Natural Childbirth is a philosophy of childbirth that is based on the understanding that women who are adequately prepared are innately able to give birth to their child, without external intervention. The natural birth event is mother and baby centered and also mother and baby led. Natural childbirth aims to maximize the innate birth physiology and laboring movement of healthy women.
For the mother, a natural birth increases the probability of a healthier postnatal period and an easier recovery due to fewer interventions. For the infant, a natural birth reduces the exposure to narcotics and drugs that augment labor and also reduces the likelihood of needing to separate from its mother after birth. This is important, as immediate skin-to-skin maternal contact and breastfeeding in the first hour after birth increases the likelihood of successful breastfeeding for a longer duration. There are also psychological benefits to natural birthing. Many women consider natural birth empowering. A woman who is supported to labor as she instinctively wants to, is a woman who will likely feel positive about her birth experience and future parenting skills. Her baby is more able to be alert and placed on her skin (promoting maternal bonding) and breastfeeding is more likely to be enjoyable and successful.
Giving birth at home means you can surround yourself with family and supporters, including your Midwife and Doula, who know and care about you. You can move around, eat and drink, labor and give birth in whatever manner you choose; in your own bed, in a water tub; anywhere you're comfortable. Also, you and your new baby are never separated.
Women can have a positive, safe birthing experience anywhere as long as she is listened to, treated with compassion, feels in control of her birth and has competent care.
Providing quiet, attentive Doula support to the birthing Mom and Baby is divine. I truly believe Mom and baby intuitively know how to engage in this "dance of life" and I, in attendance, support and encourage your innate knowledge. Birth is known to be a transformational experience for the mom, (dad), and baby. The baby's journey into this world is intense and....I've also observed that if the Mom, regardless of any difficulties with labor, is able to stay consciously connected to her baby, the baby feels cared for and the precious air of love and "home" can be the positive part of the birth experience and memory for the mother, (dad), and especially the baby. As a Doula, I can help you achieve holding that 'safe space' for your baby to birth into! "Baby's gentle beginnings allows them to become the person they were put here to be".
Below are some questions that you should ask yourself in deciding if a home birth is right for you:
* do you really believe that homebirth is right for you?
* it the best thing you can do for your body and baby?
* How does your partner feel about it?
* What about the family?
* Do you believe in homebirth enough that you can go against some mainstream myths?
* If your answers are "yes" then homebirth is right for you.
Next, are you willing to be a good consumer and shop around for your Midwife?
History of Midwifery
Midwives have been part of the human experience for as long as we know. The ancient Jews called her the wise woman, just as she is known in France as the sage-femme, and in Germany, the weise frau and also Hebamme or mother’s adviser, helper, or friend. The English ‘midwife’ is derived from midwife, or with-woman”(J.H. Aveling). The Latin term cum-mater and the Spanish and Portuguese term comadre, have the same meaning: "with woman".
Midwives offer personalized and intimate care that puts a woman in charge. Skilled midwifery care preserves the normal, physiological processes of pregnancy and labor without unnecessary intervention or technology. Midwives provide physical and emotional support and comfort, not only for the woman, but for her entire family. Midwives, on average, spend far more time with a woman during her pregnancy and birth than does a physician. She spends time getting to know the woman and her family and time developing a caring, trusting relationship.
Only you know what is right for you. I suggest being selective, ask questions, and interview as many Midwives as you need to, in order to find the right one for you. I recommend having your partner with you since they should feel comfortable with the Midwife as well.
If you are low-risk and healthy, homebirth is safe! This just isn’t my opinion, this is evidenced-based practice. Research the safety of birthing at home by asking the Midwives you interview for articles and studies of safe home birthing.
There are two types of midwives in Arizona
* A Certified Nurse Midwife is a registered nurse with additional schooling in midwifery. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, a Certified Nurse Midwife is "Certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) on the basis of a national certification examination - Standards and qualifications for nurse-midwifery practice are defined by the ACNM- and licensed to practice in Arizona by the State Board of Nursing."
