Amazing research which the media have embraced today – ‘there are advantages to singing a lullaby to your baby’ – who would have thought!! Revolutionary – NO, New – NO! Interesting listening to the media discussion about how few women have time to sing to their baby and find it much easier to play the CD, click on itunes etc. I saw a new Mum recently with her 48hr old baby, in the basinette with her smartphone perched next to baby’s brain, playing a ‘tune’. She assured me it made baby sleep beautifully. This is not rocket science and whilst we all know and embrace the benefits of smart phones etc., there is a time and place to introduce technology to a child. All new Mum’s just get back to basics and follow your instincts. What your baby loves most is to hear your voice, singing and soothing, along with the touch, rocking, smiling that automatically goes with the soothing sounds of your voice. This is guaranteed to settle your baby much more successfully than using technology. You are making a very important imprint of deep love in a safe and reassuring way, so ditch the gadgets and follow your instincts.
Pre-Natal Education is vital. It does depend on where, when and with whom! Shopping around for the best education is important. So many women are pushed through into the hospital classes, without any discussion about other options. Choosing private pre-natal education will give unbiased information and free discussion about all topics. Having been a Childbirth Educator in the hospital system for many years, I know how restricted the information is. The hospital hierarchy, especially Obstetricians have a huge influence on what and how information should be presented. Working in a private hospital I was instructed to teach couples the benefits of epidurals and caesarean sections because “That’s What Women Want” (according to a group of MALE Obstetricians and Anaesthetists!). I won’t go into how that conversation progressed?? BUT choosing wisely by shopping around for a good childbirth educator (I have a list of questions you should ask in both my books), will ensure you have good knowledge, which is the only way to be empowered. I met a couple last night who believed they did not need any education as it was all so natural. They changed from a homebirth midwife at the last minute and booked into a hospital. She had a very long labour, failed ventouse, failed forceps (medical language!) and a forcep/caesarean birth. The baby looks so bruised and battered. He has the most swollen, bruised lips I have ever seen on a newborn. He is irritable and not feeding. The Mum is very angry, confused and does not understand why it ended this way. It will take her a long time to heal, physically and emotionally. Remember you don’t need to be taught HOW to birth, you just need to learn ABOUT birth. This important difference in education is what causes confusion, so when shopping around, find out the educator’s philosophy, which should follow the previous line. As women, we certainly do know how to birth, but it is so essential to learn about birth and the system.
Surprise! Surprise! More women coming out and proudly announcing they are breastfeeding ‘older’ children. The media commentary on this is really quite extraordinary. This is not anything to do with a sexual relationship. A woman is feeding her baby and giving him the absolute best start in life. It would be interesting to interview those in the media who are so repulsed by this. In many other countries it is frowned upon if a woman is not breastfeeding her toddler. Hold your head high and be proud all you beautiful breastfeeding women!
I supported a woman a couple of days ago who had a very long labour. We started at home, she spent lots of time in water, transferred to a Birth Centre, and after about 10hrs. was almost fully dilated, which was welcome news. Unfortunately baby was very ‘stuck’ and was not able to move down the birth path as easily as is usual. A wise decision was made to transfer to the Delivery Suite. Some 4 hrs. later, still no further downward movement from baby. She was very upset, but remained brave, strong, and even maintained a sense of humour. The attitude of the midwives left a lot to be desired. One very, very, young midwife sat on the edge of the bed and told her that it really, really hurts to have a baby and she should expect to have a lot of pain! and that her baby was ‘distressed’. Amazingly this woman had the strength to inform the midwife that she was absolutely O.K. and her baby also was O.K. and was NOT distressed. She was right, of course, and I felt very proud that this once fearful woman, had learned throughout her pregnancy, by doing HypnoBirthing and having a doula, to now come full circle and feel so empowered – especially at this stage. She did have a caesarean section – one of the few that is actually ‘needed’, and her and baby are doing well.
Breastfeeding a 3yr old on the front cover of Time Magazine has created a media storm! Unbelievable amount of ignorance and misinformation has been uttered from, in particular, women in the media. One young TV media mother announced she found the photograph ‘extremely uncomfortable’, another stated it was ‘sexualising breastfeeding’, and yet another thought it would create an unstable and insecure child.
There are many countries around the world where breastfeeding toddlers is very much the norm. A message to the media – if you do not understand a ‘topic’, then don’t offer an opinion. Find someone who has expert knowledge about breastfeeding, and can explain, simply, why women do breastfeed their toddlers. Of course the benefits are huge, for both mother and baby. Let’s not criticise our mothers.
