Birth articles for the woman who wants to know more! BellyBelly has your birth questions covered. There is so much to know for such a short space of time, which may leave you overwhelmed and confused. Giving birth can be a more empowering, informed and enjoyable experience with the right information, leaving you feeling more confident, in control and able to make your own decisions and choices for birth. BellyBelly.com.au is the Thinking Woman's Website for Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
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"Sorry, you're not in labour." These are difficult words for birth attendants to say, even right up there with, “I’m sorry, I’ve made a mistake.” They are also very difficult words for the birthing woman to hear. I’ve been on both the receiving and giving ends of those words, so here are some stories where women were not in established labour, and what happened.
Stalled labour? If you find that your labour reaches a plateau or stalls, unless you're informed about what a stalled labour means and what you can do to help yourself, it can become a very anxious time. Find out what you can do to avoid medical interventions in the case of a stalled labour.
A hospital was able to reduce its caesarean section rate by 21% during a project which was designed to attempt to lower the caesarean section rate. How did they do it? Read on to find out what happened.
Active birth - because every pregnant woman deserves a birth that is less painful, involves less trauma to the baby, is shorter and allows your partner to be more involved.
Acupuncture is a safe, effective therapy for mothers-to-be during pregnancy, for a whole range of ailments. Induction acupuncture can help post-dates women to establish labour. If you're trying to beat an induction of labour, check out this article on natural labour induction with acupuncture, first!
Worried that your baby isn't engaged yet? Often women are led to believe that especially where you are a first time mother, your baby should be engaged weeks before labour. However, this isn't the case for many women and they often go on to have great births! Find out everything you need to know about babies engaging.
Whether to follow the instinctive urge of bearing down, or to have another person direct the pushing efforts, is a decision that each mother needs to consider in planning for spontaneous birth.
The best birth books are right here! Choosing the right books to read about birth is so very important. Make sure you have a couple of these birth books in your library!
Been told you're having a big baby, or worried about it? Twenty years ago, physicians were known to tell women that the reason they had a caesarean was that the child's head was just too big for the size of the pelvis. The trouble began when these same women would stay at home for their next child's birth and give birth to a bigger baby through that same pelvis. Find out what you're really capable of and why a big baby is nothing to fear.
'Birth As A Bowel Movement' is a humourous analogy of birth. You'll laugh, you'll relate, and you'll see how birth can compare to a bowel movement!
Birth plan - people either love them or hate them - find out why here. Includes a downloadable birth plan template in Word format.
These recommendations are taken from a report on Appropriate Technology for Birth published by the World Health Organization in April 1985 and are known as the 'Fortelesa Declaration'.
Birth support can make or break a labouring woman's experience of birth. Being asked to be a birth support person for a friend or relative is such an honour. Want to be the best possible birth support person? Here's 10 helpful tips so you can give her great support during labour.
Many of us have an idea of our 'fantasy birth' - how we'd like our birth to be... and even though we know to plan for the unexpected, what really happens when things actually go very different to what we imagined? Grief after birth can be profound for some women - find out how you can help yourself overcome grief after an 'unplanned' birth.
Birth videos can be very informative, educational and uplifting to watch. There are also some birth videos which are very disempowering and scary - I have heard of some really scary birth videos being played at birth education classes. However if you're looking for some great videos and clips of birth, here's a few suggestions and some favourite birth videos online.
Braxton Hicks contractions may be felt in pregnancy, increasing in number and/or intensity as your pregnancy progresses. Find out why you may get Braxton Hicks contractions and what you should do if you experience them.
Many mothers ask, Can I breastfeed after a caesarean birth? So, does caesarean birth pose potential problems with breastfeeding? What can you expect and how can you give yourself the best chance of successful breastfeeding after caesarean?
Breech birth supportive midwives and obstetricians in Australia. Here's a list which contains details of midwives and obstetricians who will attend vaginal breech births across Australia. Breech birth is safest under the care of someone experienced in breech birth.
Caesarean section poses risks to both the baby and the mother. While caesareans are certainly a life saving procedure for some mothers and babies, this article has been written for women who are interested in researching the risks involved with caesarean section for baby.
Caesarean section, like any major surgery, poses risks to both mother and baby. A medical condition may completely cancel out this risk and be the necessary thing to do. However in Australia (and other countries like the USA) there are a huge amount of unnecessary caesarean sections being performed, and the consequences often accepted as something that 'saved' the mother or baby. Before you choose or agree to caesarean section, here are some risks you need to know about.
