlation between two things, does not mean these things apply to you, as an individual.  For example, research might show that “short people have more fun”.  But this is a huge generalisation, it does not mean that if you are tall, you won’t have fun, and it does not mean that if you are short, you will have fun.  It just means that out of a LOT of people, on AVERAGE, some had more fun. If you birthed without natural oxytocin, this does not tell us anything about your baby, your bonding and your child’s mental health.  Oxytocin is not just released via birth, it is released through skin to skin contact, holding, massaging, eye contact, and lots more.  If you did not have a natural birth, you will have bonded via other love producing means.  Humans and babies are very flexible and adaptable indeed.