As a society we should be very proud that these women are giving their baby the best start in life. It’s a well documented guarantee that the longer a child breastfeeds the better his immune system and the less likely he is to grow up and be a drain (literally) on our health system. If, as a community, we can’t offer our women positive encouragement and support then PLEASE leave our mothers alone. I still feel enormously proud of my breastfeeding efforts, having breasfed my second son for 3yrs. He is now a 28yr old, very healthy, happy young man, who has never needed to go to a GP!
Pregnant women should be able to trust, absolutley their caregiver and the information/education they provide. But they cannot. Our hospital system for birthing women, is indeed, a broken system, with many who work in it, out of touch with reality. The problem with many staff is they become institutionalised, often out of necessity as they must follow the ever increasing policies and protocols. They certainly don’t have the capacity or the will to think outside the square. I observed a young woman who came into a hospital to give birth to her 3rd baby. As she leaned over the bed and quietly experienced a surge (contraction), the midwife asked could she rate her pain level on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the “most severe”). Midwife told her it looked like an 8!! So, of course, the woman, who seemed confused by the question, reluctantly agreed with the midwife. There was no reassurance or positive support or even a congratulations offered. No smile, no understanding, no support for Dad. The midwife managed to totally disempower this birthing woman with one sentence. The midwife was ‘in charge’, not the woman. The very sad thing about this story is that the midwife actually believed she was very experienced and was doing a good job. The lack of knowledge and understanding of a birthing woman’s needs was glaringly obvious and certainly has a negative impact on how a woman labours and gives birth. To avoid this – please employ a doula!
Dealing with family and friends when you’re pregnant can be a challenge. Everyone has an opinion. You have the familty who insist on you booking into a private obstetrician and private hospital, because, they feel strangely relieved that everything will be O.K. because you now have the best care! Really? Then you have the family member who pushes you to go to their doctor because they were ‘lovely’ or worse still ‘divine’! It seems to be that many families pass on fairly horrific details about various births and how excruciating painful it is. This results in a huge increase of the fear and anxiety that a pregnant woman already has, from the media, magazines, TV etc. and other well meaning friends and work colleagues. So how do you deal with this? Ideally start at the beginning, after you have done your research and shopped around and chosen an appropriate model of care, caregiver, place to birth, pre-natal course and doula. Then at the same time you are announcing the joyful news to loved ones, simply and proudly tell them what you have chosen, that this is an informed choice that you have made on behalf of you and your baby and you look forward to all their support. Remember, pregnant women, NEVER hand over your power, not to anyone. So, don’t ever, invite anyone’s opinion. Given the right information a pregnant woman will always choose what is right for her and her baby.
DOULAS – WHY EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN DESERVES ONE. My new book has received some great publicity. I hope you have all seen the latest TV interview on Channel 10, The Circle on Tues. 3rd April. It was a good interview with the panel showing genuine interest in the benefits of having a doula. I am determined to change the general views about birthing being painful and something which has to be endured. My message is not just about doulas but about birth as a normal, life changing event in a woman’s life. One that, given she makes the right choices for her and her baby, is a beautiful, rewarding and deeply empowering experience. It is important how we birth our babies. To all you beautiful pregnant women – NEVER HAND OVER YOUR POWER – get yourself a doula. Happy Easter to all.
What has happened to ‘offering’ testing during pregnancy? A client of mine, 28wks. pregnant, went for her routine hospital visit. We had discussed, just last night, about the GTT (glucose tolerance test). She had no risk factors and decided she would decline the test. It appears she was bullied into it. The midwife told her she “had to have it” and today was the only time they could do it. Liz (not her real name) told me it became all too hard to have an argument and so to keep the peace she swallowed the awful sugar drink, and immediately was sick. All pregnant women please take note! It is not compulsory to have any testing! It is your choice. You are making this decision on behalf of you and your baby. In an ideal world the conversation should go: midwife “it is normal for us to offer you this testing at week 28. Do you know and understand the reasons for this? Would you like any further information? Have you made an informed decision on behalf of you and your baby? Please let me know”! We all know that unfortunately the conversation does not flow in this way. I suggest to you that if you have made a decision NOT to have a particular test, ultrasound, blood test, Strep. B etc. then make sure you have a good one liner to deliver ! “I know about the test and have made an informed decision to decline, thank you”! Keep it short and sweet and remember – NEVER hand over your power.
