The Gentle Birth Advantage
A lot of expecting parents are pretty familiar with the idea that the medicalization of labour can increase the risk of further interventions; but many don’t really understand WHY that is + HOW interventions impact the process of childbirth.
When a baby’s lungs reach maturity in utero, they produce a lipoprotein [surfactant] which triggers the release of natural hormones in the mother’s body to initiate the onset of labour. When women go into labour spontaneously—[that is when their babies + their bodies are ready], this delicate cocktail of hormones [oxytocin, progesterone, estrogen, prolactin, beta-endorphin, etc.] aid in the natural progression of their labour/birth.
Oxytocin causes uterine contractions; it has also been referred to as the 'love' hormone because of its presence in bonding, orgasm, birth + breastfeeding. Michel Odent [French obstetrician, visionary + author of 'Birth Reborn'] refers to oxytocin as the hormone of “forgetting oneself”. A fundamental aspect of gentle birth is the access to of an altered state of consciousness: “being transported” or “going to another world” (think: hypnobirthing). Synthetic oxytocin [Pitocin] does not offer the same gateway to this instinctual state.
Progesterone aids in pelvic softness + flexibility. As such, women who have been induced have a higher occurrence of shoulder dystocia, instrumental delivery + cesarean section. Estrogen is another hormone involved in "setting the stage" for birth; activating, inhibiting + reorganizing other hormone systems.
Beta-endorphin is a naturally occurring opiate secreted by the pituitary gland in response to pain + stress. Studies suggest beta-endorphin increases tolerance to the sensation of surges [uterine contractions] + is similar to the opiates morphine + heroin (it induces feelings of pleasure + euphoria). Like oxytocin, beta-endorphin contributes to the mother-infant bond after birth + promotes the release of prolactin during labour, which helps to prepare the mother's body for lactation.
Adversely, interruptions, interventions + psychological pressures can produce catecholamines [epinephrine/adrenaline + norepinephrine/noradrenaline: the 'fight or flight' response], contributing to "stalled labour" or "failure to progress'.
It's important to become conscious of outdated generational influences, practices + conditioning when making decisions surrounding your birth. I believe that the three most important elements of making both intuitive + informed decisions during birth are:
(1) Wisdom: an understanding of the natural physiological process of birth... I cannot stress this enough: expecting parents have the right to understand is what is possible for them.
Our views on birth + our bodies is deeply influenced by subliminal messages from the media; our culture's conditioning is inherited from the generations who brought us routine episiotomies, X-rays in pregnancy, the Twilight Birth protocol, Thalidomide, Diethylstilbestrol, routine vaccinations, routine infant circumcision, etc.
In the majority of hospital births today, births are attended by obstetricians who are not trained in natural birth; most of them have never witnessed a woman give birth without one of, or a combination of the following: induction, augmentation, pain medication, interruption, stringent time limits, repeated cervical checks, restricted mobility... [the list goes on]. The western medical system instead trains doctors to find pathology; a process that is far more comfortable with surgery than with [natural] physiological processes.
Medical decisions [inductions, interventions etc.] are routinely being made for monetary + legal purposes.
Through Mushaboom YYC, I offer wholistic prenatal, birth + postnatal support to new families in the greater Calgary area, providing continuous labour support to expecting parents during their birthing time [in home, birth centre or hospital settings]. I work with my clients to promote feelings of trust in the birthing process, paving the way for conscious birth + parenting choices.
Research shows that women who birth with a doula are less likely to receive Pitocin; less likely to have an operative or instrumental birth; less likely to use medication; more likely to experience a spontaneous vaginal delivery; more likely to breastfeed; are more likely to view their birth experience positively + are subsequently less likely to experience PPD.
Currently in our culture, there is the propensity to interfere with the most sacred + vulnerable experiences of others, however my most profound + humbling experiences have been to simply hold space for others.
Mushaboom YYC is accepting clients with the following estimated dates of delivery:
March 30 - April 10
May 15 - May 31
June, July, August 2018