Birth

Birth is the pivotal experience for childbearing women and their caregivers. These articles offer a variety of viewpoints and insights into the process of birth and its management.

The secret for enabling natural births

I was recently asked to give a presentation at the Childbirth: Naturally event in Florence Italy (October 27 - 29, 2011). The full presentation is included in this article, as a slideshow.

This was an event attended by approximately 130 midwives and obstetricians, and celebrated 20 years since the first event on the theme of "humanising" birth was held in the Tuscany region. Italy has the highest rate of Caesarean births in Europe and is amongst the top three in the world.

In 1980, a group of concerned professionals came together to explore what could be done about the highly interventionist stlye of medical care that pregnant women suffered. Soon after the first birth centre opened, followed by a few others in the following years. This has not stopped the Caesarean rate from falling, but it has given Tuscany the leading edge in Italy for natural birth rates.

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Getting what you want for your birth experience

by Doris Haire

A good childbirth experience should be happy and gratifying, as well as safe. You are much more likely to have a good experience if you establish early a good communication with your doctor or midwife. Sometimes it is the expectant parents who must take the lead in establishing a rapport, but don't let that hold you back. It's your childbirth experience. It's up to you to let the doctor or midwife know what you want. If he or she is not in agreement with your wishes, it is far better to find that out while you still have time to shop around for a doctor or midwife who does agree with you.

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Fish can't see water

The need to humanize birth in Australia

This paper was presented at the Homebirth Australia Conference, Noosa, Australia, November 2000

By Marsden Wagner (MD, MSPH)

Humanizing birth means understanding that the woman giving birth is a human being, not a machine and not just a container for making babies. Showing women - half of all people - that they are inferior and inadequate by taking away their power to give birth is a tragedy for all society. On the other hand, respecting the woman as an important and valuable human being and making certain that the woman's experience while giving birth is fulfilling and empowering is not just a nice extra, it is absolutely essential as it makes the woman strong and therefore makes society strong.

Read more: Fish can't see water

   

Using your politicians to change birth services

by Bruce Teakle

This article was written as a campaign tool for those working to obtain better maternity services in Australia.  The National Maternity Action Plan was launched in 2002. For full details find out more here.

This article is for people wanting better access to better birth care. It is intended to be a guide to advocating to your political and bureaucratic servants what you want. It has been distributed to support the National Maternity Action Plan (NMAP) campaign in Australia.

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Pain in labour - your hormones are your helpers

by Dr Sarah Buckley

Imagine this. Your cat is pregnant, due to give birth around the same time as you are. You have your bags packed for hospital, and are awaiting the first signs of labour with excitement and a little nervousness.

Meanwhile your cat has been hunting for an out-of-the way place - your socks drawer or laundry basket - where she in unlikely to be disturbed. When you notice, you open the wardrobe door, but she moves again. Intrigued, you notice that your observation - even your presence - seems to disturb the whole process. And, wish as you might to get a glimpse into the mysteries of birth before it is your turn, you wake up the next morning to find her washing her four newborn kittens in the linen cupboard.

Why does birth seem so easy to our animal friends when it is so difficult for us?

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Epidurals: real risks for mother and baby

by Dr Sarah Buckley

Epidural pain relief is an increasingly popular choice for Australian women in the labour ward. Up to one-third of all birthing women have an epidural1, and it is especially common amongst women having their first babies2. For women giving birth by caesarean section, epidurals are certainly a great alternative to general anaesthetic, allowing women to see their baby being born, and to hold and breastfeed at an early stage: however their use as a part of a normal vaginal birth is more questionable3.

Read more: Epidurals: real risks for mother and baby