I’m going to switch gears from posture for a little while and talk birth. The next little series of posts will be about pregnancy and delivery since I happen to know a lot of mommies-to-be at the moment! Are you pregnant or do you know someone who is? Read on!
The delivery of my first-born was not a dream. Actually, it was awful. I won’t get into the details because that story is probably worth a post of its own – but to add insult to injury, that delivery really made me question my body’s wisdom. I felt really badly about that birth and probably about myself for months (if not years) afterwards.
Then, as a physio I started working in the area of women’s health. Although I have a special interest in pre- and post-natal care, I do also treat women across the lifespan so I’ve heard a lot of birth stories. I also honestly believe that birth stories stick with a woman in a way that most other memories don’t come close. They are pivotal points in a woman’s life. And yet as I continued to hear these birth stories (whether they were recent or 10, 20 or 50 years ago), one burning question kept nagging at the back of my mind:
Why do some women have such amazing and seemingly “easy” births?
Why do others seem to have a much more difficult time? Why do some ladies end up with terrible birth traumas?
Since I treat a lot of birth trauma (3rd and 4th degree perineal tears, episiotomies, C-sections and whatever else a woman might consider physically traumatic) along with post-partum incontinence and prolapse, these questions are professional. I have long believed that our system puts far too much emphasis on band-aid healthcare solutions and not near enough focus on prevention. Never did I think there would be a black and white answer to bring about the perfect birth, but I started to wonder: was there anything I could do to help my patients have a less challenging or a less traumatic physical delivery? Were there other things women could be doing themselves?
But all along, the questions were also personal. After my first birth experience, I started to do my own research about birth outcomes. Was there anything I could have done differently? Did I have the power to change the outcome if there was a ‘”next time”?
And then, 4 years later, I got pregnant again. The questions were definitely personal. My first delivery was a C-section and I really wanted a vaginal delivery this time around. And if I was going for a vaginal delivery, why not aim for the best birth ever?
So, over the next few posts, I will try to share with you some of the gems I have uncovered… some of the things that have helped my patients, and lots of the things that helped me. I’m actually looking to put a class together sometime in the new year where I would like to teach these gems to expectant moms and their birth teams, so I will let you know when I begin recruiting participants for that! I’m hoping to track birth outcomes and birth satisfaction after the class, and then we can start to do some research. The good news is there are indeed gems out there. Gems and SKILLS – things you can do!
***Let me just add one little caveat: in no way am I guaranteeing these gems will give you the perfect birth! Birth is incredibly complex, and sometimes things happen out of anyone’s control. But I am going to stick to my good ol’ girl guide motto and say it is better to “Be Prepared”. I really believe some of these tips will help a woman’s body to be better prepared for the big event that she will remember always!
And isn’t an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?