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The Empowered Birth

Library

Some Resources To Get You Started

VIDEOS

Why Birth Matters- a YouTube video made with the Lego Movie Maker. A child explains why birth is important and why doulas are needed.

Serving Dr. Abbassi-- Dawn Thompson of Improving Birth (Org) serves Dr. Abbassi with the lawsuit for battery. YouTube (June 4, 2015)

ARTICLES AND BLOGS

Dear Friend, Birth Doesn't Have to Suck-- an open letter to everyone who is going to birth or who might birth one day. Written by Cristen Pascucci, founder of Birth Monopoly and former Vice President of Improving Birth. Share this article with every mother who needs to hear these words.

Nosy, Yoga-Ball Bouncing Doctor Haters: Why I Changed My Tune-- a mother who was dismissive of the "natural birth" movement realizes why this all matters. Improving Birth blog (2014)

The Dangers of "Winging It" in Labor and Why Every Woman Needs a Birth Plan-- Just going to "wing it"? Here's why you might want to read up on birth and learn your options before you go into labor with your first child. Fit Pregnancy article, now on Birthwell Birthright (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 3, 2014)

How Using Our Power as Consumers Could Change Maternity Care Forever-- we have a lot more power than we realize in changing maternity care. Mothering (January 15, 2016)

10 Ways to Give Birth Like an Anarchist-- the best advice for birth I've ever read. Jennifer Hazi (April 6, 2018)

Birth Can Be Empowering, Enjoyable, Even Orgasmic---We Just Need to Approach it Differently-- Milli Hill (The Positive Birth Movement) talks about how the deeply held cultural belief that birth has to be traumatic needs to be challenged. iNews (November 28th, 2018)

BLOGS AND WEBSITES

Improving Birth-- a grass-roots movement and organization that helps people learn and exercise their rights in childbirth. Improving Birth was a key advocate in the cases of Kimberley Turbin and Caroline Malatesta, created the #BreakTheSilence Campaign, and has a Birth Trauma Toolkit and additional resources.

Wise Woman Way of Birth-- Gloria Lemay's amazing blog posts will shift your mindset and show you the power in birth that often gets buried in mainstream messages and practices.

Birth Monopoly A birth rights blog started by Cristen Pascucci, former Vice President of Improving Birth.

Midwife Thinking--An excellent, evidence based blog on pregnancy, labor and birth practices, focused on the physiological process of birth and whether/when benefits of intervention outweighs the risks.

Giving Birth Naturally-- This blog is no longer available on a regular web domain, but much like the Northern Houses or Westeros, the Internet Remembers. If you're looking for information specific to natural birth then you will love this blog.

Sara Wickham: Midwife, Speaker, Author, Researcher--Sara Wickham is a well-respected member of the birth work community and practices in the U.K. She is the author of several books including "Inducing Labor: Making Informed Decisions".

Evidence Based Birth--If you're looking for a complete breakdown of multiple studies on any given topic, including induction, due dates, big babies, waterbirth, and more, then Rebecca Dekker probably has it! She is the author of "Babies Are Not Pizzas" and a well-respected member of the birth work community for anyone who believes in a birthing person's rights to autonomy and informed choice in their care.

Stand and Deliver--Dr. Rixa Freeze maintains a blog with a special interest in breech birth, and teaching breech vaginal birth to a new generation of care providers.

Better Birth Blog-- Lauren McClain writes about all things birth related with a special focus on breech vaginal birth.

Slow Birth-- Jacquie Munro, a doula in BC's Lower Mainland, writes about physiological birth.

Whole Woman-- a whole category devoted to birth, another to feminism and other women's health issues.

The Deranged Housewife-- a childbirth advocate blogs about birth.

Birth Takes a Village-- Jessica Austin, birth doula, informed choice activist, and educator, shares amazing birth stories that take place outside of the mainstream birth culture. She is a powerful advocate for parents and believes that birth education and resources should be accessible to every parent.

THE BOOK LIST

The Positive Birth Book-- written by Milli Hill, founder of the Positive Birth Movement, this book outlines your rights in birth and gives you the information you need to make your own choices. U.K.-based, but has lots of useful tips that apply universally. You can order in hard copy or e-book on Kindle.

