Hospital Birth Makes My Skin Crawl

I love birth but some aspects of birth are very triggering to me, it literally makes my skin crawl.  
 
I support women’s choice to birth wherever they feel most comfortable. The woods? I’m with that. Your house? Call me, I’ll show up! Birthing center? I support it, but you won’t be hiring me. The hospital? I support that choice too! – but I, physically cannot support you there. I have nothing to offer a woman that chooses a medicalized birth. Be it a birthing center, hospital, or any other assisted setting. 

Image from YouTube

If a woman births in these locations, she is literally signing her birth over to the provider’s power and discretion. If the provider feels mom needs an episiotomy, forceps use, a cesarean, etc., she will endure this and it will be legal, even if she is screaming “NO”. She can sue, but from what I see, she will not win. How can I support a woman with zero rights, who legally, cannot support herself? I’d be happy to explain, feel free to ask. 

Image form megancrown.com

The trauma that occurs in these facilities is not worth any set dollar amount for me to endure witnessing. I’m not down with the secondary trauma involved in assisted birth. Some women are strong enough to watch this all play out, and sleep at night – I cannot.  

Here’s something many people do not know; I have never attended in support at a hospital birth. This does not mean I have not seen hospital birth. Don’t get it twisted, sistah. I am triggered in this setting – it is hard for me to watch all that a hospital birth has to offer, play out. Even in social media shared videos or photos – I won’t look, I do not want to see that. In fact, I will not step foot into a facility unless there is a case of an emergency. In this case, I would be the most fierce guard dog for mom. This has not been necessary thus far. I personally will only attend births where the mother is 100% in control of her birth and choices being made.

Image found on google

When I see assisted birth photos or videos, the items listed below are what make me cringe. I literally want to throw up when I see these things. I wasn’t always this way! Only after learning what birth could be for women, do I cringe at the sight of anything less.
 
 
The room itself, the setup, the equipment, the tubes and cords, the bed, the baby table, the hazardous waste bin, and the privacy curtain.  

The needle in mom’s arm, taped to her with cords and tubes. 

The crowd of people in the room, most being random strangers mom has never met before, and the excessive energy that will impact mom. 

The harmful constant fetal monitoring bands on moms’ belly, penetrating baby constantly.  

The unnecessary interventions being performed by the medically mined provider. 

Mom confined on her back, like a helpless victim. 

Mom’s positioning during birth and there immediately after – often, legs spread, up in the air, with a light shining right on the women’s vagina. Very degrading and disempowering. 

The provider pulling baby from the vagina or interfering manually in any unnecessary sense.  

The Placenta being pulled/tugged only an hour or less after birth as if they cannot wait for the woman’s body to release it. 

The bracelets on mom. Plastic rubbing against laboring women’s skin. 

The horrid hospital gowns, making one look like an unwell patient of illness. 

Gloved hands being the hands welcoming baby earth side. 

The immediate wiping off of the baby. 

The separation of mom and baby immediately postpartum.  

The suctioning of baby’s mouth and unnecessary handling of baby. 

The staff uniforms, from the shirt to the shoes. 

The gloves and masks worn by people present, as if it is a toxic event. 

The rough handling of baby after birth. 

The plastic bands placed on the newborn’s arms and legs after arrival. 

The ointment in baby’s eyes, interfering with physiological bonding and wiping out all good flora/bacteria. 

The band aids on baby’s legs from the injections they snuck in almost immediately postpartum. 

The unnecessary and hindering hat placed on the newborn baby. 

The hustle and bustle immediately postpartum 

The PURE lacking of autonomy and biological normality’s in labor, birth, and postpartum.  

I could go on but it is impeding my energy.  

Image from Instagram

Nothing about any of the above or the actions occurring in this setting are physiological. It starts out medicalized from the second mom walks in. Putting plastic bands on her arms, needle in her arm, monitoring bands on her belly, and whatever else they can deem necessary. Almost as if there is some sort of emergency occurring, not a biological function. 

