Monday, September 30, 2013

Birth Buffet

Recently, I heard someone talking about "methods" when it comes to childbirth education and they put Birth Boot Camp in that category.  It got me thinking...  Do we really teach our couples to do things a certain way at a certain time?  I thought about it for about 3 seconds before I answered NO!

I don't know about you, but when I think "method," you need to follow protocol.  What positions to be in at certain times, what to say and do during the pregnancy and labor, etc.  If you don't "succeed" is it because you didn't follow the "method" or because the "method" isn't what you needed or didn't work for you? I've heard many women say they "just didn't do it right".  Without getting into it, there are many methods out there.

I like to think of the Birth Boot Camp curriculum as a road map (with various roads leading to the same place) to help couples get an unmedicated birth. We do "train couples in natural birth" but it's not with a "method".  I have found over the years that there are some key aspects to getting a natural birth. You could be one of those women that are "lucky", but I don't recommend leaving it to chance.   I have a list of things that I think are important for couples to do. The order goes something like this:
1.  Education - Birth Boot Camp classes are amazing.  Just sayin. (Did you know we have a blog and online classes?!)
2.  Choosing - or sometimes changing to - a supportive care provider and/or birth place.  Learn the questions that really need to be asked, including the red flags not to be ignored.
3.  Communication between partners - on so many levels, this may be the most valuable thing you take away from classes.
4.  Practice and review the material - weekly assignments keep you on track and keep filing your tool box.
5.  Get your head in the game! OK, it's true, I LOVE High School Musical and I use that phrase as often as possible, but it's very applicable right here.

This looks different for each couple.  Everyone comes to class with their preconceived ideas of birth. Some have been educating themselves before they were pregnant and others have never given a thought to how the baby is going to get out, let alone birthing with a midwife or giving birth out-of-hospital.

So, call it whatever you want - a road map, a tool box.  We know that our couples are smart.  We will not tell you exactly what to do in labor.  There are just too many variations of labor to tell someone that they should do the same things as everyone else.  Work with your birth team.  You have so many tools to pull out because you have spent the last several weeks educating yourselves.

Yes, people talk about instinct when it comes to birth, but that can be overwhelming for some.  Some women find comfort in that belief and others do not feel in touch with their bodies to believe that they will really know what to do when it comes down to it.  This is one reason we feel so strongly that partners are educated too, really with the exact same 5 guidelines as mentioned above for moms.  Everyone is on the same page come birth-day.

The empowerment comes from making your own decisions, not when decisions are made for you!

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