In this six-part series, we are sharing 10 tips for each of the Lamaze six Healthy Birth Practices that help guide women toward a safe and healthy birth. The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices are supported by research studies that examine the benefits and risks of maternity care practices. Learn more about each practice, including short, informative videos at Lamaze.com. To read the rest of the 60 tips, check out the other posts in this series.
10 Ways to Avoid Interventions that Are Not Medically Necessary
1. Learn why avoiding interventions that are not medically necessary is important for you and your baby.
2. Ask your care provider (the earlier, the better) about the kinds of interventions they use and when they use them. You can ask about their rates of interventions, but you'll most likely get more accurate and telling answers with more open-ended questions, like, "For what reasons would you recommend an induction?" and "Why would I need a cesarean?"
3. Take a quality childbirth education class to really get to know different interventions and how they interplay with one another. For example, you cannot be induced without having continuous external fetal monitoring and IV fluids.
4. Learn about the interventions used regularly at your chosen place of birth. Sometimes, those rates are available publicly and sometimes (more often), they are not. You can also ask during your hospital tour or at a prenatal visit with your care provider. But your best bet is to ask local doulas and childbirth educators, who will most certainly have insider knowledge.
5. Research and practice a variety of coping and comfort measures, as well as position changes, to use during your labor and birth.
6. Consider hiring a doula, who is trained on the use of interventions and can offer additional resources for you to make the best informed decision about your care. A doula will not advocate on your behalf, but can help you be a better advocate for yourself.
7. When you hit 40 weeks and there is no sign of labor, remind yourself that 40 weeks is not a deadline but a vague estimate and that a healthy pregnancy can go to 42 weeks and beyond. Also remind yourself that you will not, in fact, be pregnant forever. As uncomfortable as you may be at 40 weeks of pregnancy, the healthy choice in most cases is to let labor begin on its own.
8. If faced with the decision to induce your labor, first find out why, and second, find out your Bishop's Score. And, learn why an induction might be necessary and when it is not.
9. Make sure your partner or birth support person (spouse, partner, friend, family member) knows about your birth preferences and understands how best to support you during birth. Your birth partner will be an invaluable asset to your birth experience.
10. Interventions can be medically necessary and life-saving. If interventions become necessary, find out how you can keep your labor as healthy as possible. photo credit: Rick Bolin via photopin cc