What are my values around this birth?
When it comes to choosing a birthing model, there is no wrong option, only the one that is the best fit for you. Even if you have already engaged with a particular model, it is not too late to consider your options and optimise your care. You might even feel to change at some point throughout the pregnancy. Your journey to motherhood is very personal. Your values and objectives may differ greatly from the pregnant woman next to you. They may also change from pregnancy to pregnancy. These are some questions I would encourage you to consider when planning your care.
(This is part 2 on this topic- For a better description of Models of Care CLICK HERE).
Am I low Risk?
I really don’t like the idea of boxing women into a category but for some this is an important consideration. There are certain things that will be screened when you book in to determine whether you have a low-risk or a high-risk pregnancy. This is done to ensure that you are given the most appropriate care. Most women won’t need medical management and doctors overseeing their care; however, some women will, based on their medical or obstetric history, or information we may know about the baby. There are lots of factors that are considered. But if you do not have any pre-existing conditions, have not had a previous complicated pregnancy, and your baby has not shown signs of concern, then you are likely to be considered low risk. Note though, this may change as your pregnancy progresses.
Do I want continuity of Care?
Do you think having the same practitioner each visit, attending your birth, and then postpartum care will give you comfort? Research tells us this is one of the key components to having a positive birth outcome: having trusted carers that know you and can advocate for your needs. If your chosen model does not offer continuity of care, you can still consider the additional options outlined in the ‘Models of Care Blog’, to compliment your care with similar continuity (for example a doula).
Do I really want a natural birth?
If you are passionate about a normal, natural birth, then consider care options that will best position you for that. A birth in a hospital means being surrounded with staff that are often working with high risk women. The environment lends itself towards intervention and management as a result. A home birth or a birth centre will typically promote an environment for normal, natural birth. This is not to say that you can’t have a wonderful natural birth in hospital. Having good communication, informed choices, and a good team around you is key.
Do I want to have pain relief and intervention readily available to me?
If you feel more comforted by the idea of doctors close by, readily available intervention, and medical pain relief options, then a hospital birth is probably your best choice.
Would I pay for my care?
Not everyone is in a position to pay for maternity care. Fortunately, however, we live in a country that allows us to birth without a large cost. But some might opt to pay for their preferred model of care and chosen practitioner. In this way, they are assured of getting a birth that meets their objectives. Check the options outlined in the ‘Models of Care Blog’ to see where costs lie for each service.
What is your worst case scenario?
Without being negative, sometimes it can help to ask this question. By identifying your biggest fears you can positon yourself with the right support. Whether it is pain, being alone, intervention, needles, making decisions, lack of control, not being listened to, repeated trauma, tearing, health concerns, hospitals… what ever it is for you, look at how you can position your care to give you more peace.From the place you birth- to the people in the room- to the education you receive. At the very least identifying these fears can better equip you with the right conversations to be having with your maternal health provider around planning for your care.
The birth space is sacred and it is your right to be in charge of how that looks and feels for you.
‘I don’t care what kind of birth you have…
A home birth, scheduled cesarean, epidural hospital birth,
or if you birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer.
I care that you had options,
that you were supported in your choices,
and that you were respected’.
It’s a big Decision with lots to consider—far too much to fit in a short blog. You really need to do your research so you can make informed choices. But I hope this blog is a helpful starting point on the journey.
For Blue Mountains Families, CLICK HERE to look at the local options available to you around Maternal Health Care listed on our website.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. If I can help it would be my honour to do so.