Numerous studies have shown that it makes a big difference to the laboring woman whether she has supportive birth attendants or not. For example, continuous support throughout labor greatly decreases the chance of a C-Section. However, most women don’t actually choose their birth attendants.
They may choose the doctor that will catch the baby, but the doctor normally doesn’t show up until you’re ready to give birth. In the meantime, the laboring woman is being cared for by a rotating staff of nurses. If you’re lucky, they’re supportive of what you want. If not, then your birth won’t be as rewarding as it could have been.
It’s time for women to choose their birth attendants. That doesn’t mean that you have to give birth at home, especially if you need the assistance of a doctor. You can still invite supportive people to your birth who can remain with you at all times, whether that’s a doula, the father, or a close friend of yours. But it’s important for them to know what you want ahead of time, so they can help you get it.
Of course, it’s easier to have the kind of birth you want when you change the provider, the location, or both. Midwives tend to be more supportive of natural births, especially the ones that work at a birth center or at homebirths. However, even if you have to choose a hospital birth for whatever reason, you can still be in charge of your birth. You just have to work a little harder for it.
Of course, you don’t have to have any birth attendants at all if you don’t want to. You can give birth at home, unassisted. There is no need for medical intervention in most natural births. That’s why a growing number of women choose to give birth that way. Of course, a lot of them still have supportive birth attendants, usually their partners or other family members. Just because they don’t hold a medical degree or certificate of some kind doesn’t mean they make bad birth attendants.
Who would you want to attend your birth? Who has attended your birth in the past? Were you happy with that arrangement?
When women plan their homebirth, they often end up getting a supply kit of some kind or another. When they don’t find a kit, they’ll usually use someone else’s recommendations of what will be needed at the birth. You can keep it simple, or you can make it really complicated when it comes to homebirth supplies. However, you should remember this:
Nothing is mandatory.
The only thing that is truly necessary for a successful homebirth is a woman in labor. Of course, your chances of a happy outcome are greatly increased when the mother is very healthy and has faith in her body and the birthing process. And while a little extra knowledge won’t hurt, it’s not technically needed.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have a few supplies on hand. You might want to have one or more of the following things on hand:
- plenty of towels
- an old blanket or tarp to cover up the floor
- old sheets
- sterilized scissors or knife
- suction bulb (just in case)
- clamp or sterilized shoe string (to tie off the cord)
- baby thermometer
- Peri bottle
- tape measure
- large trash bag
When you look at this list, it might seem huge. But technically, you probably already have most of these items anyway, especially extra sheets, scissors, and some shoe string. For the things you don’t have, you just need to think about their uses. For example, a Peri bottle is just a squirt bottle that will help relieve some pain while you’re on the toilet. And while you may not have an infant scale, there are other ways to weigh a baby. Plus, weighing your baby is certainly not the first priority during a homebirth, anyway.
What supplies did you find useful during your homebirth, and which ones did you not need? If you haven’t given birth yet, will you feel better prepared the more items you have on hand for the birth?
One thing that doesn’t show up on my list are herbal remedies for possible problems. For example, many homebirth kits will include herbal remedies for postpartum hemorrhage. It’s totally up to you whether you want to have something like that available or not.
As controversial as it is to give birth unassisted, I suggest that we all make our peace with it. After all, unassisted childbirth is here to stay. In poor and developing countries, there are no other options. But even in the “civilized” world, more women are choosing to give birth this way. Either they can’t give birth at home any other way, or they are very disappointed with the medical world.
Regardless of the reasons why women give birth unassisted, we need to allow them to make their own choices. They will be responsible for the health and well-being of their child from the time he is born until the time he grows up and moves out. Why is the act of giving birth any different?
Most women who give birth unassisted are not ignorant. On the contrary, they make an informed decision to give birth the way they want to. They know more about the what-if scenarios than many mothers who give birth in a hospital. And they’re prepared to take action.
Additionally, giving birth is a natural act. It’s safe. Yes, women and babies can die. But the majority of them don’t, because giving birth is something your body is naturally capable of doing. Even though hospitals, doctors, and midwives love to be prepared for eventualities, they know that most births end well.
If we don’t let women give birth the way they want to, because we find it risky for the child, then technically we have to restrict women’s other rights as well. For example, you need to monitor their diets and lifestyles to make sure they’re doing what’s right for the baby during their pregnancy. And later, you have to interfere with their parenting style whenever they mess up.
That’s not really realistic. And it’s also not realistic to tell someone how to give birth. And since women should be able to make this choice for themselves, maybe we should accept their choice, whether it’s a scheduled C-section or an unassisted childbirth. That doesn’t mean you have to make the same choice for yourself now or in the future.
Blogging is popular. In fact, it’s an easy way for wanna-be authors to get published. But still, I don’t think there can be too many blogs. Each blog is unique, and most people write about what moves them.
My current obsession is birth, specifically unassisted childbirth. That’s what this blog is going to be all about. Hopefully, it will be useful to you.