Traumatic Birth Part 3

According to Cheryl Tatano Beck, traumatic birth is defined as “an event occurring during the labor and delivery process that involves actual or threatened serious injury or death to the mother  or her infant. The birthing woman experiences intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and horror” she had later revised that statement to include the woman feeling stripped of her dignity.

c-Section

What is the cause of women perceiving their birth experience as traumatic? It is the systemic elimination of protective care during the birthing process.

In Beck’s study of 40 women she says that there were four themes that emerged. Theme #1 was to care for the women and treating them as human beings. Theme #2: Lack of Communication.  Theme #3 was safety. Theme #4: The ends will justify the means.

With theme #1 women feeling they were objectified, and treated arrogantly and with a lack of empathy. The women were left alone, and abandoned. The birthing mother’s needs were not met by the hospital staff. An example given was of a woman from Puerto Rico who was on all fours, when a nurse brought in 20 students to observe…without her consent.

In theme #2 no one communicated with the woman in labor. They were described as having conversations with one another within earshot but not directly talking with or to the laboring mother. As if she were non-existent.

In the third theme the laboring mothers felt that the staff (nurses and doctors) did not adequately deliver safe care. The mothers were not being allowed input into the care being given for their own selves and actually fearing for their own and / or the infant’s life!

In theme #4 entailed the sense that what was endured and experienced by the mothers was the sense of being “pushed to the background” as everyone around them were celebrating the baby’s healthy birth. These women felt invisible, only the infant mattered.

The experiences mothers have had led to severe post-partum trauma and depression.  Beck, Driscoll, and Watson’s book Traumatic Birth goes into detail about feedback loops [pp. 10-12] that describe the interaction of the mother and child after a traumatic birth, with a listing of the causes and consequences of the cause. Sometimes even breastfeeding is difficult, creating “…intruding flashbacks, disturbing detachments with their infants, feeling violated, enduring physical pain, and insufficient milk supply…” Often the anniversary of a traumatic birth amplifies the feedback loop.

My own reaction to the shared experiences the women in this book had illustrated the barbarism of western medical professionals, a barbarism that is completely contrary to those principles I listed from the ACOG website in part #2.

The women who tell their story of childbirth weave an astounding sense of personal alienation.  It is no wonder that there is PTSD, depression, self-destructive behaviors, socially isolationist behaviors and pelvic floor injuries as a result of the improper calloused form of care received. Many of the women feel as though they were raped, yet most had no “history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse” so birth precipitated  a sense of having “the loss of the soul”.

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Traumatic Birth Part 1

Many things come up during the labor and birthing of a baby. These may or may not be emergency-level events. A woman in labor is focused on the process they are involved in: birth. The woman may not be aware of what is discussed around them, or the things happening that may alter their ideals of the “perfect”  birth.

doula at work

Here are some things that may occur:

  • Slow dilation of the cervix
  • Labor stalling
  • Movement of the baby stops
  • Blood pressure of the mother rises

Often doctors in the hospital will want to intervene. The remedies may be interventions that you really do not need.

These interventions could possibly be:

  • Monitors
  • IV insertion
  • Inducing labor (Pitocin)
  • Or even the decision to have a c-Section (read my blog post on this here: )

The first two can be alleviated by using gravity (walking, dancing, leaning forward onto the labor bed with feet on the floor and doing squats). Usually stressors or nervousness are the cause. With Labor stalling, if already dilated 6-7cm, it could very well be a natural stall while going into the next stage of labor.

Remember: Babies are birthed when they are READY. Not on some sort of perceived time schedule.

If the baby stops movement, inform your doctor. You can use “kick counts” as a method to monitor movements if you are concerned. In active labor, the baby tends to move in a spiral as baby moves into birthing position.

Blood pressure issues could be gestational diabetes, or just stress. The cause needs to be found. bvcIt is a symptom of pre-eclampsia but if you were not having signs of this condition and diagnosed in pregnancy (which is why prenatal visits are essential) then it may be something else. Here is suggested reading for you to understand the seriousness of this condition: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Preeclampsia-and-High-Blood-Pressure-During-Pregnancy

So now we move onto the second part of this discussion.

