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How to aim for a natural pregnancy and birth

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In an ideal world women would prepare their bodies for pregnancy. We don’t live in an ideal world but once women are aware that they are pregnant it is important to take control.

Birth Choices- How to choose the right pregnancy service for you! If you are healthy with no underlying medical problems or if you have had previous vaginal births without any complications such as excessive bleeding, then midwifery care is for you.

The types of midwifery care vary from hospital to hospital, you may have do some research. (Central Coast Birth Choices)

Types of care– Research has shown that women of low risk have better outcomes for themselves and their babies if they choose midwifery care.

Independent Midwives–These are Midwives who provide one on one care for women in their own home during the antenatal period, the birth and up to six weeks postnatal. They provide this care as a business and so a cost is involved. Prices vary from $3000- $5000.

Group Practice Midwives-Hospital based midwives providing one on one care antenatal, birth and postnatal follow up for approximately one week.

Team midwives– Small group of midwives 5-10 providing the same care as above. Unfortunately you can see many different midwives over the same period. You may not have met the midwife who cares for you during the birth or for postnatal follow up.

Antenatal Clinic Midwives- Hospitals are trying very hard to reduce the waiting time in the antenatal clinics. They are also minimising the number of midwives that women may see during their pregnancy.

Shared Care- This is shared care between your GP and the hospital midwives. Some women have a good relationship with their GP and choose this option of care. Check to see if your Doctor is on the shared care list. You still need to book into the hospital from 12 weeks, continue see your GP up until 34 weeks, from 36 weeks attend the hospital for the rest of your care.

Private Obstetrician– Women whom have private health insurance may choose to have obstetric care. Obstetricians care for low, medium and high risk women. You can choose to birth in a public or private hospital. Be upfront with your obstetrician discuss the type of birth you are aiming for. Ask lots of questions. Be prepared to do some research.

The nurturing pregnancy

Women have bodies which are designed to birth their babies naturally. Babies are meant to be born vaginally and drug free. However unforeseen problems do occur and having one on one care is essential so that problems can be dealt with quickly and appropriately.

• Care for your body and baby. Eat a healthy well balanced diet. Drink plenty of water a minimum of 2 litres a day. Take a little exercise, walking, yoga and swimming is good.

• Avoid too much caffeine which is found in high quantities in coffee, tea, coke and high energy drinks.

• Avoid alcohol and drugs. Paracetamol is the only safe pain killer drug in pregnancy, if you need to take more than the required dose, see your health professional.

• There are women who consume large amounts of carbohydrates such as, fast foods, cake, chocolate, bread and processed foods, run a higher risk of developing Gestational Diabetes.

• Nurture your baby, talk, touch, play gentle music and just love your baby.
Smoking, Drugs and Drugs in pregnancy

• It is important for women to know that the risks of pregnancy related problems are greater when they take drugs in pregnancy. Smoking is a big problem during pregnancy. Remember the saying, “If you smoke your baby smokes too”

• Women are more likely to have a miscarriage, repeated bleeding called, Ante -partum haemorrhage (APH ) premature birth and growth restricted babies if they smoke.

Preparing for the birth

• Educate yourself attend prenatal classes, such as a calm birthing class.

• The Australian breastfeeding association hold classes on breastfeeding.

• Learn how to squat, tone up thigh and calf muscles.

• Learn how to relax and let go.

• Choose your labour supports carefully.

• Pick a room at home to labour in, with soft lights, music and maybe essential oils burning.

• When in early labour rest, maintain fluids.

• Stay at home for as long as you can. The shorter the time you spend in hospital the better.

Labour can happen in two ways, if you relax and go with the flow, labour is quicker and easier.
If you fight the process, labour takes longer and is more painful.

Vaginal Birth After C-Section

• Once a C-section always a C-section?

• Just because you had a C-section the first time it doesn’t mean you will need one again. Remember to survey, do the hard work and you will get what you want.

• Look at your options. Check out your local hospitals , you may have to go further a field

• Ask your Obstetrician their V-BAC rate.

Breech Births

• At present if a woman has a baby in a Breech position at term the baby will be delivered by C-Section. This will occur at most hospitals in Australia.

• Dr Andrew Bisets who works at the John Hunter Hospital, gives women the choice of birthing vaginally

• Ask your local hospital what their rates are on vaginal Breech Births.

Summary

• Look after yourself and baby.

• Get informed about pregnancy and birth.

• Check out your local hospital, have a tour.

• Find out your options of care.

• Relax and enjoy your pregnancy and birth.

Valyrie Painter CMS – Clinical Midwifery Specialist – Wyong Hospital

Midwife of the year 2008

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