Find out how you might feel after having a caesarean section, from emotional feelings to physical ones. This article covers pain relief, breastfeeding, resting, sex and tips to help yourself to recover. Some personal post-caesarean stories from our members are included.
A caesarean section is an operation that enables your baby to be born through an incision made on your pregnant belly. You may plan an elective caesarean for medical or social reasons or you may experience an emergency caesarean when labour does not go as planned. This article includes lots of information on caesareans as well as some caesarean birth stories.
Been told that you need a caesarean? Without full information, a mother may feel that she has no option but to accept a caesarean if deemed most appropriate by her carer. Many caesarean mothers feel that they had no alternative but to put themselves fully in the hands of the medical professionals, however good information can go a long way to enabling women to take part in the decision-making process.
Caesarean section or vaginal birth? Why bother going through the process of giving birth vaginally when you can have a planned caesarean section? What does the tried and tested, 'old-fashioned' vaginal birth process have to offer by comparison?
Castor oil is one of the 'word of mouth' natural methods that women try in order to get labour going. But it's important to do your research first. Is castor oil safe?
Fear of childbirth has become something of a modern day epidemic amongst pregnant women, where more than ever, women are frightened about birth and what 'might' possibly go wrong.
Contractions - don't we all want to know what they feel like before we give birth?! We asked BellyBelly forum members to describe contractions.
Want drugs when you give birth? Thinking, 'why should I needlessly suffer?' There's something in this picture that you probably haven't considered...
Delayed cord clamping - and why you should demand it for your baby's long term health. Find out more about delaying cord clamping.
The doula movement is going full steam ahead in Australia and the popularity of the doula is booming by word of mouth advertising. If you are considering hiring a doula for your birth, read on to find out more about what a doula offers and how you can locate one.
Doula training is widely available both online and in person around the world, so if you're thinking about doula training, read on!
Birth doulas are worth their weight in gold. If you're thinking of hiring a birth doula, or if I need to convince you, here's 10 great reasons why you should have a birth doula at your birth.
Interested in working as a doula in Australia? Here are some frequently asked question I hear from women wanting to become doulas.
In early labour, the cervix changes position, softens, thins and begins to dilate. You will be in early labour until you reach 4 centimetres dilation, after which time you are in active labour. Find out ways you can have an enjoyable, low-stress early labour and how you can distract yourself at home!
Epidurals may provide effective pain relief, but they don't come without their share of side effects and risks. More in this article by Dr Sarah Buckley.
Wanting to find out if you are in false labour or real labour? Find out some facts about false labour, as well as how to tell if labour is false or established and most important of all - why there really isn't such a thing as false labour.
Fast births are nothing to fear! If you think there is a possibility that you may have a fast birth, here's a great article full of advice on what to do if labour is progressing too quickly to get to hospital. Print it out and stick it on your fridge for peace of mind (if not yours, your partners!). You'll both know exactly what to do during a fast birth.
Pregnancy and childbirth after a loss is a time of fear and turmoil for most couples. A brave and courageous BellyBelly member shares the heart-wrenching story of the loss of her newborn son, followed by a heartwarming achievement - birth of her second son, born naturally. Some readers may find this article upsetting, please read at your own discretion.
Waterbirth International has been conducting a research project for ten years, including a survey of women who have given birth in water. On the survey form is a questions that asks, "Would you consider giving birth again in water?" With over 1500 surveys collected, there has only been one woman that answered no to that question.
So you've decided you'd like a birth attendant or doula to support you for your upcoming birth - congratulations! It's a big step for some couples to decide that they need extra support, but rest assured, this kind of support is one you will be very glad you called upon.
Homebirth in Australia is growing - past figures based on 2003 statistics in Victoria showed more babies were BBA (or born before arrival!) than were homebirthed. But since 2003, homebirth has been in the media and on political agendas - and more women are homebirthing. Find out all about homebirth in Australia.
If you find yourself needing affirmation or extra confidence that you can birth normally, you must read this incredible article by Dr. Sarah Buckley. Sarah tells of the four major hormonal systems that are active and supporting you during labour and birth - oxytocin, the hormone of love; endorphins, hormones of pleasure and transcendence; adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones of excitement; and prolactin, the mothering hormone.
What do you pack if you are giving birth in a hospital? Even if you have a good idea or a list in mind, you might find something in our 'what to pack' list that you haven't thought of! We also asked our members to contribute what they felt was helpful to them when they were in hospital.
