Many doctors have places to go and other patients to see, so they like to move things along. But guess what: if you’re pregnant, you’re not sick — you’re not even a patient. You are a client of the doctor, moving through a natural and extraordinary transition in life. If you choose to accept a bit of intervention during the birthing process because you feel it is the right choice, I think that’s great.
As a doula, my frustration enters when interventions are pushed on women that do not want them — women who are comfortable and content with the progression of their labor, but have overzealous care providers pushing unnecessary needles, apparatuses, and drugs on them because the care provider wants to “get that baby out” pronto.
I don’t believe these care providers push medical assistance on birthing women to complicate their situation; I believe they do it because it’s what they know, and it’s what they were trained for. Many obstetricians who practice in hospitals were primarily educated to manage births that are flush with special circumstances — and that’s fabulous, I’m so grateful women who need that specialized care can receive it.
But, if you’re an expecting mama who has no medical need for intervention and would like tools to stall or prevent interventions if they are pushed on you during birth, these tips are for you, sister.
1. Ask questions
Ask the care providers recommending intervention about why they think the intervention is necessary. If their answer does not make sense to you, ask another question. Keep going with the questions until you resonate with the answers and feel that you have enough information to make an informed and intuitive decision. They cannot force you to accept any intervention — they cannot.
But, if after the thorough series of questions and answers you feel good about the decision to accept an intervention and feel it is the best option for both you and your baby (not just the care provider), then go for it, holding on to the knowingness that you put in adequate work to ensure you are going down the path that feels right to you.
2. Ask to try natural means of repositioning baby, inducing labor, or pain relief
Many of the interventions offered relate to a baby that is not in the optimal position, speeding up labor, or pain reduction. Request the time to use natural means to reposition baby (by utilizing a Rebozo, lunges, or specific positions), speed up labor (via walking, resting, or nipple stimulation), or reduce your pain (through deep breathing, pressure points, light touch massage, or a warm bath).
Intervention can beget more intervention. If medical assistance is not required and does not sound appealing to you, stand up for your right to try natural methods before transitioning into the artificial.
3. Ask to go to the bathroom
People don’t like to bother you when you’re using the bathroom — even if a baby is coming out of you. If care providers are trying to fling unneeded interventions your way, go to the bathroom and stay there awhile. This is a quiet place where you can think, free of monitors and needles. Sitting on the toilet is also a nice and natural way to stimulate labor, as your body is used to opening and releasing in that position.
4. Ask for antibiotics if the care provider’s concern is infection
Many care providers and birthing facilities have criteria in regards to how long they will let you go, without significant progress in your labor, after your water has released. If they begin to express a desire to introduce intervention because they are worried about the risk of infection, request antibiotics that will minimize your chances of infection. Antibiotics are much less invasive than the effects of an artificial hormone like Pitocin, which is commonly used to cause or strengthen labor contractions.
5. You can always just say no
Hey mama, it’s your right to say NO to anything you feel uncomfortable about. Again, if your pregnancy is free of complications, you are not a patient but a client. You’re paying your care providers to support you in the unexpected instance of a complication or if you request medical support; if those conditions are not present, they should be patient and supportive observers.
Know you are going to have the birth you are meant to have. With thorough prenatal preparation, supportive caregivers, and trust in your body and intuition, you will have your perfectly unique birth — even if it looks much different than your birth preferences.
And hey girl, intervention is not a dirty word. If it is an option you have fully vetted, feel intuitively good about, and are choosing from a place of empowerment versus fear, it may allow your birthing experience to bloom into the journey it was meant to be.
When navigating the intervention-full waters of childbirth, it is my hope that you hold a hearty dose of empowerment, trust (in your self!), and self-compassion in your mind, body, and spirit.More On