Give Birth Like a Feminist--written by Milli Hill. Following up after the success of The Positive Birth Book, Milli Hill dives deeper into the issues of the Patriarchy and how we've all been given a "raw deal" in our births in mainstream birth culture. She encourages women to take back their births, and as a result we empower other women that come after us. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the birth advocacy side of birth work, as well as for new mothers who don't do well with being told what they are "allowed" to do with their own bodies.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth--written by Henci Goer. This book goes into the risks, benefits, and alternative options for each of the most common interventions in maternity care, starting with the most invasive such as Cesarean, Induction, and Augmented Labour.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth--written by Ina May Gaskin, this is THE book for physiological birth! Learn all about the mind/body connection, the "sphincter law", and how the medical perspective of childbirth fails to understand how our bodies actually work.

Why Induction Matters--written by Rachel Reed. The author of the amazing blog Midwife Thinking addresses the common reasons why induction is offered and the actual evidence for those recommendations. She encourages critical thinking when it comes to decisions around induction. Even if you don't plan to induce your labour, you will want this book! Its compact size also makes it a great gift to stuff into a baby shower basket for an expecting mom!

Why Cesarean Matters--written by Claire Gogin. This book is the most comprehensive guide to choosing a cesarean and how to prepare for one. There is an additional chapter for support people to read on caring for a mother after cesarean, as well as helpful tips for postpartum recovery.

Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding-- written by Dr. Jack Newman, this book is the go-to book for breastfeeding and a favourite resource for midwives and doulas as well as lactation consultants. He covers the reasons why breastfeeding success is often sabotaged by the medical industry, both intentionally and unintentionally. He addresses several myths, misconceptions, and breaks down exactly what you need to do to avoid a lot of the common mistakes that parents can make when they're trying to nurse their babies. You will LOVE this book!

VIDEOS AND YOUTUBE CHANNELS

BirthPedia-- Dr. Brad Bootstaylor, Perinatologist has a series of videos on everything from Induction to VBAC.

PS From Penny-- Penny Simkin talks about all things birth on her YouTube Channel

Has Improving Infant Mortality Led to the Neglect of Maternal Health?-- Dr. Neel Shah shares his thoughts.

Ted Talks for When You're Expecting-- Ted Talks for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

Dr. Jack Newman's Visual Guide to Breastfeeding-- Curious about breastfeeding and how it all works? This video will help get you off to a good start!

PODCASTS

Evidence Based Birth on Apple Podcast-- Rebecca Dekker talks about the evidence for or against various birth practices.

The Midwives' Cauldron-- Dr. Rachel Reed and Katie James talk about birth physiology, reproductive cycles, the cycles of our bodies as we age, the wisdom of our ancestors in herstory, birth inside the system, and so much more!

DOWNLOADS AND EBOOKS

"When Baby Lies Sideways" eBook-- Is your baby lying transverse (sideways)? This book was written by Gail Tully, creator of Spinning Babies and Certified Professional Midwife. Spinning Babies

FULL INDEX

Taking Back Your Power to Birth: Something to inspire you and spur you to take charge of your birth experience when doubt sets in.

The Maternity Care Crisis: The truth about birth in the medical system and what we can do to fix it

Obstetric Violence: The hidden misogyny in maternity care.

~Systemic Racism~ The pitfalls to watch out for if you're BIPOC in addition to female

Systemic Racism--Black Communities The unique dangers, difficulties and biases that Black families face in maternity care.

Systemic Racism--Aboriginal/Indigenous Communities The way our maternity system harms Indigenous families

~Horizontal Violence~ The struggles and trauma birth workers face when they advocate for their clients against the system

~The History~ How our maternity care system became what it is today

~Birth Advocacy~ How to change the system for the better

Birth Trauma: Recognition and Healing

Informed Choice: Understanding Our Rights to Bodily Autonomy

Choosing a Care Provider: Beyond the Midwife/Doctor Debate

~Midwifery Care~ Everything you need to know about midwives

~Midwifery for Marginalized Communities~ Midwife efforts toward equality and respectful care for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ families

Midwifery for Marginalized Communities--Indigenous Communities Efforts of midwives specific to Indigenous families

Doula Support: The Birth "Sherpas"

