Finding positives in birthing experience

For many women, the thought of childbirth evokes images of hysterical women groaning in pain as portrayed in dramas and furthered by shows like ‘One Born Every Minute’.

However, Positive Birth Movement facilitator Robina May is on a mission to debunk the myths of childbirth and help women overcome fears of birthing.

“The Positive Birth Movement is a grassroots movement, spreading positivity about childbirth via a global network of free Positive Birth groups, linked by social media,” Ms May said.

“There are monthly meet-ups that are free and each month we discuss the same topic all over the world.

“It’s somewhere for people to go and feel comfortable in a relaxed environment and share any concerns they may have… because all women should be entitled to have a positive birth.”

The first Traralgon chapter of the movement, open to anyone to attend, will begin at 1.30pm on Friday, 28 July at the Traralgon library, with discussions on ‘the fear of birth’ facilitated by Ms May.

She defined a positive birth experience as the woman walking away feeling empowered, feeling that she had achieved what she wanted and was happy with the outcome.

Ms May said there were many barriers to women achieving positive birth experiences, listing being “unsure of their choice and unsure of their rights” as some significant contributors to the problem.

“I think informed choice is a big thing. Women need to be informed of anything so that they can then make the decision of whether they feel it is necessary, or what are the alternatives,” she said.

“Having their partner involved, choosing the right care provider, choosing the right place to birth, having the right environment and support from family and community are important.

“Not going in with the fear of the unknown and being well prepared, educated (can help).”

Ms May, an experienced childbirth educator who has been involved in childbirth “for years”, said it was important to understand how fear and the body worked.

“Fear interferes with the natural birth hormones. So, if you’ve got adrenaline, rather than oxytocin and endorphins, your uterus actually won’t function,” she said.

“In the flight-or-fight mode, your blood and oxygen is redirected to your vital organs, while your uterus isn’t a vital organ.

“So if people are well aware and understand this, we can discuss ways to cope with fear and what they can do to feel more settled and have a positive experience.

“That is why fear and the discussion next week will be a really good one and I am looking forward to that being my first one, because fear is something that women really need to understand the importance of, how fear creates tension which creates pain as well.”

Ms May said the monthly Positive Birth Movement sessions were not so much designed as a tool for education, but more for discussion.

“This is taking it into women’s’ and society’s hands, that they are going to be the ones discussing with me what it is they want and I’ll facilitate them with positive prompts,” she said.

“The idea is to make women feel empowered to give birth and walk away, even if they do have a caesarean or intervention, they can still feel it was a positive experience… because they did everything they could possibly do.

“You don’t know what turn your birthing is going to take.”

For more information on the free Positive Birth Movement sessions, to be held in Traralgon on the last Friday of every month, visit the Positive Birth Movement Gippsland Facebook page.