Image from Youtube

I am not comfortable with this, and that’s okay! Many women aren’t comfortable with unassisted birth either, I’m sure. Seeing something I know is often better off untouched, being touched and turned into a medicalized event, brings me so much anxiety. I stay away from settings that can contort my view of birth, give me anxiety, or are likely to leave me with secondary trauma and stress. The medicalized birth setting is not for me, I simply am not best fit to serve in this setting. It literally makes my skin crawl. 

 
*NOTE: This is simply my perspective and feelings surrounding hospital birth. I do not need your agreement or understanding to make them valid. I also know that not all of the list above occurs in all facility birth, no need to point out the obvious. 

Image from Google

Birthing Self Confidence – How your Birth Empowers Life Going Forward

It is beautiful watching women evolve through pregnancy and child birth. It is no secret that birth is transformational, though most have no idea how significant this transformation is. Most have no idea that their birth choices, especially place of birth, can impact their entire life going forward.

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Photo of Kara-Louise Hoppo and baby, freebirthed Jan. 2nd 2019

Some women leave their birth experience feeling traumatized. Many spend their postpartum trying to heal from their experience. Some left with PTSD for the rest of their life. This can impact postpartum, causing many women to become depressed or experience postpartum depression and/or anxiety.

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Photo of Hannah Lee and baby freebirthed on May 24th 2017

After a traumatic birth, many women feel broken, as if their body failed them or is faulty compared to the average woman. When really, it was not her body that failed. Most importantly, a traumatic birth can impact the way mom and baby bond. No good!

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Photo of Anonymous with baby freebirthed on August 1st 2018

Some women, on the other hand plan their birth. They self educate on pregnancy and physiological birth process, get familiar with what to expect in birth, they may or may not hire a provider, only after diligently questioning the provider to get a sense of their view of birth. They choose a location that feels safest to them, and they manifest a positive and healthy birth.

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Photo of myself (Desirae) and my first freebirth baby June 6th 2017

They experience their empowered birth, whatever that is for the woman, a planned cesarean or freebirth and everything in between! They are then left with something a woman cannot gather elsewhere. The empowerment and invincibility a woman carries for the rest of her days, after bringing forth life in empowerment, is irreplaceable.

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Photo of Anonymous and baby freebirthed on May 9th 2019

This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed as a Birthkeeper of unassisted and physiological birth. I see timid, modest, and ambivalent women blossom into unassailable, indomitable, secure, assertive, and self confident women. Women who used to be passive or acquiescent, transform into assertive, tenacious beings. Unafraid to stand ground and speak their own truth!

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Photo of Danielle Snelling and baby on August 11th 2015

I see women who previously did not see their worth go on to gain security in their own self and hold themselves on higher ground. These women transform into invincible powerhouses that will carry on through out the rest of their life. They are empowered – this is what empowerment is!

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Photo of Treva Ansbach and baby freebirthed on December 16th 2018

Birth is such a crucial experience, knowing what to expect and making educated choices for your birth is important! Your confidence and knowledge surrounding birth plays a huge roll on outcome.

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Photo of Jordan Cloyd and baby born April 3rd 2019

You do not want to be in labor, uneducated, just doing as instructed by a medical provider. That is how you end up with a traumatic experience. Be informed, know what to expect, choose your birth location and birth team with vigilance and diligence.

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Photo of Gloria and identical babies, freebirthed on March 9th 2019

What you choose absolutely will impact the rest of your life, set yourself up for success! As Ina May states, “Wherever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.”

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Photo of myself after my second freebirth on June 15th 2019

All women pictured I know personally and found empowerment in their birthing experience. Many of the births I was present for or showed up there after and I can tell you first hand, transformation was apparent, even in the moments immediately postpartum. These women are empowered for life, and you can be too!

Find out how you can empower yourself and other women to achieve this happiness and empowerment by visiting our freebirth course. And if you’d like to help other mothers achieve this empowerment, don’t forget to have a look at our birthkeeper course.
Be the change in birth, help women find this place of bliss and life time fulfillment of empowerment. Supporting women as they go through the journey and transformation of pregnancy and birth!
Join us – you won’t regret it!

