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Your Pregnancy, Your Way: Is Natural Childbirth Really The Best Choice?

Your Pregnancy, Your Way: Is Natural Childbirth Really The Best Choice?

After twenty years of hands-on experience, Dr. Allison Hill noticed a shift in the culture of pregnancy and childbirth-women are asking more questions and wanting to be more involved in decisions surrounding their pregnancies. For instance, they want to know if CPR and defibrillation are safe to perform on pregnant women, so they can be prepared and prepare others in case this arises during their pregnancies. Thousands of deliveries later, Dr. Hill is uniquely suited to bridge the divide between traditional and natural pregnancy and childbirth methodologies. Not everyone has a c-section/ tummy tuck combo in a high-tech hospital and not everyone has their baby alone in a tent by a river – most of us have found ourselves somewhere in between. In her new book, Your Pregnancy, Your Way, she helps parents-to-be navigate complex pregnancy and childbirth decisions with medically-sound advice and practical tips and strategies. Equal parts scientific research and stories by real women and moms, Your Pregnancy, Your Way debunks myths and helps to prepare you to make the choices to achieve the safe and healthy delivery that’s right for you.

Today, Dr. Hill answers all questions surrounding the pros and cons of each decision when considering natural childbirth;

Your Pregnancy, Your Way: Is Natural Childbirth Really The Best Choice?
Your Pregnancy, Your Way: Is Natural Childbirth Really The Best Choice?

In my twenty-year career as an ob-gyn, I’ve delivered thousands of babies and have seen every type of birth. A mother relaxing in a warm bath, breathing deeply with her contractions. A woman being wheeled down the halls of the hospital for an emergency cesarean as blood pours from her placenta previa. A woman who has an epidural, listening to music and talking excitedly with her family about the future. Each scene is different, but as the top of a baby’s head emerges, I can feel my own heart racing in my chest. I love to steal a glance at the faces of the family as they see their son or daughter for the first time. More important, I can breathe a sigh of relief that the baby is safe.

But what type of birth is best? Some would argue that having your baby at home, surrounded by supportive family and friends, and with minimal medical intervention, is the way it should be done. Others view childbirth as risky and would only want to have a baby in a hospital where a doctor, anesthesiologist, and all of the current technology are available. There are arguments to be made on each side of this debate, and I don’t think there will ever be a clear consensus. I believe that the focus shouldn’t be on what “type” of birth is best but, rather, on how to achieve the safest, most personalized, respectful care in all possible settings.

I was anxious during my own pregnancy and I’m an obstetrician! I believed everything that really mattered was almost sure to go right. But I also knew that things could go wrong. Although my delivery didn’t go exactly as planned, luckily, my own OB and I had agreed about how to make my pregnancy as safe as possible while achieving my vision for the birth, even if that meant making choices that would differ from the way most doctors would handle things. I had the inside track. That’s not the way it works for everyone.

It may seem surprising that obstetricians don’t always make decisions purely on the basis of the most up-to-date medical practice and what is best for the patient. Our patients have a right to that kind of care. They should feel that their doctor is on their side, not just at their side. But the truth is, sometimes we make decisions based on other concerns, such as the threat of malpractice lawsuits, our own preferences and training, hospital policies, and personal convenience. The good news is that you, as a mother-to-be, can enable your obstetrician to provide the best care by working together in a way that your doctor will welcome. If you’re looking for a high quality obstetrician to help you through your pregnancy, you might want to check out somebody like Dr Malcolm Godfrey.

This book is my opportunity to reflect candidly on what I have learned as a busy obstetrician and to explore the unspoken facets of this field. What I have written may be considered controversial. I’m here to tell you that much of the advice you hear from friends, pregnancy websites, and even doctors isn’t based on scientific evidence. Numerous conventional medical practices need to change-and we know it. Why then, do we stick to an outdated way of doing things, disseminating unfounded advice? To put it simply: because that’s the way things have always been done.

I will explain the basis of medical decision-making and how to empower yourself to work side by side with your doctor or midwife on this journey. This book will help you understand the birth process so you may have realistic expectations for what may happen, and what is and is not in your control. The more clearly you understand what you want, and the better you are able to adapt to whatever comes your way, the better your birth experience will be.

New mothers and their babies are best off if the mother is happy and confident. The pregnancy goes more smoothly and any problems that come up seem less worrisome. Even the mother’s relationship with her baby gets off to a better start when she has a positive birth experience. But the definition of a positive experience varies greatly from woman to woman. I have seen some mothers who know exactly what they want from the beginning and are able to achieve all of their goals. Others were able to adjust their expectations and have a satisfying experience despite their birth plan’s being altered at every step along the way. Unfortunately, still others are needlessly disappointed in themselves and their birth because things didn’t go as planned and they had an epidural or required a cesarean.

Giving birth can take a toll on any woman’s body. Things like stretch marks can occur as some woman find that after a cesarean, they are gaining weight. Of course there are things you ca do to correct this if you’ve tried everything possible already. If this sounds familiar, why not look into a surgeon like Dr. Racanelli, who specialises in a variety of cosmetic procedures including Liposuction, Tummy Tucks, Botox to Facelifts and Eyelid Surgery. With all things, be sure to do your research thoroughly.

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I don’t want to give the impression that you can pick exactly how you want your birth to be, and that it will follow that script. Medical issues may arise for you or your baby that make it impossible, or once you are in labor you may simply not want to do it. But as you plan for a natural pregnancy and birth, this book will help you navigate through any unforeseen complications that come your way, so that you may stay as close as possible to your original vision. Your birth can be on your terms, feeling that you are part of the team and that your goals are respected. I hope that what you read here will empower you to be successful, however you bring your baby into the world.

Instead of focusing on the small details of how their baby came into the world, my patients who have enjoyed their births the most have shifted their focus to the final, positive outcome, learned to see the big picture, avoided rigid judgment from others, and eased up on the perfectionism. The ability to remain flexible and let go of what “should” happen will serve as a great asset during the many years of motherhood and childrearing to come. Natural pregnancy and childbirth is a wonderful choice but might not be right for you. Whether or not you stick to your original plan, have multiple interventions or none at all, doesn’t determine whether you are a good mother. At your child’s birth, your journey as a mother is just beginning.

Excerpted from Your Pregnancy, Your Way: Everything You Need to Know about Natural Pregnancy and Childbirth by Allison Hill, MD. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.