Why do some people have positive experiences
at the same hospital or with the same doctor
when others experience a traumatic birth?
I think it really depends on a person’s individual expectations.
People who go into their birth being on board with everything their OBGYN or midwife and labor & delivery nurse suggest are less likely to be disappointed, because they give the reins over to their birth team, who they completely trust (and that is awesome when you can have that kind of trust from the start!).
So should a situation arise requiring medical interventions or difficult decisions, they trust their birth team (OB/Midwife/Nurse) to make that decision and implement what they feel is best.
Those people will typically have a more positive experience with their birth.
When are people at risk for having a negative experience?
To put it simply: when you spend time educating yourself during pregnancy on all options out there so you can make informed decisions during your pregnancy and labor, but then don’t follow your instincts when your gut feeling is telling you something isn’t right, you will put yourself at a higher risk of having a negative experience associated with your birth.
Let’s discuss: Education and Informed Decision
Educating yourself on all things pregnancy (such as exercising, eating right, hiring a birth doula, cervical checks).
Educating yourself on all things birth, such as inductions, unmedicated labor, scheduled c/section, laboring positions, pros and cons of medical interventions.
Putting together a list of birth preferences (or some refer to this as a birth plan)
Choosing a birth team to be composed of people who respect and value your birth plan.
Education & Informed Decision
Must go hand in hand
with following YOUR instincts
People are more likely to be disappointed and have a negative experience if a medical facility, or an OBGYN or midwife or labor doula were to take the patient's birth plan into their own hands and take choice away from the patient.
That is why it is so vital to choose the right team for YOU.
To choose someone you trust.
So ultimately, if there is an emergency or situation that arises where unfortunately you are not able make a decision, or you don’t know what decision to make, you trust your birth team to make the decisions you discussed during your pregnancy, or a decision you will ultimately trust because you know your birth team and you trust them.
There are some amazing birth workers in our local birth community who I deeply trust and who have worked with many providers and hospitals across south Florida enough to be able to share insightful, valuable information about the best OBGYNs, midwives, hospitals, doulas, birth centers, etc.
I always take into serious consideration their recommendations, because many of the birth workers I esteem have seen a wide variety of birthing people and medical providers to have creditable input.
no one can ultimately tell you who is the right team is for YOU.
No one has walked in your shoes and knows what your priorities are. Only you can look into your heart and assess what matters most to you.
So what I recommend is to take your friends, family, colleagues and birth workers insights and recommendations, research them, cross check them against your own expectations and priorities, and make an informed decision about the custom-built birth team that’s only right for you.
When your ultimate goal is
A Positive Birth Experience
When your ultimate goal is to have a positive birth experience, it is VITAL that you listen to your own instincts when you make important decisions such as choosing your hospital, your medical provider, your entire birth team and what type of education (birthing classes and research) you want to invest in leading up to your birth.
In a recent online discussion, I voiced my opinion on why I think thats why less VBAC patients are likely to choose certain facilities for their trial of labor after a c/section (TOLAC) because they know full well what hospitals maintain reputations of way more experience and compassion with people attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after a c/section).
So is it a bad thing to have a “birth plan” ?
Short answer: it’s not a bad thing.
What is important when you make a birth plan, or as I prefer calling it “birth preferences list” (because its less presumptuous that you anticipate everything to go 100% according to plan, instead the words “birth preferences list” communicate to your birth team you just want to be prepared for anything AND involved in the decision making process and that you educated yourself well)
is to make sure you don’t compromise on any part of your pregnancy or birth any aspects that are of the utmost importance to you.
If you know you are a person who requires a lot of emotional support during pregnancy, (there’s ZERO SHAME in being a more sensitive person who needs extra support, I raise my hand in solidarity with you sister!) then make an informed decision about a provider who is more available to you for longer prenatal visits, has the patience and compassion to answer all of your questions and in general, leads you to feeling like you have a trustworthy and strong connection.
Consider hiring a labor doula who is available to you for texts and discussions leading up to birth, so that you truly feel you have the right support team leading up to your birth.
Choose your birthing facility wisely. Touring a hospital earlier than later is always a great idea. Ask to meet the people who run your labor and delivery and see how those people make you feel. Ask them about their philosophy of birth. It should be a good match not for your friends or people you revere, it should be a good match for YOU.
Most importantly, you shouldn’t have second thoughts.