Reach­ing out for sup­port

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Cover Story -

What should you do to max­imise your chances of hav­ing a pos­i­tive birth ex­pe­ri­ence? 1. Krysia Lynch of AIMS sug­gests writ­ing up a birth pref­er­ence sheet, a term she prefers to ‘birth plan’. “These are a good thing be­cause they give you a bet­ter idea of where you are and what you want,” she says. “They also have to be dis­cussed, which means that you have to have a con­ver­sa­tion with your health­care providers. “Grad­u­ally, you will be em­pow­er­ing your­self with more in­for­ma­tion and get­ting a bet­ter idea of what might hap­pen in labour.” 2. If there is a branch of the Pos­i­tive Birth Move­ment in your area at­tend one of their meet­ings. These give preg­nant women the op­por­tu­nity to hear the birth ex­pe­ri­ences of other moth­ers and in do­ing so, counter the fear of labour. 3. Make sure that your an­te­na­tal classes give you prac­ti­cal tips and tech­niques for han­dling the sus­tained pain of labour. If you don’t find the free hos­pi­tal-run classes suf­fi­ciently in­for­ma­tive, Cuidiú runs an­te­na­tal cour­ses. These cost up­wards of €100. 4. If you are still fear­ful, seek help. Ask your GP or make an ap­point­ment with a ther­a­pist who has ex­pe­ri­ence in treat­ing preg­nant women. 5. If your labour doesn’t go to plan and you are left reel­ing from the ex­pe­ri­ence, speak up and ask for an­swers from your med­i­cal team. Of­ten, just know­ing why things hap­pened the way they did can help you to make sense of it all. 6. Find the right peo­ple to dis­cuss your ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter the birth. If friends and fam­ily aren’t re­cep­tive Cuidiú runs a par­ent-topar­ent post-natal sup­port groups for this very rea­son. 7. Go on­line. You’ll find peo­ple like Lisa Ryan who blogs about her life with her four-and-a-half-year-old son at www.bad­mammy.com. She started her blog as a way of telling her own trau­matic birth story. “It’s since helped me to open up con­ver­sa­tions with other women who didn’t get the births they wanted,” she says.

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