A Good Question

[republished from December posting and updated]

c-section-delivery
Pixabay Free Photo

Mortality rates are rising in the United States.  It’s true especially for women of color [Birthing Mortality]. This has been steadily rising even as some states have lowered C-Section rates are starting to lower in some states [C-Section Rates MAP].

What needs to happen, in order to fix a broken system? Your probably wondering what I mean by a broken system. I am talking about the care of women, and especially birthing.

In a nation that has been considered “advanced” we are so far behind the eight-ball that it becomes shameful. Our C-Section rates were seriously through-the-roof, and although some improvement has been made, the United States is still higher than most “civilized” countries! The average being around 31%.

Along  with that outrageous number of c-Sections are the ever-climbing mortality rates of women in birth, predominately women of color. This is shameful in a country that is supposed to be “advanced”!

On top of both high c-Section rates, and high mortality rates for birthing, is the across-the-racial-board birth trauma. It should NEVER happen! But, we have nurses and doctors who force women into procedures, who intimidate and threaten.

The media (film and television) makes it seem that birth is both dangerous and extremely painful. When that consciousness is embedded in the psyche of women, and you have a medical field that relies on mechanical means to monitor births… the stage is set.

We have normalized bad birthing practices, and outdated concepts about birth.

That is without discussing the current political scenarios…

The next few blogs will address the history behind, and the current information about birthing in the United States. The outdated concepts surrounding birth practices need debunking. The normalization of bad birthing practices needs to have a light shown upon it, in order to make it STOP.

It is time to become educated,

Get angry,

and create a change!

A Good Question

What needs to happen, in order to fix a broken system? Your probably wondering what I mean by a broken system. I am talking about the care of women, and especially birthing.

In a nation that has been considered “advanced” we are so far behind the eight-ball that it becomes shameful. Our c-Section rates were seriously through-the-roof, and although some improvement has been made, the United States is still higher than most “civilized” countries! The average being around 31%.

Along  with that outrageous number of c-Sections are the ever-climbing mortality rates of women in birth, predominately women of color. This is shameful in a country that is supposed to be “advanced”!

On top of both high c-Section rates, and high mortality rates for birthing, is the across-the-racial-board birth trauma. It should NEVER happen! But, we have nurses and doctors who force women into procedures, who intimidate and threaten.

The media (film and television) makes it seem that birth is both dangerous and extremely painful. When that consciousness is embedded in the psyche of women, and you have a medical field that relies on mechanical means to monitor births… the stage is set. We have normalized bad birthing practices, and outdated concepts about birth.

That is without discussing the current political scenarios.

The next few blogs will address the history behind, and the current information about birthing in the United States. The outdated concepts surrounding birth practices need debunking. The normalization of bad birthing practices needs to have a light shown upon it, in order to make it STOP.

It is time to become educated,

get angry,

and create a change!

NOTE: I am still doing research, the next two topics are valuable as well, and allows me time to get things done.

Also published at my sister site: Hoksiyuhab Oti

What is a Doula?

doula at work

What is a Doula?

  • A woman who assists in childbirth
  • A woman who is experienced in childbirth, and provides:
    • Physical, emotional, informational assistance
    • Supports the mother before, during, and immediately after childbirth
  • The word “Doula” is Greek and means “a woman who serves”
    • Today it refers to a trained and experienced professional that provides continuous physical and emotional support during pregnancy, birth, and a short time after the baby is born
  • How they assist
    • With reading materials
    • Make prenatal and post-partum visits
    • Birth plans
    • Self-advocacy tools for pregnant women in a hospital setting
    • Pain management
    • Relaxation techniques
    • Can assure a safe birth/honoring the needs of the mother
    • Validation: birth experiences, and choices made for pregnancy outcomes
    • Support immediately after birth (approximately the first 2 hours after)
  • Research has shown, when a woman is present during labor as a support person that:
    • pain relief is needed less often
    • labor is shorter
    • fewer deliveries with forceps or vacuum extraction
    • C-sections
    • More likely to be still breast-feeding 6 weeks after birth
      • Less likely to have depression during the post-partum period.