~Support for Marginalized Communities~ Doula efforts to support BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ families

--Indigenous Communities Doula support for Indigenous Families

Pregnancy: Everything from conception before birth

~First Trimester~ The first 3 months and what to expect

~Second Trimester~ The middle 3 months and what to expect

~Third Trimester~ The last 3 months and what to expect

Nutrition: Eating well for pregnancy and an empowered birth

Weight Management: What to know about weight gain

Managing Pregnancy Discomfort: Aches, pains, and digestive issues

~Digestive Issues~ Morning sickness, bloating, constipation, heartburn and more

Planning and Preparing For Birth: Planning an Empowered Birth

Waiting for Labour: The Last Few Weeks

~Membrane Stripping/Sweeping~ What you need to know before you agree to a sweep

~The "Overdue" Baby~ When you go past 40 weeks

Labour: Comfort Measures and Trusting The Process

Routine Labour Practices: What to Expect in Modern Maternity Care

~Vaginal Exams/Cervical Checks~ Understanding the option of a vaginal exam before and during labour

~Eating & Drinking vs IV Fluids~ Understanding your options for keeping hydrated and nourished during labour

~Electronic Fetal Monitoring~ The strap and the monitors during labour

~Epidural~ The most common medical pain relief option explained

Natural Birth: Supporting Our Own Physiology

~Home Birth~ When you really don't want a hospital birth

--HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) Home birth for VBAC Moms

~Free Birth~ Birthing without assistance

Labour Augmentation: When You Decide Labour Needs a Boost

~Use of Pitocin~ Understanding the difference between oxytocin and synthetic hormones

~Artificial Rupture of Membranes (Breaking Your Waters) Speeding up labour by breaking the amniotic sac

Pregnancy, Labour & Birth Variations vs Complications: When to Worry and When to Question the Recommendations.

~Advanced Maternal Age~ When you're over 35

~Grand Multiparity: Baby #5 and Beyond~ When you've birthed many times

~The "Big" Baby When your baby is estimated to be "big"

~Low Fluid~ When amniotic fluid levels are guessed to be low

~Group B Strep~ When your GBS test comes up positive

~Prelabour Rupture of Membranes~ When your waters release before labour starts

~Gestational Diabetes~ When your Glucose Tolerance Test is positive

~Failure to Progress~ When labour isn't following the textbook

~Meconium~ When baby poops before birth

~Malpositioning of the Baby, Nuchal Cords (Cord Around the Neck), and Prolonged Pushing~ Everything to know about a slow birth or "stuck" baby

~Hypertension, Pre-Eclampsia, and Liver Problems~ When you have high blood pressure or complications from high blood pressure.

~Placenta Complications~ When the placenta's functioning or positioning is in question

~Birth Complications~ When birth needs help

Induction of Labour: Everything You Need to Know if You're Questioning Your Induction

Assisted Vaginal Birth: Episiotomy, Forceps, and Vacuum

Cesarean Birth Everything on Belly Births

~The Cesarean Epidemic~ Why our cesarean rates are so high

~Choosing a Cesarean~ When you feel a cesarean is your best option

~Planning a Gentle Cesarean~ Planning a positive Belly Birth

Birth After Cesarean: VBAC, CBAC, and Repeat Planned Cesarean

~Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)~ Planning a labour after cesarean

--VBAC After 2 or More Cesareans When you're going for a VBAC after multiple cesareans

--VBAC with Multiples VBAC with twins etc

--HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean)~ VBAC at home

~Cesarean Birth After Cesarean (CBAC)~ Your backup plan for a labour after cesarean

Breech Birth: The Other Variation of Normal

~Breech VBAC~ VBAC when your baby is also breech

Multiple Births: When There's More Than One Bun in the Oven

The Third Stage: Release of the Placenta

The Golden Hours: Those Precious Hours After Birth

~Routine Newborn Procedures~ Planning for baby exams and care after birth

--Erythromycin Ointment (the eye drops) The evidence for the eye drops

Newborn Complications and Pregnancy/Infant Loss: When You Need Support to Make Tough Decisions

Postpartum for Parents: Self-Care After Birth

~Support for Dads and Birth Partners~ Support for your significant others after birth

Breastfeeding: Lactation Information

Miscellaneous Topics: For the Curious Birth Scholar

Reproductive Health: Health Topics for the Rest of Your Lifespan

Just For Fun: When You Need a Break From Learning

Taking Back Your Power To Birth

Sometimes, we forget why we're fighting so hard for the birth we want. Whenever you start to get discouraged, or someone has said something that puts doubt in your head, remind yourself why you need to Take Charge of Your Birth.