Questions To Ask A Potential Midwife

Recently I have seen a rise in people claiming to be a home-birth midwife that are not trained or equipped to provide the services they offer – all across the US. This has resulted in multiple fetal deaths, maternal deaths/harm, and unnecessary birth trauma. These ‘midwives’ are something to shy away from – here is how you can avoid them for your own birth.

Midwives are not interchangeable; no two are the same. Most serve with a heart of true passion and care; some serve solely with a wallet to fill or ego to boost. Some will walk with women throughout their entire journey, and some will bail on them for various reasons. Some midwives undergo years of training/attending/learning/practicing. Some claim to be a midwife but has nowhere near enough training to do so. It is crucial to interview properly to make sure your midwife is a good fit for you. Don’t hire a woman who will be ‘a deer in the head lights’ when you or your baby needs assistance.

Keep in mind, a licensed midwife does NOT mean a well-trained and educated one. More often than not, it only limits how they can serve you. In my experience, it is the licensed midwives who can be fear ridden, as taught in their medicalized schooling – not all though! Again, none are the same. It should never be a degree or license you are looking for. You want one who is there to serve YOU, not serving the state or medicalized model of birth.

Here are a few questions that would be great to ask a possible Midwife. Be sure she has answers, if you have questions that go unanswered – you should not take this lightly. She should not be hired. Never ‘settle’ on a Midwife.

