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Informed Birth is Empowered Birth

Welcome to the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival
This post is part of the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey. For this special event the carnival participants have shared their perspective on Empowered Birth. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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After the birth of my first daughter, I knew things would be different the second time around.We were living in a different city at the time, and I knew what I did not want out of my second birthing experience.

At my 20 week appointment with the midwife in the hospital, she told me that they were going to schedule me for a cesarean at 38 weeks. The reason – macrosomia with my first and shoulder dystocia. I didn’t bother explaining to her that that was so far from what I wanted. I left feeling quite anxious, but I never returned to that office. Here we are in this new city with a toddler and one on the way. What were we going to do! I went home and searched online “switching midwives” that search term brought me to homebirth midwives.

From that point on, I decided to take control and read as much as I could. I became informed, and it felt so good.
I learned that birthing in a squatting, or hands and knees position can open your pelvis up to 30% more. I learned that there were childbirth classes other than Lamaze. I learned about birth affirmations, and I learned how strong the mind/body connection is.

Too many times we women will put our pregnancy and birth in the hands of the professionals. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust your care provider, but I don’t think it’s right to place them in full control. I think it would be better to look at it as a partnership. There is nothing wrong with questioning your OB or Midwife.

With my first I went along with what my friends were doing. I didn’t bother looking into other options because I didn’t think there were any.
This isn’t about home vs hospital birth. I believe women can have an empowered birth experience anywhere –  home, hospital, birth center.
We need to know what we want and don’t want. We need to learn as much as we can about pregnancy and birth.
Doing some research before becoming pregnant is a wonderful thing.I wish I had done that, and I know that more women are doing that these days.

I was on Twitter the other day talking with a friend. She asked me if I was still thinking about becoming a midwife. I told her yes – but it was a matter of when would be the right time. Her response was “before I have children”
I told her how great it was that she was looking into all of her options before pregnancy. She said after seeing all that she did working as a STNA(state tested nursing assistant) in the hospital, her experiences swayed her to go the natural route.

It’s so easy to access information these days –  you can hop online pretty much anywhere. I think the best way to be informed is to seek out all different types of women if you can, to talk about their birth experience(s).
I’m not talking scare tactic stories either, but a real mama village. Women who will support you and cheer you on throughout your pregnancy and birth.

You may be wondering what types of things you need to be informed about – Everything! Here’s a list to get you started.

Policy and Procedures for the place you’ve chosen to give birth

Childbirth classes

Doula

Your Midwife or OB’s Cesarean rate

If your planning a Homebirth – you want to know the transfer rate – also can your midwife carry drugs with her. They can’t in certain states.

Medications: pitocin, cytotec, epidural to name a few

Gestational Diabetes

Questions to ask your chosen care provider

Interventions and the snowball effect they can have on birth. Also the benefits of interventions in certain situations

Antepartum and Post-partum Depression

What kind of Postpartum care will be provided

You can read more on Informed Decision Making at Childbirth Connection.

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Women are strong, and we need to take responsibility for our own births. We research what kinds of cloth diapers were going to use for the baby, do we co-sleep or not? Where should I register? Baby names, baby furniture, the list goes on and on.

We need to take all of that energy and put it into gaining all that we can on pregnancy and birth.
I know I have felt a certain level of calm during my last two pregnancies and births. It was because I had informed myself, and I created a village. If you can, ask your Grandmother, or Great Grandmother about her births. We learn so much by simply sharing with others our joys and fears, and also by listening to others tell their stories.

It’s time to stop treating pregnancy and birth as a serious medical condition. It’s normal and natural. Birth is beautiful, and it is truly a life changing experience. The way we birth impacts us in ways we often can’t begin to imagine. The birth of your children is something you will carry with you for life.

When you do your own research and go with what works best for you, you’ll feel like a mama bear. For me it felt like I was in on something that my ancestors knew. I feel like I belong to this amazing tribe of women from all over the world.

I’ve gone on long enough…what are some other things women need to know to have an empowered birth?



The Empowered Birth Blog Carnival was lovingly hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey

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We invite you to sit, relax and take time to read the excellent and empowering posts by the other carnival participants:

Empowered Birthing – Amy at Anktangle shares a simple list of things that support an empowered birth experience.

Little Miss Green’s Home, Water Birth Story – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her (home, water) birth story. Even though it happened 10 years ago, the empowering feelings are the same to this day (and yep, it STILL makes her cry!). This post is also a tribute to her husband who was there mind, body and soul throughout.

Save Birth, Change The World – Toni Harman, mum and film-maker talks about the highs and lows of creating the ONE WORLD BIRTH film project dedicated to helping more women around the world have empowered births.