 

NEWS ARTICLES & EDITORIALS

The Truth About That "Your Googling and My Medical Degree" Mug--"Listen, people: Googling does not mean I think I’m a doctor. It’s a sign of being an engaged, empowered “e-patient.” Society for Participatory Medicine (November 30, 2015)

Alabama Mothers Cross State Lines to Give Birth With Midwives-- in a state where midwifery care is illegal, mothers who want a better option than the hospitals are willing to travel for their births. AL (September 26, 2016)

Meghan Markle is Being a Birth "Brat" And I Love Her For It-- "controversy" arose over the Duchess of Sussex's reported decision to have a doula and birth at home with her first child. Naturally the obstetric community had opinions. Some media outlets called her a "birth brat". Here's why the term isn't such a bad thing. Metro (April 8, 2019)

What Women Need to Know Before Watching "The Business of Being Born"-- Danielle Lasher is back with another fantastic article on birth and birth culture. Baby Gaga (August 5, 2017)

Different Ways to Give Birth-- birthing on your back isn't the only way to do it. This video shows the many different positions you can birth in. Parenting Today (August 12, 2018)

Normal Vaginal Birth-- the risks and benefits of vaginal birth and what you can do to encourage the process. The Power to Push Campaign (October 16, 2018)

BLOG POSTS

The Price of Apathy-- why we need to care. Three Rivers Birth Services Blog (September 21, 2015)

Nope, I Am Not a Doctor...And That's Kind of the Point--"If there is anything that I want you to take from this, it is the understanding that the medical system is a huge business that literally will fall and crumble if YOU (us) are not sick. The entire industry of maternity would no longer exist if women believed the simple fact that our bodies were made to give birth and that it is not a medical event." Earth Based Mom (January 12, 2018)

"But I Don't Want to Birth In a Hospital"-- why the choice of birth place should ONLY be decided by the birthing person. Whole Woman/Matter Hatter blog (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford on October 21, 2014)

Don't Tell Women There's "No Point" in Making a Birth Plan-- why a birth plan isn't "pointless" and why we need to stop telling women not to bother. Milli Hill, founder of The Positive Birth Movement wrote an article for Best Daily in the UK (now deleted off their site) and it was re-posted at Mumfidential. (Original article posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford January 30, 2015)

8 Ways to Have an Informed Birth-- There is no right way to feel about giving birth—every family makes their own choices for the occasion. Having had two drastically different birthing experiences, the only piece of advice I have to give is not about where to give birth or how to do it. My number one piece of advice is simply this: be as informed as possible. Regardless of what kind of birthing experience you think you want, your best birth will always be an informed one. Mommy Nearest (February 13, 2015)

Technological vs Traditional: A Striking Look At How Childbirth is Shaped By Culture-- This is a special excerpt from the new autobiography of internationally renowned childbirth educator and anthropologist Sheila Kitzinger, finished shortly before her death in April 2015. Mothering (July 6, 2015)

What Does Evidence-Based Information Really Mean?-- Dawn Thompson does a podcast to explain the terminology. New Mommy Media (August 25, 2016)

How Our Birth Culture Undermines Your Birthing Potential-- the culture in which we give birth isn't conducive to physiological birth. Suburban Sandcastles (November 26, 2016)

Why Women Birth Differently-- have you ever heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Here's how those needs factor into birth choices. HypnoBirthing (July 22, 2017)

5 Things Your OBGYN Won't Tell You-- here are some things you should know in order to have a more positive birth and postpartum. MotherRising (August 31, 2012)

VIDEOS

Why Birth Matters- a YouTube video made with the Lego Movie Maker. A child explains why birth is important and why doulas are needed.

