Births That Need Some Extra Help – considered ‘high risk’ ?
During many years enabling women to have a positive birth, I have frequently supported women who have a pre-existing condition, or during their pregnancy or at the onset of birth, have discovered a health/birth circumstance that (may) require medical help. It has been my particular privilege to support women who have had a previously difficult or traumatic birth, or who have suffered post natal depression. These mothers have gone on to experience beautiful births.
Birth Plans ARE Negotiable: Sadly, within our current system, pregnancy and birth are measured in terms of ‘risk’. So we need to navigate our way through this system. If your midwife at an early ante natal appointment doesn’t immediately support your choices, perhaps because you do not ‘fit’ a hospital’s ‘pathway’ or criteria, or if your birth is considered ‘high risk’, you need to find an advocate to support your choices. (I can also act as advocate). This could be a Supervisor of Midwives, part of whose role it is to support women’s decision making. It could be a Consultant Midwife supporting Normality in Birth, or it could be a Consultant Obstetrician supporting normal birth. I have good contacts within certain London hospitals and can put you in touch with particular staff.
Meet with them early and get them to sign off on your decision, so you can avoid months of uncertainty and unnecessary stress that may be caused.
Some Maternity Units in London are more flexible than others with their ‘criteria’ . (What does that tell you?). You may need extra support in the following circumstances: if you want a home birth and don’t ‘fit’ the criteria; if you want a water birth and don’t ‘fit’ the criteria; if you want a midwife led birth and don’t ‘fit’ the criteria. In most circumstances, you will be able to birth where you choose: it might require some assertiveness. Show you’ve done your research and speak to a SOM or Consultant Midwife.
Breech Birth: Hypnotherapy and/or acupuncture are highly successful at turning breech babies. Also look at www.spinningbabies.com. But if your baby wont turn, depending upon the type of breech, it is perfectly possible to have a beautiful, normal breech birth. (My son Jack was a normal breech birth – jt was safe and amazing !). Find confident caregivers/ an advocate who will support your choice. Several maternity units in London have undertaken training to support normal breech births. Shawn Walker is a specialist breech trainer and independent midwife who can support as a doula through breech birth. Look online for Mary Cronk, and Joy Horner: inspirational midwives continuing to train midwives in normal breech deliveries. See Georgina’s home Breech Birth and Rosie’s Hospital Breech Birth in Birth Stories for inspiration! (following soon)
VBAC: Vaginal Birth after C-Section. Again, for many women, perfectly possible and desirable. Most London Maternity Units are supporting VBAC. Look at www.aims.org.uk (Association for Improvements in Maternity Services) website for excellent information, inspiration and see Sarah’s story in Birth Stories to boost confidence (to follow soon).
“Just to let you know that James was born on wednesday morning at home in the birth pool. The breathing and prep that you gave us was invaluable. James weighed in at 10lb 4oz, was a VBAC birth, labour took 6hours and 45 mins and I didn’t have any tearing. Thank you very much.” Fiona, home birth Clapham. Independent Midwives. Aug 2011
Twin Birth – One Breech : Normal birth of twins (one breech) is perfectly possible. (Parts of the country it is the norm) Victoria’s Story to follow shortly, in which she describes how she needed to find a supportive, confident ‘team’ in order to avoid an induction, which the maternity unit in general were keen to do. She went on to have a beautiful, normal birth.
Obstetric Cholestasis : OC will require an early induction, but a planned induction, whilst potentially challenging, can be a very positive experience. See Emma’s Birth Story for inspiration (to follow shortly)
Pre-Eclampsia: “Just because things don’t always go to plan, your birth can still be a wonderful experience“
Hi Rosie, I just wanted to let you know that our wonderful baby girl was born last Sunday weighing 5lb 5oz. Her name is Seren, which is welsh for star and she definitely is a little star!
We had planned to have a natural home birth but things didn’t quite go to plan! I was taken into hospital last Saturday to be induced as I had pre eclampsia that the doctor had missed and so had become quite serious. I was induced on Saturday night and labour began around 2am Sunday. Throughout the labour I was able to remain calm and focused on my breathing and stayed fully relaxed by making the most of the huge hospital baths! Labour continued calmly until around 6pm when Seren’s heartbeat dropped and we were rushed in to theatre for a c section.
Throughout this emotional and scary time, both Tim and I were able to stay calm and focused and were able to ask all the questions we needed without any panic. I totally believe this is because of all the breathing practise we did and our firm belief in Seren having as calm a birth as possible.
Seren is definitely a hypno baby as she is so chilled out! She latched on as soon as I was able to hold her and although she wasn’t able to be delivered on to my chest, the hospital respected all our other wishes to ensure she was born into a calm atmosphere, even leaving an extra long piece of cord so that Tom could still cut it! She was born at 8.38pm with the radio playing Elton John’s ‘Are you ready for love’ and we certainly were! Although she is small due to the pre eclampsia, she is perfect and both of us were given the all clear yesterday at our check up. I totally believe that I am so calm and have recovered so quickly due to the relaxed approach you taught us so, a million thankyous to you!
I just wanted to say that just because things don’t always go to plan, your birth can still be a wonderful experience.Thank you for everything.
Gestational Diabetes: You can birth in water if you choose in a Midwife Led Unit. Birth Story to follow
Epilepsy: Regular, deep relaxation is/can be a significant contributor to the reduction of seizures. A normal birth need not be inhibited with this condition. Find confident caregivers who will support your choice of birth in a Midwife Led Unit (Birth Story to follow).
Previous Birth Trauma, Life Trauma or Miscarriage
It has been a particular privilege to have supported women and their partners through difficult experiences towards a beautiful birth. I have successfully taught Hypnobirthing to women and their partners who have had a traumatic previous pregnancy or birth; women who have suffered multiple miscarriages; and women who have suffered a previous life trauma or abuse, for whom the whole idea of pregnancy and birth is filled with fear.
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I am qualified in highly effective therapeutic techniques, including the ‘Rewind Technique’ to release traumatic memories. NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence), recognises the Rewind Technique as therapeutic and effective for PTSD.
I can help you to approach pregnancy and birth feeling a normal level of nervousness and eventually calm, not overwhelmed and re-traumatised by memories of previous experiences. A recent client, pregnant for the second time, 19 years after a traumatic first birth said: “I was dreading birth, but now I’m excited. It’s amazing. Thank you so much”
See Sara’s Home Birth Story and Mindy’s Hospital Birth Story for inspiration. (To follow shortly)
www.aims.org.uk The Association for Improvements in Maternity Services is a brilliant group of midwives, providing excellent literature which will provide you with a fully rounded picture of your choices in birth. Publications include: ‘What’s Right For Me?’, ‘Am I Allowed’, ‘Birth After Caesarean’ ‘Breech Birth’, ‘Vitamin K’, ‘Induction – Do I Really Need It?’ and many more.
Please call or email me. I will be more than happy to talk through how I can help and support you through pregnancy and birth. firstname.lastname@example.org 07806 994636
For more information and support, take a look at www.birthtraumacentre.org.uk