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Birth: A normal life event

Worldwide, approximately 140 million women give birth each year. Birthing choices are an important part of achieving the kind of birth experience that you want. Now that you are pregnant, you can begin to think about what your body can achieve.

Birthing in your country may normally be in a birthing centre, midwife-led unit, maternity hospital, maternity centre or in your home. Marie Antoinette gave birth in public, in front of 200 people! We will talk more about ways to birth and where to birth in the following weeks’ sessions.

As a pregnant woman, you may find that friends, family, work colleagues and strangers now love to let you know about their pregnancy, labour and birth story. This is normal - you will want to do the same after you’ve had your baby. But in order to look after yourself and focus on your normal life event of pregnancy, labour and birth, you will need to try and ignore the negative details and experiences of other women’s births. You are an individual. Your baby is an individual. And you will have your own individual birthing experience too.

In a recent research paper (2017), one woman described birthing stories as being similar to reviews of online products:

Most of the people who are making the effort to put a review on is because it’s negative.

Women said that the negative stories are shared more frequently. Therefore, it is important that you seek out the positive experiences and find the positive suggestions and tips from other women. These positive birth experiences empower pregnant women.

Birth stories are now easily accessible on the internet. Our advice to you would be to try to:

  • Minimise the amount of birth stories that you read online.
  • Maximise on talking with friends and family that you know will be honest and reliable – and ask them to give you some positive suggestions from every birth.
  • Remember that every woman follows a different birth journey. Some women are very healthy and well throughout pregnancy, other women have physical or mental health problems. The birth journey can even be affected simply by how far the woman’s home is from the birthing unit or hospital. No two women are the same, therefore no two women will make the same choices or have the same experience.
  • Try not to overload yourself with information from others.
  • If a birthing story is playing on your mind, talk it over with a midwife, doctor or maternity care health professional. They will provide you with factual information that is relevant to you.

When listening to birthing stories, remember that you and your baby are individuals. You will have your own birthing experience that will be different in many ways to those of other women.

  • Take home exercise: Talk with a close relative or friend about their birth stories. Ask them to focus on the positive things that helped them during their labour and birth.

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This article is from the free online course:

Journey to birth

Trinity College Dublin