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Some of the best advice around birth I received during my second full term pregnancy. First, during birth, leave well enough alone. Second, after birth do nothing. Both of these go against modern thought processes. But are actually extremely helpful and good.
The first, Leave well enough alone. Why is this against the norm? Mostly because birth has become so medicalized, that we have come to believe that birth is risky and requires constant monitoring, just in case. The truth is this constant monitoring, interrupts the birth process and can lead to unnecessary interventions.
When birth is left to happen on baby and mom’s terms, they are allowed to follow their natural instinct, and communication between baby and mom’s body is uninterrupted. When interventions begin to be used, it disrupts this delicate balance. In the case of pitocin use, the natural feedback from baby signaling the contractions is too intense no longer exists. When left alone, if baby needs a break from the contractions, their body sends a hormonal message to mom’s brain and the contractions decrease.
Leaving well enough alone means, not disturbing or interrupting the laboring mother unless absolutely necessary. A train midwife can pick out when something is not quite right and can then ask to check whatever is concerning.
The second advice, do nothing post birth, is completely against society norms. We have developed a view that women are supposed to just bounce back to where they were before pregnancy. This ignores the fact that a woman's body has physically changed and rearranged in the previous 9 months. The 6-8 weeks postpartum a mothers organs are slowly moving back to pre-pregnancy position. Her body is also healing from the stress and tissue damage birth caused.
The complete advice was 1 week of bed and baby snuggles, except bathrooming. This allows the mother to rest, her body to heal, and bonding with the baby. Week 2 was to take place around the bed, in other words more time up, but not leaving the sacred space of the bedroom. Week 3 was around the house, but not leaving the nest.
Did I follow this exactly? No. I was still in do it myself mode. I did well the first week, but then quickly wanted to resume summer activities. I paid for it a bit in that it took my stretched and weak pelvis longer to heal than it should have. This time? I fully intend to follow that advice and rest until I feel the energy shift in my body, signaling it's time to resume activity.
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