There are certain conditions that are considered “optimal” for labour and birth to progress in an efficient and safe manner. These are things which increase the production of natural oxytocin such as: feelings of safety, calmness, warmth, privacy, darkness. Knowing how physiological labour works and the ways that the hospital environment works against optimal physiology will enable you to get the most out of your birth experience and to optimise physiology for both you and your baby.
It's no secret that the standard care provided by hospitals does not optimise the chances of a physiological birth. The policies and protocols are restrictive, fear based, non-woman centred and generally involve large amounts of intervention. It’s quite unusual to find hospital based care providers who can support a woman in a fully physiological or instinctive pregnancy and birth simply because the system, and society in general, does not support this.
But what about the actual hospital building? What role does the birthing environment play in the decreased possibility of a physiological birth within the hospital building? A common story I hear from women is that labour stalled once they got to the hospital and while many care providers will tell you this is simply because the woman’s body needed “help” to labour and birth effectively, I propose that the physical hospital building plays a HUGE role in this.
The birth room
I have in the past been told that talking about this is fearmongering - but if you are keen for a physiological birth it is really important to understand the various challenges that you could face along the way. Once you know the risks you can minimise them!
Hospitals are a great place to be if you have made an informed decision to have a medically managed birth, but if your preference is for a physiological birth then you might like to give further consideration to how the hospital environment can hinder that and how you can make changes to the physical environment
As always – information is power! Know your options and take responsibility for your choices.
PS: If you would like some help navigating the hospital environment and policies to optimise your chances of a physiological VBAC birth please book a call HERE to talk about whether my VBAC mentoring program could be right for you.
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