Now's the Time to Reclaim our Childbirth Skills

 


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Consider this. In the US, 3,680,000 women give birth each year, in the UK 700,000 do, Melbourne, Australia 58,000 and the same in New Zealand. Where Common Knowledge Trust is located 1,000 women give birth. New Zealand is unique. In 1995 midwives became autonomous, lead maternity carers. Direct entry 3 year educational programs were set up, they are paid by Government to provide antenatal, delivery and post-natal care within the concept of continuity of care. Women can choose to give birth at home or in hospital with the same midwife. There is no shared care. Over 85% of all pregnant New Zealand women have a continuity of care midwife. Women choosing to birth in hospital, even when referred to a specialist, will have team midwifery care. Ideal isn’t it? Since 1995, the caesarean rate has doubled to over 27% nationally. What’s wrong with the picture?

In modern societies where blame, shame and guilt are raging emotions often associated with birth, changing the system doesn’t seem to have worked. It’s so easy to ask ’so who is to blame?’ Gotcha.

I want a new blue car to drive. I’m planning chicken, salad and apple pie for dinner. When my husband and I have sex this weekend, I want to have the most delicious orgasm. I’ll breastfeed. These sentences have two elements. The most obvious are the choices. The less obvious are the skills. Driving is a learned skill, so is cooking, making love well and breast feeding. Within these skills are some that relate to natural physiological human urges: hunger, sex, breastfeeding. Somehow we know that we have, or haven’t or need to develop skills around these natural physiological experiences. Birth is no different.

Common Knowledge Trust is located in New Zealand, yet all The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ resources that are and will become available developed in the US in the 1970s when ‘choices’ for expectant couples opened up possibilities unheard of for our mothers and grandmothers. Little focus has been on the skills birthing women and coaching partners need, although Lamaze, Bradley and Birthworks have offered couples tools and skills to work with the birth plans or choices couples are making.

There are so many choices for modern women and such a focus on individuality that we have lost sight of something very important. We are all one humanity. Every woman throughout Time or Place on this planet has given birth out the same hole. Birth is essentially the same process: one contraction following another until something comes out our vagina. We share the same body and can prepare our birthing body the same way. We discovered this in the 1970s. Stick to the shared body and share a common language. This is The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™. and every expectant couple can teach themselves in the privacy of their own home, along with whatever they are doing to plan or prepare for childbirth. The skills adapt to your individual situation, because they are your skills!

Many birth plans have been foiled by the unexpected. Birth plans are about choice. Birth is about reality and what is happening now. Couple our own skills to the choices we make. When the unexpected happens we have the skills to take into whatever situation we find ourselves. The reason we have so often heard ‘There’s no way to prepare for birth’, is because the unexpected is common place. We do not know what our labour will be like, if we’ll birth on our due date or go over 4 weeks, whether our water bag will leak for 2 weeks, our birth professional be sick, the hot water didn’t work to fill the pool, our baby turned breech and we’re faced with a c/s and on and on. We learned in the 1970s with skills, we can use them in all situations. Nothing has to stop us. We adjust.

The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ can become the common knowledge skills for expectant couples worldwide. This will happen because you make the resources available in your local community. We don’t need another professionally trained group to teach us about our birthing body, we can do it ourselves at home. We (both mother and father) can all learn how to Map the pelvis, know what positions keep us open, to relax inside The Pelvic Clock, to do Kate’s Cat, Hip Lifts, Sit Bone Spreads, use a common language and common touch at any birth. And there’s more!.

Five years of statistics show that couples who learn and use the skills have about 7% c/s. Some of those couples said they did the work, but really didn’t and gave up in labour. This is compared to the 27% all having access to midwifery car, childbirth education, natural therapies etc.

Childbirth can change, one labour at a time, one contraction at a time in even around all the assessments, monitoring and procedures being done. If women wanted natural birth, they’d go bush. We take aspirin for headaches, antibiotics, immunise…the normal and natural is no longer. If birth was so natural, why are direct entry midwives trained for 3 years? Birth is natural. It will happen at the end of pregnancy. If you’re planning a labouring birth, then become skilled. If you’re planning or needing a non-labouring birth then treat yourself to becoming skilled and use the skills in the birth of your child. Every expectant parent can become involved in birth preparation and have a more positive and fulfilling birth. Don’t expect perfect.

Wintergreen is trustee and founder of the Common Knowledge Trust based in Nelson, New Zealand. The trust promotes the Pink Kit Method which gives private childbirth lessons for use in ones own home. For more information visit the Birthing Better website

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