I’ve finished reading The Positive Birth Book this week by Milli Hill. I’ve found it very useful in getting to know what I can ask for during labour and birth, and how to plan for different scenarios.
I feel much better prepared now and am learning to understand that whatever happens, it’s not what but how you experience events than can make a difference to how you remember things. So even if you have a bit of nightmare, if you feel listened to and supported then that can make all the difference.
One of the great points that stood out in the book is the evidence for the improvement in outcomes when women know the midwife who will help them in labour and birth, and a push to get the system to reflect this. It means that the midwife is more likely to know what is normal for you, as an individual. The Better Births review raises this point amongst others – let’s hope the theory makes it into practice.
I also learnt with incredulity that we still base due dates on the 40-week timescale that has its roots in the 1700s, when German obstetrician Franz Karl Naegele came up with this standard method of calculating the due date for a pregnancy based on the cycles of the moon; even today’s scans are based on these calculations. The book has helped me to realise that a lot of today’s thinking is based on very old and sometimes not very scientific evidence, so to have faith that you know your body best along with respecting the knowledge of professionals.
When I am in labour, it’s important to me that I can move around a bit as I will be monitored once in hospital but my midwife assured me at my last appointment that I could stand up and also use a birthing ball, which I can take in. So at my next appointment in a few days, I can go through my birth plan and make sure that my voice is heard. Until then, my challenge is to stop our four-year-old smashing the ball off the living room walls.
Tommy’s has launched a new campaign called #AlwaysAsk to encourage you to trust your instincts and speak up when it comes to health concerns in pregnancy. You can watch the video here and find out more here. It’s easy to feel you don’t want to be a bother; I feel like that all the time, and have to really push myself to ask for help and advice for fear of seeming neurotic and stupid. So my second aim for the next week is to follow the #AlwaysAsk ethos whilst trying not to get too frustrated with the fatigue that has well and truly set in and the increasingly restricted movement of a Weeble.