Labour. What's the rush?

February 12, 2017


I ask the question; What's the rush?

Why are we speeding birth along? Is it better, more 'productive', necessary to decrease the length of labour, for a possible trade off that may increase the intensity?


If asked. "Would you prefer a shorter more intense labour or a longer more gentle one?" Which would you prefer... what would you choose?


As a doula I often hear. "If we rupture your membranes we'll make labour more efficient"


"You'll meet your baby sooner if we quickly break your bag of waters"


"You've been labouring a while now if we break your waters it'll speed things along" 


"I can feel your bulging membranes with lots of pressure, it'll release if I quickly break your waters"


Sure sometimes intervention really does bring baby down and hey presto there's your baby in your arms, job done!


Sometimes it doesn't.


However, was ARM (artificial rupture of membranes) really necessary - or worth it? Was the power of a woman following her body taken away in that very act?


Does she now feel uncertainty in her body's ability to birth her baby naturally?  Is her internal head chatter now in overdrive asking a million fear based questions taking her focus away from her body that is still desperately trying to respond to the intensity and power of labour? 


I wonder how often the rush gets in the way of birth happening in its own perfect order like this one....


Here's the last moments of an uninterrupted birth - no rush, no hurry no pressure on mum to do anything other that follow her body. Her waters burst in the seconds prior to her baby slipping out of her body. No VE (vaginal exams), no questions no panic. This birth was all about supporting mum as she instinctively responded to the changes to her body.  She had a longer labour this time, lots of back labour and she gravitated towards the shower for its duration to help relieve the intensity. She was loved and held and kissed by her husband, she had her favourite music playing in the small confines of the shower. She had privacy, intimacy, support. She felt loved, supported and safe, She confidently followed her body and birthed her baby her way!  


Rupture of waters can happen a few days before labour begins, during labour, during pushing or remain intact after birth. When labour moves at its own natural pace women are more likely to remain in control of their bodies, ride the flow of labour and move with it. When too many questions are asked or interventions performed doubt sets in and a woman's confidence can be lost.


When women are supported their confidence grows, when women are educated about normal birth their confidence grows, when women seek and find privacy and intimacy during their labours, their confidence grows.


Ultimately a woman has a greater ability to drop into her body and respond to the sensations of labour and achieve a normal natural birth. She takes those all important steps into motherhood with a sense of power, confidence, and an intact inner voice leading her through the next phase in her life with more clarity and connection.









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