The journey into motherhood that inevitably begins with childbirth for most women is such a crucial life changing period of time. I know it may not seem that way during your first pregnancy since so much emphasis is put on baby gear and the baby shower. But ladies, let me shoot straight with you.
Your birth will directly affect your mental state for the rest of your life and plays a huge role in how you flow into the 4th trimester, and on into your mothering journey.
A traumatic birth that experiences unmet expectations, events that you were unaware could happen, and even birth rape…yes, you heard that correctly, can all rattle a new mother to her core and put her at increased risk of Postpartum Depression as well as other physical, mental, and emotion health concerns. Just take a moment and ask around to some mama friends of yours and your eyes will be opened to this very reality.
Definition of Birth Rape:
Third, in the process of a medically-managed birth, doctors and nurses who are there to aid the birthing mother may touch or insert things into her genitals without or even against her consent (women are sometimes held down if they protest, verbally berated into submitting, or coerced with false reports that if they don’t submit the baby will be endangered). This is rape according to the FBI’s definition, since the vagina is penetrated by an object without consent.
I don’t say any of this to scare you. I say it to encourage you to take the questions I mention below seriously. Like a heart attack seriously. Ladies, you (and your birth team) must be well versed on what is standard procedure for your place of birth and your provider. You must then reflect those views against your own and see how they add up. If you are at all confused or unsure about this, seek a Childbirth Education class. Preferably one that is not affiliated with your place of birth. There could easily be biases in a hospital provided class. I highly encourage all mamas to hire a doula for labor, but for those who cannot you must take the extra step of preparing yourself and your partner for the many possibilities that can arise during childbirth.
Below are a few questions I believe are paramount for you to ask ANY provider you choose, before giving birth. I’ve also included questions that will greatly affect your ability to get breastfeeding started off well. Which is a common struggle for so many mamas.
Even if you are in your last trimester or even the last week of your pregnancy. ASK. THE. QUESTIONS. I pray that all of you have a blessed, tranquil, and healthy birth. I would love to hear your thoughts below in the comments. I always reply.
Questions to ask your Doctor or Midwife BEFORE you give birth:
- What is your C-section rate?
- Under what circumstances do you perform an episiotomy on a mother?
- Will I be allowed to birth in any position that feels natural to me?
- Will my baby and I be given the Golden Hour?
- Does the birthing facility allow Rooming-In?
- Bonus question: Am I able to refuse a vaginal exam during labor?
Ask the questions ladies. And once you get the answers, run them by your doula or childbirth educator. If you don’t have either of those, let me know in the comments below and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Remember, you’re so worth it!
Beck CT (January–February 2004). “Birth Trauma: In the Eye of the Beholder”. Nursing Research 53 (1): 28–35. doi:10.1097/00006199-200401000-00005. PMID 14726774.
Chicago, Tribune (2008). “Lawsuit details painful delivery”. Retrieved 2014.
court documents. “CATHERINE SKOL, Plaintiff, v. SCOTT PIERCE, M.D., RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER d/b/a RUSH-PRESBYTERIAN-ST. LUKE’S MEDICAL CENTER, and DRS. PILDES and PIERCE, S.C, Defendants”. theunnecesarean.com. Retrieved 2014. At one point during the delivery, Plaintiff was in the middle of a very strong contraction when Defendant Pierce decided to perform a vaginal exam. Plaintiff specifically stated, “No. Stop!” Defendant Pierce refused and performed a very rough vaginal exam causing Plaintiff extreme pain. […] despite Plaintiff begging him to wait for the contraction to end, stating, “I’m in the middle of a contraction,” Defendant Pierce inserted a catheter during one of Plaintiff’s contractions, which was extremely painful for Plaintiff.