What does a positive birth look like? (And how you can get one for yourself…)

Today’s blog is by Steph, awesome hypnobirthing teacher and mother of one. Her courses take place in and around Southend.

In one sense there is no answer to that question, so often I hear women say that the only positive births are natural, or home births, those without drugs etc… THIS IS BULLSHIT! A positive birth is anything a woman needs it to be… it could be an elective ceasarian, a ‘post dates’ induction, a home waterbirth surrounded by all people you love, an attempted VBAC ending in an EMCS, a birth with just by your midwife or HCPs present, or any number of variables in between.

There is no one perfect or ideal type of birth.  We women are wildly varying individuals so of course it makes sense that what we want and need from our birth experience’s will be wildly varied too. What really makes a birth positive is how you FEEL about it, not so much the physical experience.
So no matter how much or little intervention you have, how early or late your baby arrives, what drugs you need or where baby’s place of birth is. If you are listened to, respected, treated with dignity, and know and understand why everything that happens to yourself or your baby during the course of your labour was needed, you’re going to walk away knowing you had the best, most positive experience you could have – even if your labour veers away from your original plan, or your original plan includes medical intervention.
Sometimes birth is not a straightforward process, and we are SO lucky to live in an age and place where medical help is available to those who need it – interventions which most of us are generally keen to avoid, can be lifesaving and essential when used well. So despite strongly believing that birth is largely a natural process not an emergency or medical event, I know that for some women and babies (even those initially planning an intervention free birth) that is exactly what they need to walk away healthy and feeling positive about their experience. Know that a positive birth is NOT the same as an intervention free birth!!
It can also be really hard sometimes if you were feeling confident about the type of birth you feel is best for yourself and your baby, but you are made -intentionally or not- to feel like you are making uneducated or poor decisions (which by the way is extremely unlikely if your choices are going against the grain – most women who choose to decline or postpone intervention, choose to birth outside of a medical setting or in the face of medical advice, have extensively researched the safety of their choices beforehand and will often be more educated about the process of birth overall) and although it can often feel easier to bow down to the pressure from ‘those in the know’, be confident in your choices if you know they are sound. If you’ve asked all the questions you need to, made sure the answers are relevant to your individual situation, checked you have both sides to each option, spoken to an impartial source such as AIMS if needed. Then take whatever time you can to mull over your options and be confident in your decisions. If things do take a turn from your original plan, repeat the above process again (and again if needed!) until your baby is here. If you do, I can guarantee you will feel happier about everything that has happened when you look back than if you followed advice which felt wrong for you or didn’t have the research to back up its safety / health benefits.
And remember when taking advice, that people experiences shape their expectations and belief systems – for example those who only see complex medical births, will strongly believe that birth is inherently dangerous, when for the majority it is a straightforward process which requires little medical help. It worth asking more than one care provider for an opinion if you aren’t 100% sure on something you’ve been told. You may find someone else sees the same situation completely differently and can offer alternative options.
There is so much more I could say here, the support of your birth partner, use of doulas, the environment you birth in etc… For more information on how to achieve a birth which leaves you feeling on top of the world, check out our private and group hypnobirthing classes and pregnancy relaxation groups and birth your way – like an absolute mother!! 
You can find out more about Steph here, and our courses here. Steph currently has a couple of slots left for private hypnobirthing in the Southend area in August, and similar for her relaxation group on Sundays in Leigh on Sea.

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