Swimming Between the Flags Choosing your Caregivers for Birth

hypnobirthing australiaIn my classes, I describe our caregivers (midwives, doctors, obstetricians etc.) like the life-guards at the beach. When we swim at the beach, we choose to swim between the flags – because we know that should we get into difficulty, the life-guards are there to assist us.

Of course, we don’t enter the water expecting to need assistance. We enter the water with positive anticipation and look forward to enjoying the experience of working with the currents of the ocean. However, if we were to need assistance, that is when we would expect the life-guards to come to our aid. Our midwives and/or obstetricians/doctors are there to watch over us, and to come to our assistance should there be any special circumstances. A good caregiver is happy to stand aside during our labour and birthing – and only intervene if necessary. Birthing our babies is a very private and intimate time in our lives. It is not a time when we want to be thinking analytically, asking or answering questions, or being moved around. We use a primal part of our brain when birthing – and so we need to be left undisturbed. As an extreme example: if you would be comfortable making love in a room under bright fluorescent lights, with a bunch of strangers standing around you telling you what to do, then you might be able to birth that way too! So the caregiver that we choose to attend our birth can make a very big difference to our experience. I suggest that you ‘interview’ your caregivers to ensure that they are supportive of the type of birth that you want. Perhaps you could ask some questions such as:

  • “Are you supportive of natural birth?”
  • “What is your/the hospital’s caesarean rate?”
  • “What are your guidelines for induction? If I were to go to 42 weeks – would this be an issue for you?”
  • “What is your rate of episiotomy?”
  • “Do you work on a rota-system with other midwives/obstetricians? What if you are not available for the birth – who would attend my birth in your absence? Are they supportive of natural birth?”

We have several options for maternity care within Australia. We have many Birth Centres available (midwife run – remember that midwives are the experts in natural birth); we have hospital maternity wards; we have public or private care; we have the option of birthing at home with a registered midwife. When my husband and I ‘interviewed’ our caregiver (obstetrician) for our second birth – this is what we said to him… “We want to pay you to do nothing.” He rocked back in his chair, held his belly and started chuckling. He said, “Nobody has ever said that to me before!” We explained further… “We are preparing ourselves for a natural birth (using hypnobirthing) – and are anticipating a calm and beautiful birth. We want to assure you that if there were to be any special circumstances, we appreciate your expertise and are willing to deviate from our birthing preferences, as we want what is safest for mother and baby. However, we don’t expect to need your services (said with a smile). Are you comfortable standing to the side and just watching over us as we allow our birthing to unfold naturally?” It was a successful interview. He got the job. And we got our calm, beautiful, uninterrupted natural birth with the security of knowing that we were swimming between the flags.  :-D Melissa Melissa Spilsted CHt BEd BA HPCE Director – Hypnobirthing Australia W: https://hypnobirthingaustralia.com.au/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hypnobirthingaustralia Twitter: http://twitter.com/hypnobirth1 The natural approach to a calm & positive birth

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