  1. What training have you had? Schools, degrees, certificates, preceptorships, internships, etc.?
    (You can look up their schooling history, degree, and certificates online. Do not take anything for face value. Do your research before signing a contract. Again, some midwives do lie about qualifications. If they attended internships/preceptorships, ask to reach out to their preceptors. Some are fired or let go before completion and choose not to disclose this information. You may want to know why.)
  2. Are you trained/certified in neonatal resuscitation? (You can ask to see their NRP certification card as proof. Yes, many birth workers do lie about their trainings!)
  3. How many times have you had to resuscitate in your career?
  4. How many births have you attended?
  5. Where can I find reviews for your services? (You want to be sure you hire someone who is backed by past clients. If she does not have reviews, this could be a red flag)
  6. How long have you been attending births as a primary midwife? (This asks how long they have been attending on their own, without a preceptor – someone guiding them)
  7. How many births do you attend per month?
  8. Do you have a backup midwife? Will I meet her? (Every midwife should have a backup. You should ask to meet this backup prior to labor if you do not want a stranger possibly walking into your home on birthing day)
  9. Do you have an assistant or will you be attending alone? (Some bring an assistant and some charge more for the assistant)
  10. How many times have you had to transfer during labor? (A midwife’s transfer rate says a great deal about her ability to serve women)
  11. Do you stay with mom once she is transferred? (Many midwives will transfer mom to the hospital then leave once she is admitted. This likely isn’t something you want, be sure it will not occur)
  12. How many times have you had to transfer mom/baby postpartum?
  13. Will you attend twin, breech, and VBAC births? Why or why not?
  14. What complications and emergencies have you seen and how were they handled? (i.e. prematurity, prolonged labor, fetal distress, breech, bleeding, dystocia)
  15. What circumstances/conditions would rule out your attendance? (In many states, especially with licensed midwives, they are required to drop you from their care for many unnecessary reasons. Do not get to 37 weeks and find out she is dropping you because your baby chooses to present breech. If she is not competent, or holds her license above your births wellbeing – she might be a MEDwife and might leave you hanging with no care or reimbursement.)
  16. Can you list each scenario that could possibly risk me out of your care?(Know ahead of time EVERY reason you could be released from her care. Depending on state, the midwife’s knowledge, her licensing, and her competence, there are many reasons they can drop you from care. Things that are not in your control Be aware of EVERY possibility before signing a contract)
  17. What complications/emergencies are you prepared to handle?
  18. Under what circumstances do you transfer to a hospital? (Some midwives are known to transfer women for silly reasons that are not science based. Be sure your midwife will not bail on you when you are vulnerable.)
  19. What percentage/exactly how many clients have had cesareans in your practice?
  20. Will you accompany us through a hospital birth if one was necessary?
  21. Do you offer prenatal care? What is your schedule for visits?
  22. What is included in prenatal care? (i.e. lab work, urine checks, blood pressure, fetal heart tones, fundal measurement, baby’s positioning, & vaginal exams & PAP)
  23. What type of nutrition counseling do you provide?
  24. Do you visit the home at any time before the birth?
  25. Am I required to complete any kind of testing? (Some Midwives require specific testings or they will drop you from care. This is not autonomy and likely not something you want to sign up for. You should have complete control and say over your prenatal care)
  26. Am I required to attend a certain amount of prenatal appointments?
  27. What happens if I refuse appointments, procedures, or suggested medications? (If they have an issue with your having say over your pregnancy and refusing XYZ, run the other way)
  28. When do you like to be called once labor has begun?
  29. When do you come to the home once labor has begun?
  30. What equipment do you bring and what must we provide? (You can tell a great deal about a midwife and the care she supplies by what she carries in her bag. Does she carry herbs and tinctures or does she simply carry Pitocin and oxygen. Know what she will be showing up with! Know what you are comfortable with being used.)
  31. What emergency equipment do you provide?
  32. How do you view the father’s role?
  33. What is your role during labor? birth?
  34. How do you feel about sibling participation in birth?
  35. What non-drug measures do you suggest for pain relief?
  36. How often do you listen to the baby’s heart rate during labor?
  37. How often do you check the mother’s blood pressure?
  38. Do you require vaginal checks at all, ever? (Vaginal checks can be harmful and mean nothing in regards to progression during labor. If she requires vaginal checks, she might not be a good fit. That would be a red flag that she does not support autonomy.)
  39. What is considered fetal distress in your opinion?
  40. What do you consider prolonged labor/birth pushing?
  41. Do you have preferences for labor/ birth positions? (This answer should always be “It’s the mother’s choice”. If she requires you to lay in a certain position, this is a concern.)
  42. How do you feel about water-birth? Have you attended any?
  43. What measures do you take to prevent tearing?
  44. Will you allow partner to “catch the baby” instead of you?
  45. Do you check for tears after delivery?
  46. Do you have local anesthetic & suturing equipment for this repair to be done without going to the hospital? Do you suture all tears or only major?
  47. How do you prevent/treat excessive postpartum bleeding?
  48. How do you handle the baby immediately after birth?
  49. How long do you stay after the birth? What do you check at this time?
  50. What is your schedule for follow-up care?
  51. Do you do the newborn screening tests?
  52. What are your thoughts regarding circumcision?
  53. How is the filing of the birth certificate handled?
  54. Do you routinely give me a copy of all my records after the birth?
  55. How much do you charge for your services?
  56. What services are not included in this fee?
  57. Do insurance plans cover your fee? Do you accept direct payment?
  58. When do you want the full fee paid?
  59. Are there any refunds if I risk out of care? (I see it occur so often that a mom “risks out” of care and mom is left with no midwife and no refund. 7K+ down the drain at no fault of her own, and no home birth to show for it. Know about her refund policy and make sure you agree before signing!)

Final Thoughts

Determine the midwife’s willingness to be open to communicate, explain things that you don’t understand, and willingness to let you make your own decisions. If she is unable to answer all questions without hesitation, be wary.

Be sure to reach out to your local birth community and ask around. Some providers will present themselves to be something they are not. Their abilities will reflect in their past client’s experiences. Read all reviews, ask questions.

Hiring a midwife is not a simple choice, this plays a HUGE role on birth outcome. Knowing the difference between a CNM, CPM, and traditional midwife is also helpful in making a midwife selection. Again, Midwives are not interchangeable – none are the same. Do not settle, find one that is a perfect fit for you!!

Why I will not Attend a Hospital Birth as a Birthkeeper

One of my largest biases when it comes to birth is location.
I am very biased on where a woman delivers her child – so much so, I refuse to attend births in a facility setting. I have no problem admitting this and speaking on why.

I’m sure many of the main stream birth providers will be angry about this as many are trained to accept and assist all walks of life, and that’s okay!

I personally choose to acknowledge and respect my biases in respect for the women I serve and for myself. Bias is something I previously spoke on if you are interested in learning more about it.

