How to Advocate for Yourself in the Delivery Room

https://parenting.nytimes.com/pregnancy/birth-advocate

Giving birth draws you deep into your body, yet you’ll depend on others to get through it. Whether you have a brief labor eased by an epidural, deliver on all fours in your own living room or have an unplanned C-section, what matters most is how you are cared for and if you are listened to by your providers. The best way to advocate for yourself in the delivery room is to begin the process well before your swollen feet ever step into the space itself.

It is possible to get compassionate, respectful care from many kinds of providers — midwives, obstetricians, family physicians and nurses — and in settings including hospitals, birth centers and your home. But, according to a recent international survey, up to one third of women experience some trauma during birth, which means that at some point during labor, they felt that their emotional well-being or even their — or their babies’ — lives were under threat. And according to the latest Listening to Mothers report, one in four American women who underwent either labor induction or a C-section reported experiencing pressure from a health professional to do so.

(Click to read this great piece by Angela Garbes on nytimes.com)

Sent Home From Labor & Delivery For “False Labor,” & Other Ways We Gaslight Women

https://www.romper.com/p/sent-home-from-labor-delivery-for-false-labor-other-ways-we-gaslight-women-

Laboring with my first daughter was not easy. After being sent home from labor and delivery for following my doctor’s advice (given as he boarded a flight to Aruba) to “go straight to labor and delivery” because my contractions were regular, things ramped up again and so I headed back to the hospital… and was sent home from the hospital, again, at midnight. This time I was bleeding, weeping and yelling through contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart, but was turned out because I hadn’t hit the magic 4 centimeters of dilatation. “If we admit you now, your chances of having a c-section will double,” the triage doctor informed me. Perhaps I imagined it, but I could swear the nurses smirked each time they informed me that this was my first labor, it could go on for days.

I hobbled away with a bath towel between my legs, enraged. My cervix might have failed to fulfill the textbook definition of active labor, but I was certain that my baby was coming. Sure enough, I was back four hours later, and by the time I got the epidural I’d been demanding for hours, I was close to eight centimeters; it was almost too late.

(click link at top to read the rest of the blog on romper.com)

Using Sports Psychology for Childbirth

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/well/family/using-sports-psychology-for-childbirth.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_hh_20190116&nl=well&nl_art=12&nlid=59957724emc%3Dedit_hh_20190116&ref=headline&te=1

Any woman who has ever carried and birthed a child, in whatever fashion, deserves her own ESPN highlight reel — blood, sweat, tears and the eventual triumph of holding her newborn baby. To be clear, childbirth isn’t a game. You can’t plead with the referee when you don’t like a call or leave the field when you’re tired. 

Still, as a lifelong athlete, I saw childbirth, especially an unmedicated one, as the ultimate challenge of physical endurance, mental stamina and my ability to handle pain.

When I became pregnant in January 2018 and set about preparing for the monumental task of birthing a human, I loaded up on prenatal vitamins, kept a daily routine of birthing stretches and exercises, and endured an eight-week birthing course. An image of the lead female competitors in the New York City Marathon, who bring me to tears when they run past my Brooklyn apartment each year, filled me with confidence for labor. Washboard-like abs. Lean legs showing off every strand of muscle. Calm, focused and confident expressions on their faces.

However, as my due date came near, I clung to a fear of pain and the unknowns out of my control. How long would my labor be? Would my mind fall apart? What if my pelvis wasn’t the optimal shape or I stopped dilating?

(Click to read on NYTimes.com)

This Midwife Is Fighting to Make Vaginal Breech Births a Thing Again

https://www.healthline.com/health/betty-ann-daviss-midwife-breech-births

Betty-Anne Daviss travels the world training healthcare providers in vaginal breech birth, which often isn’t attempted when a baby is breech, or feetfirst.

In the 40 years since she attended her first birth in Central America, Daviss has traveled all over the world — from the Northwest Territories in Canada to Germany to Afghanistan — to study, among other things, childbearing practices.

Aside from her unique journey to becoming a midwife, what sets Daviss apart from many other healthcare providers who specialize in childbirth is her expertise in vaginal breech birth. That means delivering a baby that’s feet- or bottom-first instead of headfirst vaginally instead of by cesarean delivery, commonly known as C-section.

In fact, Daviss has made it her mission to mainstream vaginal breech birth again

In some ways, Daviss, who also teaches in the women and gender studies department at the University of Carleton in Ottawa, might be considered a bit of a radical.

Last year, she helped publish a study that found there were significant benefits to a woman giving birth to a breech baby in an upright position — kneeling, on hands and knees, or standing —compared to lying on her back.

“We know now from the studies we’ve done that the pelvis is dynamic, and the baby winds its way through as the pelvis changes shape. How is it that we ended up with women flat on their backs and people actually thinking that was normal?” Daviss muses. “That’s totally an abnormal way to have a baby.”

(click link at top to read more about Daviss and breech births on healthline.com)

15 Signs That It’s Time to Fire Your OB, Now! | Mother Rising

https://www.motherrisingbirth.com/2018/10/fire-your-ob

OBs play very influential roles in women’s lives during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.  Having the right or wrong person at your birth can make or break your vagina.  Literally.  Unfortunately, sometimes the doctor or midwife a woman chooses in the first trimester turns out not to be such a great fit as pregnancy progresses.  But how should you know when it’s time to fire your OB or midwife?  Glad you asked.

(Click link at top to read on Mother Rising blog)

Labor Day: We Asked a Midwife What to Expect

https://goop.com/work/parenthood/labor-day-we-asked-a-midwife-what-to-expect/

If there’s one thing the experts agree is guaranteed about pregnancy and birth, it is that “it will likely be very different from whatever you might be imagining.” This is Julia Bower, a CNM (certified nurse midwife) in Austin, Texas. Bower has delivered over 800 babies in her over her twenty-plus-year career. In case you are unfamiliar, certified nurse midwives like Bower are health care professionals who have a graduate degree in midwifery and have passed a certifying exam. Certified nurse midwives (as well as certified professional midwives, though they don’t necessarily have a degree) are licensed by their state* to provide much of the same care as ob-gyns and are experts in low-risk births.

We asked Bower to give us her unfiltered play-by-play of childbirth.

(click to read on goop.com)

A Doula’s Call For A ‘Culture Of Consent’ During Childbirth

http://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/05/11/doula-culture-of-consent

I gave birth seven years ago in a Boston-area hospital where I generally consider the care to be excellent. I arrived near the end of my labor, my cervix almost fully  dilated. After an hour of moving freely around my hospital room, my midwife and labor nurse said, “It’s time for you to get into bed now.” And then they said, “Let’s have you get onto your back.”

Even though I had read the medical research that found that lying supine carries risks to a fetus — which is why pregnant women are advised not to sleep on their backs — I behaved like any woman in the suggestible state of labor: I did what I was told, though it went against my instincts and my preference.

(click link at top to read the blog post on wbur.org)