Am I Allowed? This is the constant cry from pregnant women, especially when we are discussing options – you know all those choices a pregnant woman SHOULD have during pregnancy and birthing. I had a group in at the weekend for a pre-natal course in hypnosis for birth. The questions of “Will they let me do……?” and “Am I allowed to do…..?”. Getting the message firmly imprinted is my goal! This is your birth, your labour and birth and your baby. It is a normal event and you are the Director of that event. Whilst we must all respect the institutions (hospital) rules and regulations, policies and procedures, and the staff, it is very important that a woman goes into labour, confident in her ability to birth in her own way, directing her own birthing and feeling absolutely in control of all decisions she makes on behalf of her baby. To all you beautiful pregnant women – NEVER hand over your power!
Working with a midwife the other evening, at a small regional hospital, where there was a 19yr old in labour. This young girl lived with her grandmother, her boyfriend was present (he lived with his Dad). She had no education, had not read any books about pregnancy or birthing but had managed quite a few 3D and 4D ultrasounds, just for pictures. It seems there is either the 35 + yr old, or the teenager! I don’t have many inbetween. I questioned the midwife about informing this young woman about essential options and choices. Her comment was that if this girl was so uneducated and therefore uninformed, let’s not bother. It was in the ‘too hard’ basket. Now the young woman no doubt came into hospital way too early, she had no idea what was happening, no connection with her baby, and no understanding of what was normal. She most certainly was not aware she had choices. I couldn’t help comparing this with a 35 + yr. old, who has no doubt ‘over’ read, ‘over’ researched, ‘over’ educated (that is possible when a woman has attended so many different pre-natal courses and is confused!) It is quite shocking to think that health professionals can treat these two demographics so differently. As a result, this young woman had way too many vaginal examinations, way too many CTG’s, way too little information given. We must be very careful about targeting our information and education to reach all women. After staying in hospital for about 14hrs, she had her membranes ruptured by a doctor, and birthed 25 minutes later. She is, apparently, happy. Whilst she had a very supportive grandmother who stayed with her the whole time, this could have been quite a different experience, if she had been supported throughout her pregnancy by a doula who could have educated, informed and influenced the course of the labour and birth.
One day this week as I was watching a well known morning breakfast TV program, I was horrified once again at the comments regarding pregnant women. I do wish that the media would keep their mouth shut when it comes to pregnancy and birthing issues. The discussion was around weight and how women are obsessed with their weight post baby. This all came about after Beyonce’s outings!! looking nothing like a new Mum! The well know presenter stated how uncomfortable and anxious she felt when the obstetrician weighed her at every check-up!! I’m sure she is an otherwise intelligent woman, but what archaic practice this is, and who would normally allow someone else to check their weight. Is a woman not intelligent enough to monitor her own weight, if she desires? Can she not read the scales, all by herself and then inform the obstetrician of the number, if she desires? and what has this got to do with the growth of the baby? – absolutely nothing! Of course we all need to be discussing with pregnant women the importance of good nutrition and exercise. No-one should be humiliating a pregnant woman by insisting she stand on the scales, being watched and recorded. Well that’s my soap box done for the week. Look forwad to your comments. Susan
Ever been ‘on hold’ at a hospital switchboard? They seem to be paranoid about telling the ‘holder’ about how important hand washing is – to avoid all those nasty hospital infections! Yes, well I couldn’t believe my eyes the other day when I was supporting a woman at a well know, and well regarded public maternity hospital in Sydney. The small pan, which had been placed in the toilet, was full of faeces (poo!), quite normal during a birth. An ‘experienced’ (that’s how she described herself) midwife, came into the room and after much encouragement, eventually changed to a clean pan. However, the pan, full of (poo) was placed, by the midwife, on the tray table – you know, where the food tray is placed, where the water glass and other food items are placed, where a woman may eat from! She then proceeded to put gloves on and get a paper towel to cover the offending item. We used to have pan covers. This is very basic nursing knowledge – poo and food don’t mix. If I had done this when I was a general nurse, let alone a midwife, I would have been dismissed on the spot – and rightly so. I was appalled and made sure the tray table was not used by the woman for anything. No wonder there is a variety of vicious bugs in our hospitals today – there was no hand washing and no level of basic hygiene. Thankfully this Mum was not in hospital for long enough to get a hospital sickness! Let me know your thoughts.
