Do you feel your wishes are undermined?

It isn’t the first time a pregnant woman is being told after voicing her wishes where and how to birth, that she is not allowed or it is against hospital policy …

For those, who are not informed enough, end up going along with what the care providers are saying, however more and more are doing research , getting informed and finding out, that indeed they are allowed.

It is only very rarely when there would be circumstances, that would mean medical intervention is essential. Generally birthing in a calm peaceful environment is very straight forward and more and more women are realising this, taking the opportunity to birth where they feel safe.

Here is some further information, which may help in making an informed decision:

Unless there are some very particular circumstances that require you to have repeated vaginal examinations, any induction (syntocinon or otherwise), epidural or giving birth on your back, think twice and educate yourself about your options. Going along with these just because it’s policy may not be wise. If you find yourself in any of these situations where it really is, individually for you, a medically necessary course of action, then of course there are ways to support and soften the negative effects.

But before you agree to ANY procedure… remember the maxim at the heart of medical care ‘Nil nocere’ (First do no harm) and always ask:

Is this really necessary?

What is the evidence that my baby will be in genuine trouble if I decline xyz?

What are the full range of alternatives?

What is the evidence for this suggested course of action?

Is this standard policy or an individualised recommendation?

What happens if I do nothing?

What happens if we wait… half an hour… an hour…. a few hours…. another day… a few days…

If your birth team are not supporting your wishes for a physiological birth and you feel they are simply scaring you rather than offering you evidence-based information, even after a talk with a Supervisor of Midwives, it may be time to consider whether that team will help you or hinder you to have a physiological birth.

You would be surprised how many hospitals are ignoring the evidence about what facilitates normal birth and blundering along doing all the things that are known to inhibit it, even in some hospitals declaring themselves ‘activebirth friendly’ and dedicated to promoting ‘normality’- (Like having very bright lights for example, making women lie on a bed for their whole labour, bursting into a room while a woman is labouring, and non-specific generic time limits which set very low thresholds for the dreaded ‘Failure to Progress’ diagnosis)

Don’t be afraid to ask for a second, third and fourth opinion, to ask if something can be done differently, or to ultimately say ‘No’ simply because you have a niggling feeling that something is not right for you. Our instincts are not mumbo-jumbo unreliable nonsense but a powerful source of knowledge based on subtle communication with the baby on many levels. It is safe to trust your feelings, once you have established they are more than a fleeting worry, and with a sensible, vigilant, but not indiscriminately paranoid attitude, there are many ways of knowing, listening and supporting ourselves to have a physiologically optimal birth.

Further reading: A wealth of articles which discuss various aspects of physiological birth and some of the problems with hormonal interference can be found on each of these websites:

Sara Wickham –

Dr. Sarah Buckley –

Dr. Rachel Reed – Michel Odent –

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