Moms-to-be, here's why you should handpick your birth team and how
While doctors take care of your medical needs, having experts handle your emotional needs make a huge difference to the birthing process.
Birthing is a profound, lifetime experience, which involves much more than just pushing out your baby. Moms-to-be are going beyond the Western idea of treating giving birth as a purely medical event and considering hiring a complete birth team to treat it as a nourishing and holistic experience.
Here's how you can handpick your birth team to ensure the entire process and the first moments with your child are not just physically hassle-free, but emotionally nourishing and balanced.
1. Pick the right doc
Your OBGY (obstetrician-gynecologist) is the medical expert who will not just be guiding you through your pregnancy, but also likely to be making major decisions during the birthing process. Since this person is responsible for handling emergencies during pregnancy, birth and beyond, having a conversation about the atmosphere you prefer during birthing or values around birthing is critical. These doctors work at hospitals and have to comply with organization policies. Considering these factors ahead will ensure you start with the right doc from the first stage.
Most docs also work with other docs as a team. Find out if your doc does indeed rely on her or his team or swaps shifts often. If this is the case, he or she or not might be around as a consistent guide during your trimesters and it might be hard to form that personal rapport you wish to have with the expert guiding you through such a crucial time.
It is normal and healthy to consider the personality of the doctor before you zero in on your OBGY. If they can't wait to run the mandatory tests and check off items on their list or seem to find your questions or concerns silly, this is a red flag you shouldn't miss to note. At times, even if your personalities match, values around birthing might differ. When there is no emergency, you might prefer holding your baby right after birth or have a few moments together before the routine checks begin. Don't be afraid to ask for these details.
The Eastern practices are drastically different from the West. Read up and keep yourself updated so that you are the ultimate decision maker of how you welcome your baby into the world.
For example, most doctors clamp and cut the umbilical cord right after birth. However, recent research now agrees with folk wisdom from the East; waiting a few minutes will allow extra blood from the placenta to flow to the baby and, thus, lowers the risk of newborn anemia and iron deficiency in infancy.
A few questions that have become on the rise: Who will cut the umbilical cord and who will "catch the baby"? Your doc might be an adept expert, but might not be the warmest person to welcome the baby. You might want your partner to be the one to touch the baby first. Keep these questions in mind when you pick your doctor.
2. Opt for a midwife
A midwife is a practitioner who specializes in assisting mothers to give birth and view it as a normal physiological process. In many countries, it has now become mandatory for midwives to be a trained clinical practitioner. They often work at hospitals or birth centers, but many specialize in home births. Midwives don't practice surgery, but throughout history, there have been cases where midwives have intervened during emergencies and led to successful births. Most midwives are trained to do sutures, an order epidural, and other medications, and offer non-pharmaceutical pain relief options.
Midwives' services begin from the early days of pregnancy. They visit every few weeks to do routine checks, keep a tab on your baby's health and progress as well as yours. Although the scientific community remains skeptic about home births, many towns in other parts of the world have moms exercise perfect home births with the help of midwives. While this might seem hard for you to imagine, consider opting for a midwife through listed organizations to make the entire process more personal and natural and less medical and sterile.
Experts have now begun to acknowledge that women who are offered midwife services during the months leading to childbirth and at the moment of birth have better outcomes than those who were guided only by physicians.
The laws and requirements for midwifery licensing differ state-by-state. Also, if you wish to have your midwife and doctor be present, ensure your clinic policies allow this.
3. Consider a doula
A physician takes care of the medical needs and the midwife takes care of normalizing the whole process as a natural phenomenon through her consistent presence and guidance. Having a doula is like having a bestie take care of your emotional needs through your pregnancy and birth. In modern times, a doula is a non-clinal birth coach of sorts. Someone who is known to provide emotional support, advocacy, educational information, and encouragement to the mom-to-be.
In ancient cultures, the doula is a wise woman who knew what to say and do to make sure the mother felt nourished and loved at all times. She didn't just handle the emotional and spiritual needs of the mom, she was often adept in taking care of her health, much like the modern medical intuitive. Doulas offer their guidance and support not just to the mother, but also to the family so that they are all prepared and ready to welcome the child and support the mother with the best they can offer.
A common question mothers considering hiring the services of a doula have is whether a doula could or would replace the emotional support of a partner. The answer is NO. The doula offers her own emotional insights and guidance to the mom-to-be and also acts as her advocate to ensure that the family is meeting her needs in the way she wants it.
Your mood swings are seen by the doula natural and warranted. Modern doulas do everything from ensuring your baby shower is exactly the way you want it to reading out poems that she thinks you and your baby will love. As the mom's advocate, she ensures that you are an active decision-maker and participant during the birthing experience.
Hiring a doula seems like a luxury, but their need is real. Studies done by Cochrane reveal that having a doula as part of the birth team decreases overall cesarean rate by 50 percent, the length of labor by 25 percent, the use of oxytocin by 40 percent, and requests for an epidural by 60 percent.
Services of doulas come with different fees; there are also those who work free of cost for those in need. Doing some research will ensure you don't lose out on this amazing source of support due to costs. A few FSA programs include reimbursement for doulas.
4. Your emotional support team
Handpick people who you like to be in constant touch with. This could be your favorite cousin, your best friend, or a colleague who is also expecting and brimming with positivity. Choosing who you want to share your thoughts and feelings with and letting them know ahead that you would love to have them more present in your life will make a huge difference to how you experience your trimesters. Your partner and family play a huge role, but they also carry the additional concerns about your physical health, running the home and other practical responsibilities.
Widening your emotional support team beyond your immediate circle will make for an overall positive experience. This way, you and your mom-to-be colleague can exchange concerns, or you could call your married best friend without any guilt at 2 am in the night and have your favorite cousin pick up muffins or organic salad for you or vent your emotions without censoring yourself.
When you pick people for your emotional support team, ensure you choose those who know you at your best and thus will support you at your most vulnerable of moments with empathy and complete love.
If your hospital allows to have more than two people in the birthing room, pick someone from here that you know will make a difference at crucial moments.
Birthing is one of the most natural, yet profound, of human experiences. Reflecting on how you would like it to be and having those who comfort and support you can make the entire journey beautiful and worthwhile.
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