Congratulations You Have A Baby! Time For Some Decisions….. (Part 1)

Congratulations! It’s a birth!!   Time for some decisions..... (Part 1)

So, I’ve got baby fever happening all around me. Countless family and friends of mine are either getting pregnant, giving birth, or learning to live with their newborns. And I guess it’s happening all around the country too- the birth rate in Canada (according to the most recent 2008 Stats Canada study) increased by 2.7% since the last year, and the projected number of births in Canada in the 2010-2011 period is 385, 777 (stats Canada). So it seemed appropriate considering the current ‘fertile’ environment within my social group and my country that I tackle a few of the issues that pregnant women face when trying to conceptualize how their baby will enter the world. Most often, I find that women have an idea of how they would ideally like to give birth: naturally and unassisted (I’ll go into what that means a little later), with an epidural or other medications (and I quote “Give me the drugs, damnit!!”), vaginal birth, c-section, doctor or midwife assisted, home or hospital.   As women in Canada (and in general, North America) we are fortunate to have so many options at our fingertips, but there are also a lot of factors that play into our decisions.

To give my one newly pregnant and incredibly happy friend an idea of her options surrounding birth, I decided to show her a documentary called “The Business of Being Born”, directed by Abby Epstein and produced by Rikki Lake (for those who subscribe, it’s available through Netflix). It’s a film made in 2008 that explores and compares births assisted by physicians and by midwifes. It essentially juxtaposes assisted and unassisted delivery; essentially when I say ‘unassisted’ I mean a delivery without the assistance of drugs, or surgery- natural birth. The term ‘assisted’ encompasses interventions ranging in complexity and severity from nitrous oxide gas during labour to ease the pain of contractions to a full caesarean section. I highly recommend it for any women and partners who are pregnant or planning to be. Though I must warn you, it is a video about birth, and you will therefore see births- for some people, particularly my friend and others who have never really considered the practical process of birth very closely, there can be some very shocking visuals. And I quote again: “Ewwwwwwwwwwww, what is that???!? It looks like a big egg just got cracked!!!!” and “OMG. There’s so much blood and cheesy stuff.......” Her reaction was entertaining for me, but not so much for her.   However, if you can get past that, the documentary covers a lot of interesting viewpoints and facts about birth and some typical delivery scenarios in the United States.

So, considering all that this documentary presented as well as what I have encountered in my own experiences with maternity, birth, and newborns, I have put together a list of the issues and factors that can and should be considered in order to make an informed decision about your own birthing plan which will be highlighted in tomorrow's blog.