Trying to induce or bring on labour? Natural methods of induction offer alternative ways to try and ripen your cervix or stimulate labour - especially if you are trying to beat a medical induction. So what natural methods of induction are there? Read on to find out!
Contemplating an induction of labour? Find out what the different methods of labour induction are and what risks are involved.
Should a man attend the birth of his baby? 7 steps to creating a successful birth team with your partner, written by dad and author of 'Men At Birth,' David Vernon.
Planning a natural birth? Most pregnant women I speak to express some level of desire, be it overwhelming or wavering, to give birth naturally (e.g. no drugs or interventions) in a time when natural birth seems to be slowly fading away. So what can you do to improve your chance of giving birth, naturally?
Natural pain relief methods for labour are a fantastic way of avoiding medical pain relief, which has side effects for you and your baby and starts off the 'cascade of intervention.'
Nipple stimulation is a natural way to help strengthen and encourage contractions. When you do nipple stimulation, it produces the hormone oxytocin, which is also produced when your baby breastfeeds, in order to keep producing milk, and is the hormone needed for labour. Find out how to do nipple stimulation.
Researchers such as French surgeon and natural birth pioneer Michel Odent believe that if we can be more respectful of our mammalian roots, and the hormones that we share, we can have more chance of a straightforward birth ourselves.
Birthing is one of the most intimate, instinctive and personal experiences of a woman's life. For most people, it's very easy to understand that a woman in labour will need and appreciate as much privacy as possible. However sometimes, it's those who are closest to us that are unable to respect that important need for privacy, when we need it the most.
Can't decide if you would like to have your child(ren) present at their sibling's birth? A mother (who is also a midwife) beautifully captures her thoughts and experiences with siblings at birth. You'll never look at this issue the same again.
Signs of labour for those soon to have a baby! Find out what the early signs of labour are.
It was a problem long ago and it's still a problem now - women being told that their pelvis is 'too small' for their baby (or baby is big) so they will need a caesarean. Here's the real truth behind the 'small pelvis' phenomenon.
Sterile water injections have been successfully used to get rid of all or most of the back pain experienced by the unfortunate women who suffer from it in labour. We spoke to the Manager of Belmont Birthing Service and NSW Midwife of the Year, Carolyn Hastie about Sterile Water Injections and find out how they work.
A tens machine is an option for pain relief during labour. So what are the pros and cons of using a tens machine? Read on to find out.
Labour doesn't end with the birth of your baby, but the third stage, or, the birth of the placenta. The management of this stage of labour has a great deal more importance than you might think and is definitely something to look into for both you and your baby's health.
If you have had a caesarean before you probably have already heard the words 'uterine rupture' from your carer or elsewhere. But it's not only those who have had a previous caesarean who are at risk. Find out what a uterine rupture is, how to reduce your chances and to find out how safe VBAC really is.
Are you planning a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC)? Make sure you read this article to find out the challenges you may be faced with in order to have the birth you are hoping for. 'VBAC - On Whose Terms' will help you make a more informed decision about your Vaginal Birth After Caesarean.
The scar from your previous caesarean is strong. While many people fear that the scar will rupture and cause the death of the mother and/ or her child, medical studies have shown that this risk is greatly overstated.
VBAC planning? Had a caesarean and thinking about having a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) next time around? This great VBAC article is chock full of advice, tips and beautiful birth photos from mothers who have done it! Find out what they'd like to share to help you plan an empowering vaginal birth after caesarean.
VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) sabotage is rife in the birth world, dashing the VBAC hopes and dreams of many women giving birth in hospitals. If you're planning a VBAC, do you know what restrictions may be imposed on you, severely hindering your chances? Here are 9 acts of VBAC sabotage that are very common.
Having seen many water births as a doula, I can say that they are amongst the most beautiful births I have ever seen. There's something so soothing about birth in water. The babies are often so calm at birth, you may think that they aren't breathing - but they just aren't crying. Of course, the baby still gets its oxygen from the placenta while under water, so its a very safe and beautiful way to give birth.
Want to have a waterbirth in Australia? Here's a list we've compiled which contains details of hospitals and birth centres across Australia where you can have a waterbirth.
Waters breaking - what happens and when?! You might imagine it like the movies would have you believe - a heavily pregnant woman goes out shopping in a glamourous outfit and then at the most inappropriate moment, her water breaks all over the floor and she goes into spontaneous labour that very minute! Rest assured it's not often like that at all. Here's some helpful information about waters breaking and what happens next, as well as some real life stories.
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