Having a voice is important.
Having a voice during your labor and for your child is even more important.
I recently had a friend tell me that for her first birth she didn't realize she had a say or all of these options. She just assumed you followed the doctor's orders and things that many think of as "routine" were just that, routine. This stunned me because it made me wonder just how many other women think childbirth is just a routine where we listen to the doctor without understanding the risks, the options and the reasons.
Childbirth is different for each and every person in terms of the way it starts, the way we labor and the way we deliver. Even the minutes following the birth of a child can be vastly different among us all. Things like inductions and c sections are becoming increasingly more common and are starting to seem like the "norm" for so many. I actually find it odd when after having a baby, many people will ask,
"Did you have a section?"
Like, why is that such a popular question? Shouldn't we just assume that all women have vaginal births because that's what is common and natural? But we don't. We know as Americans that sections are increasingly popular so we actually feel compelled to ask a new mother how she birthed. And yes, I've been asked this question quite a few times from people that don't know me.
Below are just a few important ways that YOU DO have a VOICE.
1. Your baby chooses their own birthday.
Inductions are becoming so normal that it's actually scary. Just because your last ultrasound showed a larger baby does not really mean anything. Just because you're approaching 40 weeks means nothing.
Due dates are just an estimation
and you can carry up until 42 weeks with no risk.
Be a voice for your baby and let them choose their birthday unless absolutely medically necessary.
2. You choose how you labor and deliver.
Epidurals aren't standard, they are by choice. Women once gave birth without drugs and still can. Don't let the common choice for an epi scare you out of trying to birth naturally. Then again, you have the choice to not feel pain and get an epi. You have a choice to birth at home or in a hospital. You have the choice to labor in the tub the whole time or even just before you get an epi. You have the choice to walk around. You have the voice to deliver standing up.
You are in charge!
Isn't that nice to know?
3. Be knowledgeable.
Read up on c sections and common reasons for them and make sure you're prepared to fight your doctor if you don't feel their request for a section is valid enough. Yet, be prepared for any emergency that is indeed a true emergency where you ignore your dream birth plan and realize things happen. Just make sure that "thing" is evidence based and a true thing.
4. Know the options.
Did you know that your baby can be placed straight onto your skin immediately after being pulled out of the birth canal? Did you know how important
contact is? You can request skin to skin, immediate breastfeeding and delayed cord clamping among many other things. You have the voice to say no to visitors, no to an immediate bath and no to pretty much anything. Don't want that gunk on their eyes after birth? Guess what, you can deny that too.
It's your baby...your voice.
There's numerous reasons to do all of the things mentioned here and even if it's not for you, it's worth researching some to understand more about it.
While childbirth is a natural event that has been taking place for centuries, it's good to read up on all of your options and it is good to be prepared. After all, it's your body and your baby that this affects and we all just want to have the best experience we can.