The Natural Alignment Plateau phrase was first used by Marjie Hathaway, who is an independent childbirth educator and author of several books, as well as a practitioner trainer for the Bradley Childbirth Method. She highlighted that it is not uncommon for women to get to a point in their labour where their cervix stops dilating. This usually happens before transition, but it can happen at any time, but it doesn’t mean that the cervix is broken or has failed.
Your birth plan is more powerful than you know. A birth plan is not a legal document, but it can be used in a court of law to show how the woman expected to be treated and supported by her care providers during her labour and birth and immediate postpartum period. The birth plan shows that a woman has done her research and understands normal, physiological birth, interventions, risks and benefits and consent. A birth plan will ensure that the “wants and needs” of the mother are the most important part of her care rather than the “wants and needs” of her care providers.
The postpartum period in many cultures is about healing and adjusting to becoming a mother to a newborn baby. They recognise that a woman’s mind and body goes through a gruelling act of physical and emotional activity during labour and birth, therefore it is the “village” that takes care of the mother, feeding her, nurturing her and comforting her while she learns about herself and her baby. During this time of ‘confinement’ the woman is able to rest to replenish her energy, while being provided with foods for healing and milk production for breastfeeding and postpartum support. How can you help yourself or support a woman through her postpartum journey?
The curse of the due date and the eviction notice for your baby is clearly etched in every woman’s mind after she has confirmation of her pregnancy. She marks that date on the calendar with excitement and shares this with all her family and friends.
This is when her baby will come.
Then as the days grow into months, her belly getting bigger and more noticeable, her hormones raging and hospital visits increasing, her due date starts looming and then we see the infiltration of stress, anxiety and fear as her head is filled with comments about dead babies, the placenta failing, big baby, small pelvis, closed cervix, red hair, short height and time limits, staff shortages and the list of failures is endless.
Why are women no longer allowed to enjoy their pregnancy and positively anticipate a normal, physiological birth?
In Episode 13 I shared some information about medical pain relief options, so now as promised I want to also provide you with some natural methods of pain relief. It is important to recognise that all of these techniques may not make pain completely disappear, but they may be instrumental in helping you to cope through the intensity of your labour therefore providing good pain relief. What is painful for one woman, may not be for the next. We all have our own perceptions of pain and we are all different when it comes to what our thresholds are. Again, what works for one woman may be useless for you, so you need to just have a whole toolbox full of options that you can systematically work through. Make sure your birth team and partner know that they can utilise all these techniques as well to provide comfort and support to you during your labour and birth.
So this podcast is following on from my previous podcast on Protecting Your Rights as a Childbearing Woman. When women experience what they consider to be a bad, difficult, disappointing or traumatic birth it is important for them to be acknowledged and her feelings validated – because this just doesn’t go away and they can’t just “get over it” and move on. We know that the way a woman is treated during pregnancy, labour and birth can have a huge impact on her postpartum experience and so we have to protect the mother and her emotional health. A healthy mother makes a healthy baby.
This Episode is Part 1 of Protecting Your Rights.
Women need to know that they do have rights, they can refuse treatment without discrimination, shame or disrespect and healthcare providers need to support a woman’s choice whether they like it or not. Just because a woman is having a baby does not mean that she loses her voice, her rights to her body or her dignity, so this podcast is to educate you so you feel confident and aware of your rights as a childbearing woman in Australia.
One of the main fears women have about their labour and birth will be whether or not they will be able to cope with the intensity of pain. Here are some medical pain relief options for labouring women to give you a starting point of what is available, but also what you need to do more research on, so you understand all the risks and benefits.
Orgasms release copious amounts of oxytocin therefore I am a big advocate for female orgasms during labour when things start to slow down or stall. If it is a choice between synthetic oxytocin and real oxytocin, what would you rather have? Just put a sign on your door saying “Please keep out – orgasm in progress” which not only allows you time with your partner in a quiet, undisturbed environment at least for a short period, but also so you can achieve an orgasm if required.
One of the important physical aspects of the body during pregnancy is the pelvis. In this podcast I am going to introduce you to the bones, ligaments and common causes of pain in the pelvis during pregnancy. I will also offer suggestions on how you can ease pain in the pelvic area during pregnancy and prepare your body to be in optimum condition so your baby can get into optimum condition.
When we discuss the clitoris and the perineum – the holy grail of womanhood comes to mind. We know episiotomy can impact on the function and healing of these two sacred parts of the female anatomy, so it is important for women to be educated on what you can do during labour and birth to reduce or eliminate the risk of tearing and decline routine episiotomy.
Here is a short relaxation meditation to help you wind down from a busy or stressful day. This meditation is not pregnancy or birth specific so anyone can use it to help them to become more relaxed. Give yourself time to rest, rejuvenate and replenish your energy stores and focus on your mind, your body and your emotions. Do not listen to this meditation while driving or operating machinery. Just take some time out to nurture yourself.
Choosing a care provider for your birth can be a daunting task. Many women feel they are going to get a better birth by going with a private Obstetrician, but statistics show that women are more likely to have inductions, interventions or end up with a caesarean by going private, so it is important for you to have a list of questions to ask potential Obstetricians to notice any red flags or areas where your potential care provider may not be the right choice for you.
There are so many things to consider when you are planning your vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) and here are ten tips I put together to get you started, but you have to sit down and do your own mind-mapping to work out where you need more information, where you feel strong and confident and where you have mixed feelings and need to explore more.
We have so many childbirth education programs that educate and prepare women for pregnancy, labour and birth, but not too many include what happens immediately after birth, and what women should be aware of, so they don’t feel so anxious or stressed if these things do occur.
A birth plan will ensure the wants and needs of the mother are at the forefront of her care - rather than the wants and needs of her care providers. Having a birth plan doesn't mean that you can't change your mind at any time. A birth plan sets a platform for discussion, informed consent and trust with your care providers. This podcast will give you some ideas of why you need a birth plan.
There are still a lot of myths and fears surrounding pregnancy massage.
Finding out you are pregnant is such an exciting time, however sometimes first-time mums are oblivious to the stress-producing changes that their bodies are about to experience.
Some of the consequences of these changes can leave a woman feeling sore, tired, emotional and uncomfortable.
Every pregnant woman deserves some pampering and massage is a wonderful way to reduce stress, promote general wellbeing and relaxation, prepare muscles and joints for childbirth while at the same time providing so many other therapeutic benefits.
Massage is therefore a great way to relieve discomfort and help your body adjust to the growing baby inside you.
Sometimes I notice women chatting on social media about having read a book on hypnobirthing but it didn't really work for them. Other times couples think that hypnobirthing looks like it will be a bit too woowoo or way too alternative for them.
Many of my past clients say that we should change the name "hypnobirthing" as it conjures up images of people doing silly things like clucking like a chicken on stage and the name gives the wrong impression of what hypnobirthing is.
In this episode I talk about why it is important to not just read a book, but attend the classes with a qualified Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner and the reasons why - because hypnobirthing is so much more than just reading a book or being hypnotised.