Monday, 22 August 2011

The Business of Being Born

How you get from this... this

really does matter. 
And anyone who says differently has not done their homework! 

Sadly, the amount of information easily available to pregnant women has been shockingly meagre, until now. Enter The Business of Being Born

This movie should be mandatory for everyone of reproductive age. Men and woman need to be be equally well-informed about the process of birth, the options available, and the reasons why some choices actually are better than others for getting the birth experience you really want.

A woman's body was designed to give birth naturally without any medical intervention, including drugs. Most pregnant women you speak to will tell you they want a natural birth. However, most woman are also afraid of the pain of labour. What few know is that fear actually causes pain in labour. Ok, I know this is beginning to sound a bit fruity, but stick with me!

Let's take a look at other mammals. When an animal is in labour, and becomes afraid (perhaps due to a predator approaching) the fight/flight response kicks in. Massive amounts of adrenalin are released into the labouring female's system. The adrenalin has two effects. Firstly it slows down the progress of labour, and secondly, it actually causes the cervix to close up again. This protects both the mother and baby, giving her a chance to escape and find a new safe spot to continue her labour. Well folks, it's the same with humans. When a woman is afraid during labour, adrenalin is released, in effect working against the progress of labour.

So, because women are not taught how to manage their fear/pain during labour they are only too glad when the drugs arrive. Unfortunately, this is just the start of a domino effect of interventions. You have the epidural, so labour slows down, so you are given pitocin, which produces contractions that are stronger and longer than would naturally be produced. Eventually the pain overwhelms the epidural, so you get a top-up, but then you need more pitocin, and on and on it goes until the ptiocin contractions are so long and strong that they send your baby into foetal distress due to a lack of blood supply/oxygen - next thing you know you are getting a C-section and everyone is saying 'Thank God for modern medicine'.  This is not the birth that most women want, nor do they want episiotomies or vacuum and forceps deliveries.

If you know what kind of birth experience you want, but your not sure how to get it - start with this movie. The business of being born really just introduces a lot of the important information you need to be aware of, but it is easy to watch and very accessible. Take what you see and do you own research, you will be amazed at how much control you really do have as a woman over your birth experience.

It is up to women to take back our birth!

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