12 Steps to an Empowered Natural Birth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle wants to talk to all pregnant women and tell them YES they can have an Empowered Birth! This is her personal 12 step guide.

The Blessingway: a sacred blessing for birth – The Blessingway is a sacred ceremonial circle of women gathered with the intention of blessing and preparing a pregnant woman and her child to give birth. Betsy Dewey describes the beauty and the how-to of a modern Blessingway.

Informed Birth is Empowered Birth – Darcel at The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe tells us why it’s important to take control and be responsible for our own births. She says Informed Birth is Empowered Birth.

Empowering Birth in the Trenches – Over at Belly Tales enjoys the Midwife explores what empowered birth looks like in an urban hospital with a vulnerable population.

An Empowered First Birth – Zoie at TouchstoneZ follows the path she took to her first homebirth and finds she may not have been started out the best candidate for an empowered birth.

And this one to be published on Sept 12th :
Empowered Birth: From the Personal to the Universal – Zoie at TouchstoneZ questions the criteria for what makes an empowered birth and finds she has to let them all go.

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12 thoughts on “Informed Birth is Empowered Birth

  1. I absolutely agree that it is up to women to research everything they can about birth. Making an informed decision will go a long way towards creating the birth they want. And, as you point out, it doesn’t mean they have a homebirth. It means whatever situation they birth in, they are making an informed, empowered birth decision.

  2. Pingback: An Empowered First Birth « TouchstoneZ

  3. Pingback: Empowered Birth: From the Personal to the Universal « TouchstoneZ

  4. Pingback: Gratitude Post 6 – A week in my world - Child of the Nature Isle

  5. I’m expecting my first baby on Christmas Eve. Being pregnant has been an eye opening experience.I had to leave the hospital I was at to switch to a birthing center.
    I found the hospital experience depressing and bullying. The birthing center I’m at
    is more natural and relaxed place. I feel I’m being talked to as person not talked down to.
    The way birth is handled in this country I feel has become cold and mechanical. It is
    a natural part of life and should be treated as such. Women need to take control.
    This is our pregnancies and our babies!

    • I am glad you had the courage to switch providers. many women don’t. They think they have to put up with being treated as just another patient. I am so glad you are happier with the Birth center. I hope you’ll come back and share your birth story with us. Also wishing you and your baby a safe sail through the rest of your pregnancy.

  6. Pingback: Save Birth, Change The World | One World Birth

  7. It’s great to read of your journey to being informed and empowered – I agree with you so much. We as women need to be self-educated on pregnancy and birth so we can have reasonable conversations with our care providers and not be bullied. My Ob/Gyn for my first pregnancy tried all manner of scare stories on me that I am sure would have terrified other women who did not check up on the facts!

    I’m glad you mentioned that ‘This isn’t about home vs hospital birth. I believe women can have an empowered birth experience anywhere – home, hospital, birth center.’ It’s so true and I wrote about that in my post too – I did enjoy my home birth more but my hospital birth was incredibly empowered too!

    And like you, by researching and finding out as much information as I could I felt “like I belong to this amazing tribe of women from all over the world.”

    You are a great voice for empowered, natural birth.

    The steps I took for an empowered birth are included in my post for the carnival.

    Onelove

  8. Pingback: 12 Steps to an Empowered Natural Birth. - Child of the Nature Isle

  9. Thankyou Darcel! It simply amazes me how those of us who found our way to empowered natural birth are so connected by our thoughts and feelings on the matter. We LOVE it! And we want it so badly for all of our sisters. I feel so strongly about it that I had to write the book! My new book, BIRTHRIGHT http://betsydewey.com/birthright-the-book/ educates women about the choices we can make about the birth we want to have! Thank you for your powerful post which adds so much to our empowered birth blog carnival. Love to you and yours, Betsy.

  10. Awesome! In the hospital, I witness too many “trusting” their provider simply because they don’t know any better. Women need to inform themselves and be accountable. It truly needs to be a partnership with one’s provider….and not a dictatorship!

  11. wonderful post with such comprehensive information. I love how you decided to take full control second time round and your friends comment about you becoming a midwife before she had kids was fantastic :D I guess other things to add to the list are to really figure out who you would like at the birth and to explore whether or not you want the tests done during pregnancy. For instance I refused them all apart from iron levels but other women find a lot of comfort in the constant pregnancy care and checks. Over here in the UK we need to decide on whether or not to have vitamin K shots the moment the baby is born too which is something to consider for parents who prefer not to vax. Also, explore which natural methods of pain relief are available – some hospitals over here have birthing pools or TENS machines or allow music and candles; it’s good to see what options are available…

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