When should we accept medical intervention?

In a recent class​, one of the fathers asked me the above question. I paused for a while, trying to place some context to that question. I think he may have misunderstood the whole premise of HypnoBirthing. I’m not promoting or advocating not ever taking drugs in birth. There is a time and place for medical intervention in childbirth. What I advocate is being INFORMED about the risks of these.

One of the doctors I saw during my first pregnancy said to me “You don’t have to be a martyr you know. Advances in medicine means you don’t have to suffer through the pain”. I remember thinking to myself “This doctor has totally missed the point”. If I could birth my baby naturally which I believed I could, why would I take drugs that I wouldn’t normally take? Why would I allow interventions to be done to my body, when my body didn’t need it? Needless to say I chose not to birth with that doctor.

The approach of HypnoBirthing is from a positive perspective. We talk about what birth CAN and should be like. We INVITE you to believe in your own body’s capability to birth naturally and easily.

However for me, I like to read the research! And through reading research, I discovered that ANY intervention carries with it an inherent risk. And not only is it risky to the mother, but it is risky to the baby as well. Alot of drugs used in birth are of in the same group as street drugs like cocaine. Also the drugs are given in appropriate dosage for the mother, but when it reaches the baby it is in a much higher dosage for the baby’s body to handle. Drugs given to mother during birth only take a few minutes to pass through to the baby through the umbilical cord. If I am healthy and carrying a healthy baby, why would I put myself through these unnecessary risks?

So firstly I would say, mothers, BELIEVE in yourselves!! This will take time, and take more than me telling you you can birth naturally and easily. It might take reading and hearing alot of positive birth stories, and being around people who have positive things to say about birth. The environment of fear we find ourselves in is what causes us to doubt ourselves. And the birthing environment in Kuala Lumpur is RIFE with fear. Do yourself a favour and consciously choose to place yourself in an environment that gives you confidence about your own capabilities to birth naturally.

Secondly put effort into living healthily and carrying a healthy baby. You can do all the visualization and affirmations you like, but if you don’t put in practical effort into things like nutrition and exercise, you will be jeopardizing your chance for an easy birth. Usually once you believe in your ability, the effort to stay physically and emotionally healthy will come naturally.

And thirdly assess your risks realistically. We’ve been conditioned to view birth as a very dangerous process that cannot happen without the help of medical intervention. Is that REALLY the case? Are our bodies so inherently flawed? There are many mothers who birth their babies completely naturally and easily too. What did they do differently? How come they didn’t need drugs? Read and gain knowledge about the risks of medical interventions versus natural births. You will NOT get information about risks of medical procedures from the hospital or your doctor. That’s why independent childbirth classes are so important to give you the OTHER side of the story. The side of the story that 99% of the population is not told. Find out what risks means to you. If you think you will benefit from interventions then BY ALL MEANS take the drugs. You can still have a wonderful birth experience.

Just to share a short story about a mother I supported through birth a couple of months ago. She wanted a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). But she wasn’t doing well with the surges. When a surge came, she would scrunch and tense up he whole body. No amount of hypnosis would make her shift her perception towards the surges. It came to a point where she was talking about getting a c-section. Alhamdulillah the doctor (!!) and I managed to talk her into getting an epidural instead. Once she got the epidural she managed to relax and SLEEP! In a few hours she was ready to push her baby out 🙂 She finally got the VBAC she wanted and we were all so happy for her!

So there IS a place for medical interventions in labour and birth. But PLEASE be informed about the benefits and risks on ALL interventions and potential courses of action. Being informed and making informed decisions in your birth will empower the family, and even if you end up taking drugs you will end up being more satisfied with your birth experience simply because you made decisions with unbiased information.

Hi, I'm Nadine

A self-confessed birth junkie, I love all things birth and breastfeeding… I’m so lucky to be able to work with expectant families and share this very special time in their lives with them :) I am also a Life Coach helping mothers overcome burnout and overwhelm.

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