Serving Dr. Abbassi-- Dawn Thompson of Improving Birth (Org) serves Dr. Abbassi with the lawsuit for battery. YouTube (June 4, 2015)

WEBCOMICS & INFOGRAPHS

The State I'm In: A Birth Story-- a comic about a mother who felt pressured to induce and have a csection, but fired her care provider and hired a doula to help her. Mutha Magazine (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 12, 2015)

The Maternity Care Crisis

Our maternity care system is in a state of crisis! We have intervention rates far beyond what is sustainable and healthy for parents and their babies, and the efforts to reduce intervention rates are being undermined constantly. If you're interested in why our system is the way it is, or you are a budding activist, advocate, or looking to help solve the problem, these resources will help you.

CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES, MEDICAL JOURNALS & PUBLICATIONS

What Matters to Women During Childbirth: A Systematic Qualitative Review-- Design and provision of good quality maternity care should incorporate what matters to childbearing women. This qualitative systematic review was undertaken to inform WHO intrapartum guidelines. PLOS (April 17, 2018)

Approaches to Limit Interventions During Labor and Birth--guidelines on supporting physiological birth from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). February 2017

Modern Maternity Care in Canada-- an article about the history and current state of maternity care in Canada. Vanier Institute (September 22, 2015)

Birthing Misconceptions-- 10 misconceptions about birth are debunked by The Power to Push Campaign.

Rates of Major Obstetrical Complications Vary Almost Five-fold Among U.S. Hospitals-- a research study done on how hospital practices may be influencing birth outcomes. (August 2014)

Rates of Interventions in Labor and Birth Across Canada: Findings of the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey-- "Rates of interventions in labor and birth should be similar across a country if evidence based practice guidelines are followed" this study states in the Abstract. The results however showed that there was a wide variation in the use of most interventions ranging from 14.1% to 53.7%. Rates of interventions were also stated with induction, epidural, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, episiotomy or stitches, being in a "flat lying position" and having legs in stirrups for birth. Pub Med (2012)

What Mothers Say: The Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey-- a survey was published in regards to the experiences of mothers in the maternity care system. (2009)

Solving the Maternity Care Crisis: Making Way for Midwifery's Contribution- a PDF Document created by the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health. An old study on how to integrate midwives into Canadian maternity care.  Jude Kornelsen, PhD (2003)

Maternity Matters-- a PDF guide that was published in 2000 before midwifery services were integrated into healthcare. This document discusses the maternity care crisis that women were dealing with even in the 1990s and highlights that even though we now have midwifery in Canada, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to make it an accessible option for everyone. This guide is no longer available online however the PDF file was downloaded in 2014 and saved to the archives. You can download from Google Drive. Health Canada (2000).

NEWS ARTICLES & EDITORIALS

All This Push for "Normal Birth": Why I Keep Pushing-- one student midwife explains why it matters. Sheena Byrom (March 29, 2017)

Fish Can't See Water--“Humanizing birth means understanding that the woman giving birth is a human being, not a machine and not just a container for making babies. Showing women – half of all people – that they are inferior and inadequate by taking away their power to give birth is a tragedy for all society. On the other hand, respecting the woman as an important and valuable human being and making certain that the woman’s experience while giving birth is fulfilling and empowering is not just a nice extra, it is absolutely essential as it makes the woman strong and therefore makes society strong. But we do not have humanized birth in many places today. Why? Because fish can’t see the water they swim in. Birth attendants, be they doctors, midwives or nurses, who have experienced only hospital based, high interventionist, medicalised birth cannot see the profound effect their interventions are having on the birth. These hospital birth attendants have no idea what a birth looks like without all the interventions, a birth which is not dehumanized.” Birth International (November 2000)

Get Off Your Backs for a Birth Revolution!-- Milli Hill talks about how we need a 'birth revolution'/'cultural shift' to fix our broken maternity care systems on an international level.

