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Thoughts on Natural Birth
Go to Water Birth Pools to find online suppliers of water pools for home births, these can be bought outright or rented.
Child Birth is one of life's most intense experiences; the quality of the birth can have far reaching effects for both mother and child. More and more women are opting to take a more natural approach to the birth of their children and there are several options available.
"One can explain how birth, once the province of midwives for the bulk of the population, became the domain of medical doctors who, for geographical and socioeconomic reasons, funnelled healthy mothers into hospitals. These low risk mothers, removed from safe, familiar environments and from attendants who understood and supported the normalcy of childbearing, began to replace age old strategies for coping and comfort with fear and uncertainty. With this fear came increased pain and discomfort, leading doctors to begin to administer anaesthetics and analgesics”. Shelly Girard B.S., L.M.T., L.M., C.P.M., M.P.H. Link to full article at the bottom of the page.
Up until the 1960"s, home births were common, these days less than 10% of women opt for home births in the UK, and in some parts of the country as little as 1% of women give birth at home. In many countries the rates are much higher, in Holland for example, 33% of women have their babies at home with a midwife as their only care-giver. With most women giving birth in hospitals, unnecessary medical intervention is common.
Increasing numbers of mothers are now demanding a natural childbirth, in some areas, GPs can be resistant although on the whole, midwives are very supportive of home births. Home births allow for the highest level of privacy and you can control every aspect of your environment to make yourself as comfortable as possible. It is important to remain flexible, as there is always the possibility that you may need to be transferred to hospital, but in most cases this is not necessary.
“The NHS wants to promote home births. Many midwives, including myself, believe it is the best thing for the mother and child”. Senior NHS Midwife
http://www.homebirth.org.uk/ is a useful resource for mums to be considering a home birth.
Natural Birthing Centres
Other women opt for a natural birth in a birthing centre, these can either be private or run as a separate unit within NHS hospitals. Birth centres provide a relaxed environment where birth is treated as a natural process rather than a medical procedure. The atmosphere tends to be friendly, informal and unhurried as opposed to the very clinical, rushed atmosphere of hospitals. The basic principle of natural birthing centres is that women are aiming for a completely natural birth, with no electronic monitoring (CTGs), drugs for pain, epidurals, inductions or ARMs. Natural pain relief is offerred in the form of baths and showers, hypnosis and other complementary therapies. Complete freedom of movement is given and most centres offer a private room with your own bathroom.
Family, friends and birth companions are welcomed and some centres provide overnight accommodation for family members. Midwives staffing such centres will be committed to the ability of most women to handle birth in a natural way without medical intervention. Water births are often an option.
Neither home births nor birthing centres are suitable for all women, you will only be accepted if there is a high chance of a normal delivery, for example if you have high blood pressure, are expecting twins or the baby has know problems, a hospital birth will be advised. Birthing centres are not available in all areas.
Midwives are of course trained to deal with emergency situations, but if complications arise during labour, you would be transferred to hospital by ambulance with your midwife.
"Midwives who work in birth centres, and who run these centres themselves, have a completely different birth philosophy to midwives who are stuck with a shift system, in large teams that are part of a rigid hospital hierarchy. They know how to keep birth normal. That is the most important thing". Sheila Kitzinger author of "Birth your way: choosing birth at home or in a birth centre".
Postnatal care is excellent in birthing centres and studies have shown that women have far less problems with breastfeeding both in the short and long term.
The HypnoBirthing® method is a philosophy of birth and helps to achieve a stress-free labour. HypnoBirthing teaches you how to call on your body’s own pain relieving abilities. The method is based upon the techniques of a pioneer in the field of natural birth - Dr Grantly Dick-Read. It is used widely in the USA and there are a growing number of practitioners in the UK.
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