I (Desirae) am personally really not about hospital birth. I’ve had 2 myself and I am aware of what they have to offer. I know that once you get there, you put your birth into someone else’s hands, and with this, I do not agree.
This is not empowering.
This is not biological.
This is a disservice.

Why Do I Stay Away from Hospital Births?

You could have a perfect hospital birth that goes just the way you want! Sure, I’ve seen it! The issue with that is you won’t know for sure until delivery day. Your provider might respect you but then again, they might not. They might feel like an episiotomy is needed (when it is not), and that will be happening no matter what you say because they write it off as “medically necessary.” Say “NO” all you want, it doesn’t always stop them. I’ve seen this happen as well.

You can press charges, but good luck with that…

I’m not about secondary trauma either, I’ll pass. You literally couldn’t pay me to watch a woman endure the abuse that occurs during many hospital births. I will not stand next to a woman while a doctor reaches in to check her cervix when she is begging them to please not. I do not care to experience a woman being told “You must get the epidural or we will simply take you back for a cesarean”.

What a disruption to her birth energy! No thank you. That is NOT what I’m about to wake up for at 2 AM to go witness. I’d rather sleep. “Why is she there in the first place?”, is all that comes to mind.

When a law suit is drawn up over the abusive malpractice, I’d be dragged into it. Again, no thank you. I already know how those outcomes go.

I am not about trying to negotiate with a medically minded provider over their poor choices. It’s a waste of time trying to speak to someone with a “God complex” that feels they are most knowledgeable, I’ve done it. Their main goal (for most) is “keep my license” not, “follow mama’s birth plan”. Birth plans are nothing shy of a request during a hospital birth. Keeping licensure will always trump a mothers desires.

I do not attend births as a means of living. I do this on the side to assist women who feel empowered and trust in their body and baby. I only assist those who see birth for the spiritual and natural process that it is. I’m not about defending a birthing mother who does not trust her body enough to stay home. If she has fear, that means she has more research to do. Research is the answer. Not a hospital birth.

I always mention how insane it is that low risk women flock to hospitals to birth their young. Going to a place of emergency for a natural bodily function? Where’s the sense in that? Should I be showing up at a hospital so I can take a poop? I mean, I might get a hemorrhoid or get a tear in my anus. I should go there just to “be safe”, right?

I have no desire to support someone who doesn’t trust in their body’s ability. If you have fear, you need more knowledge, not more unnecessary assistance.

There are birth attendants and doulas that will attend those medically minded hospital births. There are many women who will attend hospital births and don’t mind watching the activity that occurs there.

I am not one.

I Love Home Birth

There is definitely a provider for everyone and I feel that is glorious! As for me, I support the small crowd of women who are empowered and see home birth as the only logical option.

Sometimes there are complications in the birth process, I get that, but let’s get back to the numbers… less than 5%. I feel hospital births happen out of fear. Fear from the birthing woman or her partner. It could also be because that is what the birthing mama was conditioned to believe was necessary!

Fear has no place in a soon-to-be mama’s heart. If she has fear, that is ok and normal by all means! She just needs more research. Not a hospital birth.

Hospitals have zero place in low risk births. If mama can’t trust herself at home, I can not assist her. & that’s ok! Ask someone else.

*I will also note that in the case of emergency, I would transfer with my clients. I will never put my desires above her emergency needs. I do know when to pull the plug and have zero problem doing so. I would go into that facility and defend her like a guard dog, as if my life depended on it. I’d literally push a medical doctor out of the way and run into the hall demanding a new one if mama and I did not agree with their practice. My passion runs deep. My past experiences would be set aside for her. In a true emergency, a hospital birth is the best bet. It can save lives, I will not deny. I’m simply saying that if a low risk mama doesn’t trust her body and baby enough, or realizing the safest place for a healthy birth is at home, I can not assist her; I am not the best fit.

-Desirae

The Science Behind Constant Electronic Fetal Monitoring

Did you have those two straps put on your belly when you were in labor? One monitoring contractions and the other monitoring fetal tone? Or, maybe you had an NST (Non Stress Test) done to “make sure everything was okay”? Did you know that these constant monitoring systems are not necessary? Were you aware that they are actually showing to be harmful in low risk pregnancies?

