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Birth Choices

What is Natural Childbirth?

dick-read-natural-childbirth-175wThe phrase 'natural childbirth' was coined in the 1930s by obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read. The term, which is used quite loosely now when speaking about birth, usually refers to a birth where the mother uses no medication during labor or delivery, relying on techniques such as relaxation and controlled breathing to manage pain and have her baby naturally. More of a philosophy, it is based on the belief that a healthy woman who is adequately prepared is able to give birth without drugs or routine medical interventions.

Women experience natural childbirth in home births, birthing centers and even hospitals. A woman's definition of 'natural' may range from no intervention at all to birth which includes any intervention deemed appropriate by her.

placenta-pillsWhat is Placentophagy?

Placentophagy, or consumption of the placenta, has been reported to help reduce Postpartum Depression (PPD) also known as the "baby blues" and diminish postpartum fatigue. There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence over the years as to the varied benefits of this practice. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been using the placenta for its healing benefits for thousands of years.

To define in its most basic terms, placentophagy is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after birth. It is thought that animals did so for nutritional reasons and to hide any trace of birth from predators in the wild.

unassisted-childbirth-175wWhat is Unassisted Childbirth?

Unassisted childbirth (UC) refers to the process of intentionally giving birth with no health care provider or birth attendant present. It is a planned event, not unassisted due to an emergency or other situation. A mother might choose an unassisted childbirth if she views birth as an intimate sexual, spiritual event and feels that it should therefore be private. 

Supporters of this birth choice feel that medical intervention at this time is mostly unnecessary. Laura Stanley states, “human birth is inherently safe and relatively painless—provided we refrain from physical or psychological interference.” 

What are the Risks of Unassisted Childbirth?

A choice of an unassisted childbirth comes with it the responsibility to be educated and able to deal with complications should they arise. If you decide to have an unassisted home birth, easyBirth recommends that both you and your birth team consider taking an neonatal resuscitation course.

home-birth-300wHome birth is an old tradition, a choice of mothers for thousands of years. Women traditionally have attended other women in childbirth. Supported by family and friends, also calling on collective strength of wisdom and experience of those who know birth. This wealth of birth knowledge has been transmitted from generation to generation. For families that choose this option, home is a safe and supportive place to give birth. If we look back in our history, traditional home birth was viewed as an integral part of family life. Although this tradition is not as widespread as it once was, it is still alive.

Natural Hospital Birth - Is it the Best of Both Worlds?

birthing-center-st-lukes-hospital-nyA natural hospital birth could be the best of both worlds for some expectant mothers. Let's face it, some women feel that their 'safe' birth spot is in a traditional hospital. That is ok. It may be the woman is nervous about giving birth, intimidated by stories she's heard, or believes she will need drugs to get through labor - she selects a hospital birth.

Then there are other women who would be interested in choosing something other than a hospital birth, but proximatity, availability, insurance or for other reasons, they choose a hospital birth, BUT they are interested in a NATURAL one. A natural birth in a hospital setting is possible! 

water-birth-300wWhat is a Water Birth?

Water birth is the process of giving birth in a tub of warm water. Proponents believe water birth results in a more relaxed, less painful experience, gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother. Some mothers choose to labor in the water and get out for the delivery. Others decide to stay in the water for the delivery as well. It is believed that reducing the stress of labor and delivery reduces fetal complications. Water birth should always occur under the supervision of a qualified health care provider.

open-season-vbacWhat is a VBAC?

If you have had a previous cesarean delivery (also called a C-section), what are your options for your new birth? It is possible that you may be able to deliver your next baby vaginally, this is called vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC. There are many factors you and your health care professional will take into consideration to see if you would be a good candidate for VBAC, including why you had a cesarean birth before and how many you have had. The greatest risk of VBAC is a uterine rupture if your cesarean delivery had a low transverse incision.

What is a TOLAC?

If it is determined that you can attempt a VBAC, then you will have what is called a “trial of labor after cesarean,” or TOLAC. This means that the physician works with you to try to deliver your baby vaginally. It is not possible to predict which women will have a successful vaginal delivery or a repeat cesarean.

birth-centerWhat is a Birthing Center?

A birthing center is a home-like facility where low-risk women can experience a natural birth. Birthing centers are guided by principles of prevention, sensitivity, safety, appropriate medical intervention, and cost effectiveness. They provide family-centered care for healthy women before, during, and after normal pregnancy, labor, and birth. 

Most birthing centers will make their facilities available to you and your entire birth team and family, and are ideal for situations where your home environment may not be ideal for your planned birth experience.

shivam-lotus-birth-175wThe Beginning

The practice of Lotus Birth here in the west is relatively new. In 1974, Claire Lotus Day began studying the work of the primatologist Jane Goodall, who spent years observing chimpanzees in the wild where she noted that they did not chew or cut their offspring's cords, instead leaving them intact. The chimps rested and moved in the trees until the placenta naturally detached. This got Claire to thinking, and she realized these were social, peace-loving animals and connected the two together.

What is Lotus Birth?

Lotus Birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the navel. This practice is also known as non-severance. Considered by Lotus advocates as 'the fourth stage of childbirth', the time after the placenta has delivered allowing this miraculous organ to complete its job aiding a smooth transition from womb to world.

breech-birth-175wWhat is a Breech Birth?

Most babies are positioned head down in the womb weeks before birth. When the baby fails to get in this position, the baby's bottom and/or feet will be in position to be delivered first. This is a breech birth. Breech delivery is the single most common abnormal presentation.

What are the Different Types of Breech Presentations?

  • Frank Breech: In this fetal position, the baby's buttocks is down and the legs are sticking straight up in front of the body with the feet near the head.
  • Complete Breech: This is where the buttocks is pointing downward, but the legs are folded at the knees and the feet are near the bottom.
  • Footling Breech: In this position, one "single footling breech" or both "double footling breech" of the feet point downward and the legs emerge first.This is also known as in "incomplete breech".
  • Kneeling Breech: This is a very rare position in which the baby is in a kneeling position, with one or both legs extended at the hips and flexed at the knees.