Childbirth education for an empowered birth
Birth is the most natural process on earth and yet studies have shown that one in every four women describes her birth as traumatic, one in every five to 10 meets the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder and one in three or four has postpartum mood disorder. Studies have also found that women who fear childbirth experience longer labour and were more likely to need an emergency caesarean than those who did not.
‘There is a link between a lack of knowledge, fear and the experience of childbirth,’ says Lynne Bluff, national co-ordinator for the Childbirth Educators Professional Forum (CBEPF), which is partnering with Bio-Oil and hospitals nationally for Pregnancy Education Month 2018. With the theme ‘Empowering Birth’, the campaign highlights how pregnancy education empowers expectant parents and helps create a better birth experience.
‘It is so important that parents are comprehensively informed about birthing options safest for the mother and infant in the event of a low-risk, normal pregnancy,’ says Professor Suzanne Delport, neonatologist.
Good childbirth classes, says Bluff, will equip parents with knowledge about all available childbirth options and the pros and cons of each, practical tips and techniques for the birth and after it, and the confidence that comes from knowing what to expect and how to cope. Ideally childbirth educators are nurses and midwives, as well as being parents themselves, who can prepare expectant parents for every aspect of childbirth and instil faith in their own ability and strength to give birth.
‘We believe that when parents are informed, any type of birth, from homebirth to caesarean, can be an empowering one. It shifts from a potentially overwhelming experience to one that is fulfilling, positive and, ultimately, beneficial to mother and child,’ says Anna Guerin of Bio-Oil.
‘There is simply no substitute for evidence-based information provided by qualified and experienced professionals. With quality childbirth education, parents are empowered and properly prepared in a warm and supportive way,’ says Bluff, who is also a registered nurse and midwife.
'Although childbirth is one of life’s most significant milestones many parents are simply ignorant of the facts vital to decision making,' says Bluff. For example, many parents are not aware that when a baby passes through the birth canal, he or she picks up a multitude of micro-organisms that will benefit their health and guard against chronic illness for the rest of their life; or that there are a number of caesarean options available, some more friendly to mother and baby than others. And most of us know little of the interplay of birthing hormones that click in, one step at a time, to pave the way for birth, help manage pain and stress and give us the feeling of joy when seeing baby for the first time.
To find out more about childbirth education, Pregnancy Education Month activities or to find a childbirth educator in your area, visit here.