Let’s talk about it!

What is Electronic Fetal Monitoring?

Electronic Fetal Monitoring is an ultrasonic machine monitoring baby’s heart rate while a pressure sensor is monitoring mom’s contractions. The fetal monitoring creates a baseline and records how it changes with a contraction. The maternal monitoring tracks the duration and frequency of mom’s contractions. There are other variations of EFM (Electronic Fetal Monitoring), but we will stick to these two for today as they are most common. It became a ‘thing’ in hospitals in the 1970’s, without ever really being proven safe. It has been used ever since, in about 90% of births held in facilities! They have even gone as far as creating monitors that are wireless and waterproof so you can wear them in the shower. Let’s also note that these new updated monitors have very little research completed on them. A technological breakthrough or a disservice to a physiological function?

Studies completed show the slew of complications associated with constant EFM. Increased chances of cesarean, vacuum, and/or forceps delivery are a few of the interventions connected with continuous EFM use. And unfortunately, all these interventions carry a risk of serious birth injuries.

When it comes to the impact of EFM, statistics show us that cesarean rates in the US went from 5% to 32% from 1970 (when EFM began)-2016. And, coincidentally, “non-reassuring fetal heart tones” are the second most common reason for first-time cesareans in the U.S. – you don’t say?![R]

NST testing is also a form of constant EFM. They are called Non-Stress Tests because “it doesn’t inflict stress on the fetus”, even though this claim has not been proven. There is not a scenario where an NST would be the best option, in my opinion. If there were concerns of decreased fetal movement or fetal distress, an ultrasound would give a more accurate conclusion than that of an NST, especially if the possible issue would be related to oxygen/placenta/cord complication. Of course, that is merely my opinion. More on NST another day![R]

What are the Complications of EFM?

In 2009 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a suggestion stating that “Low-risk women should not be candidates for continuous EFM. It does not improve long-term outcomes, and it increases operative deliveries”. Again, this began in the 1970’s with zero research or studies completed. Women were not informed that they were literal guinea pigs, trying something with zero safety studies. To this day, evidence on our updated technologies are not proven safe for the baby during labor.[R]

Why are we going this route? Especially when we have options of intermittent monitoring, such as fetal doppler and fetal stethoscope use!? There has only been one study completed thus far, as far as I am aware, comparing EFM use during labor to intermittent monitoring using a doppler or fetal stethoscope. The outcome was insane! The EFM group of constant monitoring detected 54% more abnormal fetal tones than either of the other methods. As a result, 28% more of those in the EFM group were subjected to a cesarean than in the intermittent monitoring group. The system is over active and creates more fear and concern than is necessary.[R]

Also, when evaluating an article from The Journal of Perinatal Education, I found “The indiscriminate use of EFM in the labor room is not improving outcomes, and is actually causing harm to healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Employing a low-tech, high-touch approach needs to be the main philosophy while providing nursing care to most laboring women.”[R]

So, why is EFM Pushed So Hard?

Why is EFM used in facilities without being proven safe? Here are 7 reasons why:

  1. Liability
  2. Lack of resources
  3. Time
  4. Marketing
  5. Training
  6. Nurses views on monitoring
  7. Lack of leadership from professional organizations
    These are elaborated in great detail through Evidence Based Birth.

What is quite eye opening in my opinion, is that in other countries such as Canada or the UK (where health insurance is not a thing), they do not suggest constant electronic fetal monitoring for low risk women. This leads me to believe that revenue may be a factor in the equation.

Final Thoughts

How does constant fetal monitoring make you feel? Do you feel safe using these “tools” during labor? Does the idea of being strapped with bands on your contracting abdomen during labor sound like a brilliant idea to you? Especially when it has never been proven to improve the outcome, but likely worsen outcome in many cases. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone touching me in labor. I do not even want any clothes touching me, let alone tight bands strapped around my belly that is contracting every few minutes.

