Let me ask you a question. If you want Italian food, would you go to a Mexican restaurant? Seems like a stupid question, doesn’t it? Well… I ask this then… why do I see so many women who are adamant about having a natural birth choose an Obstetrician with a 50% C-section rate?? That’s just as insane as going to a sporting goods store to buy a cocktail dress.
If you’re like most women, you spend the majority of your pregnancy (and probably a lot before too) imagining or planning what your birth will be like. You do your research. Natural birth or epidural. This procedure, but not that one. On and on and on.
Birth planning is important. It’s super important to be informed. As a doula, I find that the more informed a woman is, the more likely she is to have a great birth. I am a huge advocate for women doing their research and making informed decisions for birth.
All too often though, in planning all the details, the most important decision gets overlooked.
You can do all the research in the world on your birth options, but none of it matters if your provider isn’t on board. If you don’t pick a doctor or midwife that’s in line with the type of birth you want, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle the entire time. Sure, it’s possible you’ll have the birth you want. But trust me, it’s unlikely.
There’s hardly a time in life when emotions run as high as during birth. You’re in pain. Hormones are going crazy. It’s easy to become unsure. You aren’t thinking as clearly as normal.
I’ve seen births where everything had been going according to the birth plan. Even the nurses are supportive. Yet, when the care provider gets there, near the end of labor, they turn everything upside down. The whole birth plan goes down the toilet and the cascade of intervention begins, despite the mom’s desires.
It may seem extreme, but I’ve seen this first-hand... more than once.
To be honest, even I didn’t realize for a while what a problem this was. I thought that as long as you were really informed and set on what you want, it would be fine. I didn’t even realize the drastic effect that an unsupportive provider can have. Truly, choosing the care right care provider for you is the most important thing.
If you talk to your provider about how you'd like to have the option of giving birth in a squatting position and she says something like, "well, we'll just see how it goes," don't assume she'll be welcome to the idea at your birth. If she's never caught a baby in that position, chances are, she's not going to suddenly get comfortable with the idea.
When you're discussing your birth with your doctor or midwife, pay attention to their answers. You can usually tell what their feelings are about various choices.
Just do it right and pick a doctor or midwife that you know is truly comfortable with your birth view.
If you're worried your doctor or midwife isn't going to be supportive of your choices, then run the other way! It's never too late. I promise, there are providers who will be respectful of what you're looking for.
Each doctor or midwife has their own personality and comfort levels. It isn't fair for either of you if you have polar opposite views on birth. Find someone you mesh with. You should never feel like your birth is a tug-of-war between you and your doctor or midwife.
I can’t describe the feeling of comfort you get during labor when things get hard and you feel like you can’t do it anymore, to look into the eyes of your care provider, whom you trust, and have her encourage you, tell you it’s OK, and know she’s got you and your baby’s best interest at heart...
She’s completely on board with whatever you want during your birth.
She is there as your partner, to assist you in having the best and healthiest birth possible. You know that if things don’t end up going as planned that it was a necessary change, not one that was made without regard for your birth plan.
Now, that is peace of mind.