These days birth seems to be feared by so many health professionals. Often the focus is on all the things that can go wrong or could go wrong. There are tests on tests on scans on tests.
Women have been having babies for millions of years! And for the most part without medical intervention. Yes there are the times when things don’t go to plan but lets not focus all our attention on this, rather we should be supporting our mothers to have empowered and supported pregnancies and births.
The birth of a baby is not just a birth, it is the transition to womanhood for the mum, it is such a pivotal point in a females life and it should be carefully planned and supported. This is where the support of a Doula really comes into play.
Every woman is going to have their on comfort zone for what tests, scans and appointments they need to feel comfortable with their pregnancy and the health of their baby. A doula can hep you navigate this complex system to talk you through what each test is looking for and what the outcomes can mean. For example many women go along to their 12 week scan without even knowing what the purpose is of that scan. The 12 week scan is the nuchal translucency scan, which is also followed up with a blood test. Both of these tests are looking for the probability of having a baby with Downs Syndrome. So for some this is a welcome scan to see their baby and they are not bothered by the outcome, for others they have decided that if they were to be carrying a baby with Downs then they would terminate the pregnancy. There is no right or wrong, but often women are not even aware that this scans sole purpose is to see if the baby has Downs.
There is more and more testing in pregnancy now too, GTT blood glucose testing is now done earlier than ever before and then often it is repeated over and over. There is swabs take for Group B Strep now in pregnancy even though if this tests positive at 38 weeks there is no guarantee that it will still be present at the birth, as it is so transient. Although the hospital will still encourage antibiotics to be given in labour if there has been a positive test.
Often what the information women are given is not backed by evidence or even best practice, even common sense some times.
We need to get back to trusting birth, trusting the process and trusting our intuition. We sit here in 2018 with most babies born in a hospital, in first world countries, and yet our outcomes are worse than ever before. C sections are as high as 70% of all births in some hospitals and women are often left feeling dis empowered and disconnected from their births.
As a doula it is my job to hold space for the Mum and to support the Dad to achieve a birth that they are proud of! A birth that empowers them and aligns with their values. This does not always mean we get exactly what we set out for in the beginning, as sometimes the plan has to change, but at all times the Mum and Dad are informed and empowered to take the time to make decisions that work for them.
There is noting to fear in birth, the body has such an amazing intricate hormone system that supports the body to birth with ease. Then main job of the Mum is to manage her thoughts and not let them get away on her. This can be easily mastered with some preparations and practice before birth.
I really hope that all women that are pregnancy take the time to find a doula to support them on their journey.