Please research this topic in depth before consenting to its use, be sure your choice is fully informed. If you would like to learn more, I would suggest checking out the links below. The link to Evidence Based Birth sharing on EFM covers the topic in great detail, I’d start there. The last link is loaded with many studies on EFM as well. Make your own educated choice! There are a couple of other really good articles linked below.

Electronic Fetal Monitoring: The Risks – Birth Injury Guide
Fetal Monitoring: Creating a Culture of Safety with Informed Choice – NCBI

How To Have A Gentle C-Section

When you picture a cesarean, what words come to mind first?

Cold. Quiet. Bright. Scary. Scrubs. Scalpel. Shaky. Drugged Up. Curtain. No Skin to Skin. Sore. Inactive. 

But wait! Ending up with a C-Section, whether by emergency or by choice, does not mean that you have to miss out on being an active participant in your birth!

What is a Gentle C-Section?

While a gentle cesarean is not going to do much to change the postpartum recovery, it is still a major surgery, it can reduce the trauma or disappointment you may experience, if a c-section was not in your expected birth plan. And even if it was, how neat is it to have a more active and informed surgery, right?!

A gentle cesarean is something that should absolutely be discussed with your provider prior to you going into labor, whether you are planning to deliver at home or planning a scheduled c-section, everyone needs to be on board and knowledgable about your intentions in the event of a cesarean happening! OB/GYNs that do not routinely do cesareans need to be informed on their role during the cesarean and what things will be different, which will not be much on their part honestly – just a little extra time and flexibility. If you have a doula, she can aide you in advocating for your gentle cesarean, as you will be numb, but if not make sure your partner or support person is fully informed on what exactly it is that you are aiming for.

What Makes a Gentle C-Section Different?

First things first, you will still be prepped like every cesarean mama would be; you will need to sanitize your body to prevent your opening from becoming infected, and everyone coming into the room will be scrubbed up from head to toe to keep germs to a minimum. You will be given a form of pain medication in your spine to numb you; your best bet is to ask for a spinal block instead of the epidural or general anesthesia. This will be a shorter lived pain medication (about two hours) that will get you well through the surgery, but not linger as long as the epidural and generally does not have as many side effects.

Insist on a small, low transverse scar that is to be double sutured. If this is a repeat c-section, make sure they remove built up scar tissue before suturing, so you are less likely to experience placenta accreta on your scar tissue in future pregnancies. This will increase your likelihood of a successful VBAC, if that is potentially a future desire of yours. Babies can squeeze out of a hole the size of a bagel, trust me, they do not need to cut you from hip to hip.

Leave the shawl down or ask for a transparent sheet to go in between you and the OB/GYN operating, so that you can see everything happening! Ask the OB/GYN or a nurse to talk you through the procedure and everything that is going on to help keep you fully engaged in your baby’s entrance.

Music may play during the birth to encourage a loving and soft environment. If possible, you can request that the temperature be warmed and the lights reduced just for a few minutes as baby emerges. Of course, when the OB/GYN is opening and stitching you back up, you will want them to have full visual. Have monitors turned silent and away from your face so you can be relaxed and at peace.

Allow baby’s head to be pulled to the top of the opening and turned towards you, to emerge slowly and gently. If possible, you or your partner can do this part, and still deliver your own baby! They can still do the breast crawl this way or just be pulled up to your chest for skin to skin. Delayed cord clamping should absolutely still be an option and you can almost always keep your placenta. They should allow the placenta a few moments to attempt to detach naturally, before pulling or manually removing, and it should be removed gently as to not cause any damage to your uterus.

Simply have them place the placenta in a bowl or container next to your bed for delayed cord clamping and keeping the placenta. It should not be allowed to go to pathology, except for a small sliver, if they absolutely must test.

Baby should remain skin to skin with you or your partner while you are stitched back up. After they stitch you, be sure to ask for them to swab your vagina for vaginal seeding, this provides baby with probiotics and healthy culture from your vagina that they would normally get passing through the birth canal. Baby should not be washed, especially with soap! Rub their vernix and any other fluids into their skin.

If baby must be separated from you for any reason, have someone else provide skin to skin, or at minimum stay with them, especially if you are declining vaccinations, or eye ointment.

Check out this video as an example of a gentle cesarean: