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Myth-busting with Marie Louise: Giving birth

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Author: Hegenberger Medical

To mark the start of our new partnership with The Modern Midwife, midwife and author Marie Louise explores (and busts) three of the biggest myths surrounding childbirth:

– Pain and planning: Factoring pain into birth plans

– Do as you’re told: The importance of speaking up

– Go with Hollywood: What comes next after waters break

For straightforward advice on how to plan for the best birth experience, Marie Louise is an excellent choice. Visit https://hegenbergermedical.com/mothers/ for details of learning content and practical advice including videos and factsheets developed especially for the new Hegenberger Medical – The Modern Midwife collaboration.

Giving birth is one of the biggest events in anyone’s life, and its natural to feel anxious and look for sources of information on the topic. This month we asked The Modern Midwife and one of the Hegenberger Medical’s Clinical team members Marie Louise what some of the most common preconceptions are that she finds when supporting expectant mothers in maternity departments. Here’s what she said:

MYTH 1: Birth is going to hurt!

REALITY: Although many people believe that birth is going to hurt, this isn’t necessarily true. Yes pain is common during birth but it is possible to have a positive and powerful birth experience. We associate pain with negative consequences but there is positive pain too. We’ve all experienced pain or discomfort during a hard workout, a particularly good stretch, etc. This doesn’t mean that it’s a bad experience and something we’d never want to do or participate in again. Lots of women describe birth in a similar way, it’s a powerful and amazing experience with a rush of endorphins afterwards. As with all things, proper planning can lead to better outcomes. Just like planning a route for a jog and putting on the correct trainers, planning your birth and ensuring the right tools and techniques are available will lead to better experiences and positive outcomes. There is so much more to birth than pain, there is joy, support, care and empowerment!

MYTH 2: It’s best to do as you’re told / medical professionals always know best

REALITY: All patients can and should seek advice, support and guidance from trained medical professionals. However, and as a medical professional this may seem counterintuitive for me to say, we aren’t the experts in your specific body. No one knows your body or preferences like you. That’s why it’s important to make decisions based on what’s right for you and your personal circumstances. As medical professionals we recognise that there is no one rule that fits everyone, we’ll work with you and share best practice, information and guidance but ultimately you’re the decision maker in the room for your body. Its ok to request more information, to decline options, and to ask questions. I’d encourage all patients to find out more and work with your medical team so they can deliver the best possible care for you and your new baby.

MYTH 3: You’ll give birth soon after your ‘waters go’

REALITY: I’m sure that we can all agree that Hollywood has crept into many aspects of life and I’m afraid to say that the Maternity ward is no different. Despite how birth is portrayed in the movies or on TV, when a mother’s waters break (the rupture of the membrane) this doesn’t automatically mean that you need to rush to your midwife or call them out to you. There are some standard things that we recommend because they are important, such as noting the time, colour, smell and your baby’s movements, but unless you identify something abnormal there is no need to grab your baby bag and head to Hospital. Relax! Sometimes your waters will go and you won’t experience labour for several more hours. In fact a study that we often quote to patients found that only 10% of mums will go into labour within 24 hours of giving birth…! I’d recommend discussing your plan with your midwife or healthcare professional regarding your waters breaking, and if in doubt its ok to ask.

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