There are so many women who are suffering (not a word I use lightly) from birth trauma. I saw another couple today. She is now pregnant with her second baby and is so fearful of birth that she just wants to book an elective caesarean section under General Anaesthetic. This is understandable when you listen to her story – about an unnecessary induction, syntocinon for 48hrs., many vaginal examinations, from which she feels totally violated, and ending in a caesarean under general anaesthetic due to maternal exhaustion. She did not have an epidural. Yes, a very brave, strong woman! How different this birth could have been had she had a doula who presented her rights and options throughout this pregnancy. Her partner, whilst very supportive, says he felt helpless and didn’t know what to ask or how to ask. He, also is carrying a lot of trauma and is also fearful of being at this birth. I am encouraging her to consider all her options, in particular HypnoBirthing and a doula. There is a lot of work ahead but with the right support for both of them, I have no doubt this birth can be a wonderful healing experience. So to all those women who have birth trauma, please do yourself a favour and book in for a birth de-brief, which includes looking at your rights and options for your next pregnancy. Don’t carry this around with you for the rest of your life. Birth is a normal event. Birth is simple. Having the right doula support is essential.
Oh, so the media are now commenting on the numbers of medical inductions? This is hardly new stuff. For many years women have been bullied into unnecessary medical inductions. They are presented with so many fear based scenarios that no wonder many give in. Where is the fear coming from? It is obstetrician based fear – fear of being sued, fear of what might happen if baby stays inside for longer than 40 wks. and of course, fear that they might be called out in the middle of the night for a ‘normal’ birth, rather than a nicely scheduled induction. Women need to trust their birthing bodies, and connect with their baby. If a woman’s blood pressure is within normal limits, there is normal amount of fluid around baby, and normal movements then let’s leave well alone. The problem occurs when women get caught up in all the fear surrounding ‘waiting for nature’ which can slow down or even prevent labour from starting naturally. Our doulas deal with this issue all the time and are very skilled at supporting women through this hospital/doctor bombardment. So take charge of your birth and your baby. Don’t be bullied, if all the above is within normal limits. Offer to go in daily for CTG’s, ultrasounds and whatever other testing they want. If it is all O.K., then it is your right to say, “we are happy to wait, thank you”.
I have had 4 pregnant women, between 20 and 30 weeks contact me today, all very fearful, all attending a private obstetrician and going to a private hospital. Their choice of this model of care was based on advice from well meaning friends and family. None of them knew they could choose a midwifery model of care and what that would mean for them and their baby. They have all had fear based scenarios presented to them from the obstetrician – hinting at the need for medical intervention! Not all is lost as we will connect them with a wonderful Birth Right doula, and introduce them to Hypnobirthing. It is so important to make the RIGHT choices early on in your pregnancy. Get the RIGHT caregiver, place to birth, pre-natal course, and doula, then you will have the best opportunity to enjoy your pregnancy and have a relaxed, calm, beautiful birth experience. Purchase the Birth Right book to find out how or contact Birth Right.
Babymoon weekend on 10th & 11th Dec. at beautiful Silvermere Resort at Wentworth Falls. You won’t need to go anywhere! Come and relax and enjoy all Silvermere’s facilities, wonderful accommodation, fantastic food PLUS your HypnoBirthing class over 2 days. What better way to combine your holiday and pre-natal class. You will leave feeling very ‘chilled’, at peace and empowered and excited about meeting your baby. To book your babymoon weekend at Silvermere ph: 4757 3311 or firstname.lastname@example.org 0419 606 171.
Love to know your thoughts about the American doula training about to infiltrate our country? DONA (doulas of north america) are well recognised in the USA. I went to a conference in St. Louis about 4 yrs. ago, which was run by them. Great conference but it is not only a very different health system in the States, doulas are trained differently. At Birth Right I am very proud of our doula training. We specialise in training our doulas about the hospital system and how to negotiate with staff. Is this just healthy competition or do we need to be Americanised?? Let me know.
There was an article in the SMH today about pre-eclampsia. Really wish the media would stop writing about uncommon complaints in pregnancy, inducing even more fear in pregnant women. There are some women who have a predisposition to high blood pressure in pregnancy, but not many. Consider all the positive things you can do during pregnancy to maintain a healthy and normal blood pressure. Give yourself time to enjoy and relax during pregnancy. Don’t work right up until the last minute. Find the ‘right’ education so you are well informed. Hypnosis is a great way to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, so book into a HypnoBirthing class. You will find this course empowering, and you will walk away feeling positive and looking forward to your birth and meeting your baby. All great for your blood pressure.
Birth Right will be launching in the Blue Mountains on 31st July, 3p.m. at Hands On Chiropractic, Railway Pde., Leura. This will be a showing of the wonderful HypnoBirthing doco. with an opportunity to win a HypnoBirthing course! Bookings are essential – contact Birth Right 0419 606 171 as spaces are limited. We are very excited to be spreading the word in the Blue Mountains.