Fear of Interventions in Childbirth: How it Can Lead to Interventions
What happens when we try too hard to avoid interventions in childbirth?
To all the women out there who have had births that did not go as planned, felt judged by others, or didn't feel complete after giving birth, followed the rules and didn't do anything, trusted your body and ended up with a cesarean, you are not alone. Preparing for the arrival of your baby is big, and even before women become pregnant the pressure, the opinions, the ideas from all sides never stop coming. The Natural Birth "community" as it is has been termed also does a disservice to the very women they are trying to support.
The Danger of Fearing Interventions
" Your body was made to give birth" "Your body knows what it is doing" "If you just listen to your body, everything will go perfectly"
Yes, your body was made to give birth, but sometimes we need a touch of help to make the process go smoothly. What happens when we are so fearful of interventions that all the interventions become necessary? How do you prepare for something that isn't talked about? How do you cope with something that is never presented as an option? How do you deal with guilt and let down, when your baby is alive, but your dream birth is not? Completely natural focused Childbirth Education Classes and instructors do not prepare you for what may come during your birth. Things happen in childbirth and when we don't know what they are, do not understand why they happen, what the plan of action might be, or what our options are we are left feeling scared, alone, uninformed, or unprepared. Those feelings are the exact opposite of what we had hoped to accomplish with our Childbirth Education Classes or by hiring a doula to fight the system.
Using Interventions Wisely and Effectively
There is a middle ground! Swinging so far to the no intervention/natural birth side of pregnancy and parenting is just as damaging as swinging to the side of all interventions just in case something might happen. Middle ground means learning about what things happen in pregnancy and delivery, why they happen and then what your options are for interventions. ACOG, in recent years, has been working hard to update it's guidelines on prenatal care, routine monitoring in labor, pushing, vbac and so much more. By continuing to follow the evidence and slowly adjust guidelines, moms and babies are seeing the benefits. When mothers feel comfortable delivering in the hospital because they know that their provider is working on a middle ground to use interventions when needed, we see a happy mom, healthy mind.
Interventions can be used to avoid other interventions
Say that again? Yes, interventions can be used to avoid other interventions. The policy of never doing anything to avoid everything sometimes ends with an unwanted outcome or cesarean. Not that how you give birth is a problem, but some families want to avoid interventions so much that they end up with the most interventions of all, which was not in their plan. Utilize a solid Childbirth Education Class that gives you up to date, evidence based information on both the pros and cons of interventions. Knowing when, how and why to use them can be beneficial.
Think of interventions as tools, not something to fear.
We never want to bring fear into our births. Understanding, expectations, and resources can go a long way in ensuring you play a role in your care, things may not go the way you want, but you can understand what is going on when they don't. We want you to walk away as a happy, mentally healthy new family.