I was at a party a few months ago, showing a friend some pictures I took at a birth. Someone from across the room noticed, and exclaimed.... "WAIT, is THAT woman standing? and pushing her baby out?!"
"Ya totally, we see it all the time"
She said - " I had no idea that there were options other than laying on your back!"
We continued the conversation, she was shook! She kept saying that she felt like school, and society had failed her! Why don't more people talk about this? Why don't my friends and I know this? I've never seen this before!!
Sarah and I talk in great depth about HOW do we reach people BEFORE they get pregnant. That is where this knowledge, this intuition and learning needs to begin. We've lost birth. We've lost the knowledge from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and neighbours. Birth was taken from us, medicalized, and we've lost our way. We want to get it back, and today we're talking about just that. Birthing on your back.
Caveat; the best position for you to birth your baby is where you are the most comfortable. Where YOU want to be! If that is on your back, that is totally wonderful! We see that often as well, and it's absolutely a valid choice.
Choice is what we're talking about here. The fact that we need to instruct our clients who are in OB care to have a discussion about the pushing positions their care provider is comfortable with, is actually RIDICULOUS. Pushing on your back in stirrups is based on convenience for the people catching the baby. Especially if you are unmedicated, movement, FREEDOM of motion is key in birth outcomes!
Pushing on your back reduces your pelvic space by 30%. You should be encouraged to change positions, to move, to try other things if you've been pushing for a long time in that position. But that is not the reality. We see so often than once someone is in the bed, and on their back, they stay there. We recently had a new client tell us they were in the bed their whole birth.
OF course you don't feel comfortable in the hospital room. It's not your home, its a foreign place, where you don't know what the sounds are, what the buttons are. We're not lead to make ourselves at home. Thats one of the huge benefits of hiring a doula. We make the hospital room work for us. It's a tool. The bed can be used as a tool, or an intervention, that's up to you.
So here are some tips on how to use the bed as a tool, and not end up on your back pushing for 4 hours...
1: When you get into the room, make the bed YOURS. Learn the buttons, get comfortable, and move it up as high as possible. It's much more helpful in early labour as an island (or a counter) something to lean on, to squat supported with, a tool. Ask for a birth ball to sit on for when your legs get tired, and lean on the bed. Your partner is welcome to get on to the bed with you. You are not sick, or in danger. You are having a baby.
2: Do your research about constant fetal monitoring, and make the right decision for you. Evidence based birth is a great resource to start with.
3: If you choose to not have an epidural, remain intuitive. Move in ways your body wants to, and have your partner remind you if you're in one position for a long time to change it up. If you do have an epidural, ask your nurse, midwife, and partner to suggest side lying, or even advocate for hands and knees if your epidural allows. We've only seen a "walking epidural" once, but I feel like the more often we ask for it, and talk about it, maybe it can become something anesthesiologists will be trained for it.
4: Do a push prep class as part of your prenatal education and see a Pelvic Floor physio who can check in with your anatomy, and let you know what muscles to tap into for effective pushing.
Follow us on instagram for more education and tips! @dynamicdoulas
Also we have a Prenatal Education class available online to learn so much more about your body in birth, physiology and have to have a better birth! See the workshops tab for more.