Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Birthing like a warrior

While studying for a maternal and newborn care exam, I was so happy to read the evidence for my feelings on birthing practices.

There is only one thing I find more disturbing than watching women MMA fighters and that’s watching a woman give birth in the lithotomy position. Seriously. Jacked-up women fighting each other in a ring… it just seems so unnatural. It’s disturbing... As is our current birthing practices in hospitals. The lithotomy position is what we in North America would call standard: woman in bed, laying on her back, her knees pulled up to her shoulders with her hips externally rotated. Seriously?!? How does this make any sense?

I think what really makes me mad is that men (in history) have completely taken over this amazing part in a woman’s life. I mean, childbirth (is one of the many things that) makes us the warriors that we are. Why are we so afraid of it? Why does Hollywood depict childbirth as the most excruciating pain, like being tortured? Why shouldn’t we dictate how we give birth? I mean, why do we always follow the birthing plan of hospitals and not the one we want?

Okay, deep breath. Hold the phone. I personally have never given birth to a child. I completely admit that I have no experience with labour, other than watching my sister go through it twice. There’s a part of me that still believes it may be physically impossible for me to ever push a child out from down there; but hey, I’ve seen it on YouTube, I’ve seen in it real life, and if my size-0 sister can do it, I think anyone can.

So about those studies I mentioned… It was found that women who squatted using a birth cushion had a significant reduction in operative deliveries and a significantly shorter 2nd stage of labor compared with delivery in the lithotomy position (Gabbe et al 2012). In another study, women in any upright position (squatting, kneeling, sitting, or standing per patient choice) had a greater chance of keeping an intact perineum than those in a laying position (Gabbe et al 2012). So really, if you have no serious health risks and no complications, you should probably consider an upright position.

I just can’t believe that our medical system hasn’t caught up with common sense. Haha, okay, wait, that’s a bit of a joke… I really shouldn’t be surprised. Someone just bombed a marathon (A what? A marathon!)… human society is f*%&ed up beyond belief.

But really, would you be more comfortable having a bowel movement if you were laying back in a recliner? No? You mean, it wouldn’t be easier to bear down while leaning back? This is what Oprah would call an “Aha!” moment.

Any mother out there reading this may shake her head because I am nulliparus, but I stand by the fact that when it comes to my body, I’m a warrior, and I don’t plan to lay back in a ridiculously awkward position while pushing a kid out. I will take charge, have a birth plan and be the boss of my own body. Hypnobirthing? Sounds amazing. Sitting in a warm bath? One of my favourite things! Acupuncture and herbs to move labor along? Sounds right up my alley. Much better than getting drugged up, snipped open, and forced into an uncomfortable position while pushing against gravity.

Have no fear! Welcome labour like the adventure of a lifetime that it is, and have a positive birthing experience. Do it the way YOU want, not the way you've seen it in movies or how medical doctors think it should be done.
Gabbe (2012) Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 6th Ed.