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Showing posts from February, 2013

Stop Googling Your Birth Options, And Hop Up On The Bed, Dear

Here's something every pregnant woman might like to know: during labour, you will be given a routine vaginal exam every four hours, and this will be used to check your cervical dilation, and to chart your progress. Your midwife might mention this at your antenatal appointments, but here's what she probably won't tell you - the exams are optional, you can refuse them, and unless there seems to be a problem or you actually want to know how dilated you are, it's probably better that you do, since this invasion of your privacy can actually bring you out of your Labourland trance, making your 'mammalian self' feel threatened and slowing or halting the very progress they are trying to check.

Learning about the various procedures, such as 'V.E's', that are likely to take place during your labour and birth can help you to make truly informed decisions about whether to accept or refuse them. It can allow you to think about the kind of labour you really want…

My Search for Birth Freedom in a Climate of Fear and Mistrust

Every generation likes to think they're free, and often only the clarity of hindsight reveals just how restricted they actually were. My mother, for example, thought, like many women in the 1970's, that it was the very pinnacle of freedom to have her labour induced, to be able to choose on which day of the week her baby came, and to be in a hospital which offered 'state-of-the-art' care for her and her baby. Looking back on it now, she can see just how far from freedom she truly was: shaved, enema'd and pethidined, with no formal talk of consent, and later, ushered sternly back to bed by Matron as she wandered the hospital corridors, drug-hazy and looking for the baby they had taken from her.

Nearly forty years later, that baby - me - is pregnant for the third time, and wondering - am I free? Do I have full freedom of choice to have the birth I really want and need? Can I feel assured that anything that is 'done to me' in the name of medical science will be…