* A Licensed Midwife is licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Special Licensing Midwife Program, Arizona Association of Midwives
To learn more about the Responsibilities of Licensed Midwives visit:Arizona Department of Health Services
Birth Center Birth
A Birth Center is a special place for women to give birth.It has all the required equipment for birthing, but is specially designed for a woman, her partner, and family. Birth centers may be free standing (separate from a hospital) or located within a hospital. It is a place that gives you a caring, warm and homelike setting where you are supported and respected as well as safe and secure.
You will have a private room for giving birth where you can:
* make yourself comfortable
* walk around
* wear your own clothing
* have nourishment when you feel hungry
* soak in a tub
* and even give birth in the water!
* a comfy environment for your family/friends
A Birth Center welcomes your children, your parents, and friends so you can decide who will be with you or near you as you give birth. It is a place that gives you continuing support and information on infant care, breastfeeding, parenting, and family planning
Tucson has the only free-standing birthing center in southwest Arizona, the Birth & Women's Health Center an El Rio Clinic. where women can have a safe labor and childbirth experience in comfortable home-like surroundings...."it's like a South West B&B!!"
To learn more about the Birth & Women's Health Center visit Birth & Women's Health Center
Birth Centers also welcome Doulas! I have a wonderful working relationship with our free-standing Birth Center in Tucson.
"Birthing women also make their natural sounds next to running bath water." Michael Odent, MD
Most importantly, water helps facilitate natural birth by providing another option for women to birth awake, aware, and in control-ultimately leading to a greatly enhanced birth experience and a life-long source of great personal strength. Many consider a warm soak in a bath or a long shower after a stressful day or as a way to wind-down. Our associations with water are varied-warmth, flowing, refreshing, soothing, suspending, giving. All these positive associations translate easily to birth providing relaxation and an optimal space for ease of movement. Babies transition well into the water from the warm fluid environment of the womb. Water stimulates the touch and temperature nerve fibers in the skin, blocking impulses from pain fibers.
* Birthing tubs can be rented for Home Births, speak to your Midwife about a possible Home water birth.
* The Birth & Women's Health Center in Tucson, Az is well equipped for a wonderful water birth in a large, built-in birthing tub. The way the tub is situated in the suite, attendance buy your BC midwife, your Doula, the attending BC nurse and your partner is comfortably possible.
Benefits of Water Immersion:
* Buoyancy, Hydrostatic Pressure, Heat and Decreased Blood Pressure.
* A body immersed in water loses weight equal to the weight of the water that is displaced. When the body is immersed to the chest level, about 75% of the body weight is displaced.
* Water immersion relieves the woman of supporting her full weight, facilitates her movements and allows her to relax more deeply. It can create more space in the pelvis because the mother’s ability to move is enhanced and muscles tend to work more efficiently under water.
* Buoyancy assists in the spontaneous rotation of the baby and equalizing of pressure usually means that perineum tearing is reduced. Pressure on the cervix form the baby’s head is decreased because gravity is not operative. Relaxation minimizes pain and decreases anxiety as adrenalin levels fall and oxytocin levels rise.
* After 20 to 30 minutes of water immersion, there is an increase in endorphins that results in a drop in mean arterial pressure and a subsequent decrease in blood pressure. Whirlpool jets stimulate the nipples.
* When the body is immersed in water, the pressure is the same in all directions and equally distributed at any given depth beneath the surface of the liquid. This phenomenon is known as “hydrostatic pressure” which is proportioned to the depth of the water.
* It is partly responsible for the noted reduction in pain that most women experience upon entering the water. Submersion also includes a redistribution of body fluid; (Enning 2003) estimates that edema is reduced by 600 to 1000 ml.
For more information on waterbirth please visit the following resources:
Alternatives to Hospital Intervention
A Doula will offer a variety of methods during natural childbirth to aid the mother. Pain management techniques other than medication include hydrotherapy, massage, relaxation therapy, hypnosis, breathing exercises, vocalization, visualization, mindfulness and water birth. Other approaches include movement and different positions (i.e. using a birthing ball), hot and cold therapy (i.e. using hot compresses and/or cold packs), and receiving one-on-one labor support.
Some methods used to augment labor without medication include changing positions frequently, remaining in an upright position to increase pressure of the baby on the cervix, and walking or walking up and down stairs. Methods to reduce the need for an episiotomy include managing the perineum with counter-pressure, hot compresses, and the mother pushing the baby out slowly.