A Good Birth Is More Than The Baby Being Born Alive, World Health Organization Says-- "The WHO guidelines reflect the need for maternity care providers to widen the focus – from simply making sure mothers and babies survive and towards ensuring they have the best possible physical, psychological and emotional outcomes." Belly Belly (August 30, 2018)

I'm an OB-GYN. I'm Not Sure Every Baby Needs To Be Born In the Hospital-- Dr. Neel Shah talks about the benefits of home birth and the risks to low-risk women in a hospital setting. Washington Post (June 5, 2015)

A Mother's Right-- a birth activist organized to have people sew a hospital gown to represent each mother who has died in childbirth in U.S. hospitals. Ms. Magazine (October 27, 2016)

ACOG Takes a Big Step in Limiting Unnecessary Interventions During Birth-- ACOG writes new guidelines to try to limit unnecessary interventions. Huffington Post (January 25, 2017)

Babies and Bankers' Hours: A Shift In U.S. Birth Patterns-- in just 2 generations, babies have stopped coming around the clock. NPR (July 20, 2017)

Society Shrouds Birth in Shame-- Instagram's ban on women in labor is challenged as birth activists seek to educate the public on what birth actually looks like in reality. The Guardian (March 12, 2018)

Midwife's Arrest Shines Light on Rural America's Homebirth 'Crisis'-- "Now many alternative-birth advocates and practitioners, in interviews with Yahoo Lifestyle, say they are looking at Catlin’s arrest as a symbol of an American home-birth culture in crisis, maintaining that overregulation, misconceptions about midwifery, and biases from the medical establishment continue to restrict women’s access to having the safely attended births of their choice — only making home birth less safe, they say, by driving some midwives underground." Yahoo (February 21, 2019)

Cameras Secretly Recorded Women in California Hospital Delivery Rooms-- A women's hospital in California used hidden cameras to secretly record approximately 1,800 patients without their consent, according to a lawsuit. CNN (April 3, 2019)

Lack of Funding From Alberta Health Services Forcing St. Albert Midwife Centre to Close-- a midwife centre in Alberta has to close its doors due to lack of funding from the province. CBC News (March 19, 2016)

Too Many Medical Procedures On Women Aren't Necessary-- A recently released report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information found that up to 30 per cent of all health care provided offers no value to patients. Knowing this, it’s time to ask if women are being given unnecessary care, not only during pregnancy and labour, but throughout their lifespan. The Star (June 25, 2017)

We Need to Reduce Unnecessary Care in Obstetrics and Gynecology-- more coverage of the report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information. Huffington Post (July 6, 2017)

Why is Ontario Cutting Midwife Funding?-- The Ford Provincial Government causes problems for midwifery care in Ontario. Policy Options (February 8, 2019)

Midwives Challenge Clark's "Family First" Pledge- BC Midwives struggle to get funding from the provincial government under Christy Clark. Justin Giovanetti. Globe and Mail (July 23, 2014) Note: the article is behind a subscription wall, however there are ways around that.

Canada's Lack of Midwives Costing Healthcare System-- the shortage/lack of midwifery training in Canada leads to poorer outcomes for mothers and babies. Eagle Feather News (November 25, 2014)

'Cheated' in the 'Birth Capital' of Canada-- there are no midwives in the Peace Region of Northern Canada; women feel 'cheated' of their desired births. Alaska Highway News (May 10, 2012)

Midwifery Students Upset Over Lack of Funding-- funding for midwifery faces a crisis. CTV News (March 28, 2018)

Women Risk Losing Ability to Give Birth Naturally-- thanks to the increasing rates of intervention in normal birth Michel Odent is concerned that we may evolve to a point where we won't be able to birth and breastfeed our children without intervention. The Telegraph (May 24, 2015)

Why One Candadian Midwife Won't Be Giving Birth At Home-- on the other side of the pond, our U.K. cousins are baffled that midwives themselves aren't able to birth at home due to the shortage of midwifery care in our country. This illustrates the problem with our own country's views of midwives as "extras" or "luxuries" and not an integral part of maternity services. BBC News (May 25, 2015)

Hospital Births Have Never Been Safest – NICE is Right to Reverse This Myth-- The National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) speaks out on the increased interventions in hospitals leading to poorer maternal outcomes. The Guardian (December 3, 2014)

It Isn't Only Pregnant Women Who End Up Traumatized After Watching 'One Born Every Minute' It's Midwives Too-- criticism of the "reality" show 'One Born Every Minute' and its depictions of birth in regards to how it affects the perception of real birth.

