We are so excited to bring you another edition of Doula Diaries this week! Welcome back to one of our favorite doulas, Karla Costner. Karla is a wife and mama of six, childbirth educator, and co-owner and founder of Well Nested Childbirth Services in Greenville, SC.
Recently, a video of a woman bravely giving birth, to a 10lb baby in her car, went viral. This video received over 54 million views, over 100 thousand likes, 11 thousand dislikes, and 14 thousand comments. As I scrolled through the comments, I noticed that the word “PAIN” was repeated over and over. Fear of pain in childbirth is common, but it is not the only concern women have.
Fear of the Unknown
Knowledge kicks fear in the butt! Take a Childbirth class. Look for a class that is evidence based, up-to-date, and nationally recognized. Locally, we have many options such as Lamaze, Bradley Method, Hypnobabies, and Evidence Based Birth, just to name a few. The benefit of nationally recognized childbirth classes is that they require certified educators, ensuring that you receive a robust and quality education. A good class should teach you what to expect, how to choose a care-provider, relaxation and comfort techniques, anatomy, options and alternatives, as well as informed decision making. Classes should also provide practical knowledge, such as how to push, what to pack in your bag, partner support, and postpartum care.
Fear of Physical Trauma
Prep that perineum ladies! Perineal massage during pregnancy is all the rage and your special someone can help! Prior to birth, gentle stretching of the “down-under,” can be very beneficial and promote muscle memory and elasticity of perineal area and pelvic floor. However, massage during birth can be very uncomfortable for the birthing mom and of course, informed consent is required.
Position is another way to protect the pelvic floor. Studies show that a hands and knees position during crowning reduces risk of tearing. Lying on your back actually increases your risk of tearing!
Of course, many women choose the warmth and comfort of the water. Water births aren’t just trendy, they also help the perineum to stretch. The warmth of the water opens the blood vessels allowing the skin to stretch more readily. Mothers have more privacy in the water, aiding in comfort and confidence.
Fear of Poop
Privacy is the key to overcoming the poo fear! Let’s face it, no one wants to do their duty in front of an audience. Just as women prefer to poo in private, they require privacy during the birthing time. When a woman feels that her space is guarded and she is safe, inhibitions are set aside and she can let go (literally) of the poop fear.
Fear of Complications
Reduce interventions that are not medically necessary. Ask for alternatives that are known to have positive outcomes. Did you know that the large majority of births go swimmingly and do not require medical intervention. In low-risk mothers, only 10% of births actually need medical assistance. This is so encouraging! However, many mothers chose interventions, thus increasing the risk of complication.
It is very true that birth comes with distinct challenges and variations of normal. However, I often remind students that parenting does as well! How one prepares for birth and perceives the birth process, directly effects how they handle the fear surrounding birth. Women are encouraged to be fearless warriors in sports, work, and life in general, but I am encouraging you to be fearless in the birthing room! Knowledge is power…educate yourself and kick fear in the butt!
If you’d like to view the video Karla referenced at the very beginning, of the woman birthing the 10 pound baby in her car, here is the link: Birth Video
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