15 Things Most Women Don't Know About Emergency Deliveries-- don't let the title fool you; an unplanned, unassisted birth doesn't have to be an emergency. Here's how to stay calm and prepare for the possibility that you might not make it to the hospital or the midwife might not arrive at the house on time. Baby Gaga (October 24, 2016)

BLOG POSTS

They Lied...It Matters How You Birth-- a healthy MOM matters too. The Best of Baby (February 2, 2015)

Permission to Use My Vagina, Please--- why is it that women have to ask permission to use their vaginas to birth their babies? Better Birth Blog (February 3, 2015)

The One Kind of Birth Story That Makes Me Cringe-- when mothers want to have a "natural" birth and their care providers undermine that by pushing unnecessary interventions in a low-risk birth, it leads to disappointment and even trauma in the births, or mothers feel they have to justify why their birth plan "failed". Mom. Me (June 17, 2015)

My 90th Birthday Gift to You: What I've Learned in 40 Years as a Nurse Midwife-- a midwife in the US explains why birth centres are rare but hospices are everywhere. Improving Birth (April 9, 2017)

A Healthy Baby Isn't All That Matters-- We hear all the time, “a healthy baby is all that matters.” That’s simply not true—especially when, all too often, “healthy” means merely “surviving birth,” for both moms and babies. That’s not nearly good enough. Improving Birth (February 6, 2013)

6 Surprising Birth Statistics That Will Change the Way You Give Birth-- U.S. based article, however a lot of these stats are close to how birth is in parts of Canada, specifically BC. Affording Motherhood (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford March 12, 2015)

9 Changes We Must Make to Increase Vaginal Birth Rates-- Many women don't plan to birth by cesarean, but 1 in 4 in Canada and 1 in 3 in BC are birthing this way. This article focuses on U.S. and U.K./Australian statistics, however the information applies to Canadian maternity care. Belly Belly (updated June 10, 2018)

VIDEOS

2018 Video Rally-- due to the foul weather, illnesses, and inability for our followers to attend in person, we did a Facebook Live session instead. We talk about who we are and why we started our own IB rally location. FaceBook (September 8. 2018)

I'm Improving Birth Because...-- a YouTube video by Improving Birth during their "I'm Improving Birth" campaign in 2013.

Too Much Too Soon: Addressing Over-Intervention in Maternity Care-- a conference on the maternity care crisis. Maternal Health Initiative (April 24, 2017)

Birth By the Numbers-- Join Gene Declercq and the rest of the Birth by the Numbers team to explore how the United States is doing on a number of maternal and child health indicators. Are we doing better? Worse? Tune in to find out this answer and more! YouTube (August 29, 2014)

PHOTO CAMPAGNS

#LiberateLabor Campaign-- Improving Birth Org. (June 2015)

Obstetric Violence

 

What it is, how to spot it, and steps being taken to address the issues of misogyny, systemic racism, and abuse in maternity care.

 

CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES, MEDICAL JOURNALS & PUBLICATIONS

Prevention and Elimination of Abuse and Disrespect in Childbirth-- Guidelines published in 2014.

International Human Rights and the Mistreatment of Women During Childbirth-- Human rights standards are an important accountability tool for recognizing and protecting the human rights of women during childbirth in facilities, and for supporting health system reform to prevent mistreatment in the future. Human rights standards assist health care practitioners and policy makers to define what constitutes mistreatment during childbirth and to develop effective interventions and policies to address this mistreatment in all its forms. Health and Human Rights Journal (November 14, 2016)

Human Rights in Childbirth, Narratives and Restorative Justice: A Review-- The compassion and evidence based medicine agenda in healthcare is interconnected with human rights in healthcare, feeding into the principles of decision making and patient centred care. BMC (February 2, 2017)

Methods used in prevalence studies of disrespect and abuse during facility based childbirth: lessons learned--Several recent studies have attempted to measure the prevalence of disrespect and abuse (D&A) of women during childbirth in health facilities. Variations in reported prevalence may be associated with differences in study instruments and data collection methods. This systematic review and comparative analysis of methods aims to aggregate and present lessons learned from published studies that quantified the prevalence of Disrespect and Abuse (D&A) during childbirth. Biomedical Central, Reproductive Health Journal (2017)

MHTF Quarterly Issue 14: Respectful Maternity Care-- the importance of respectful care is highlighted and disrespect and abuse is defined in this quarterly issue. Maternal Health Task Force (December 2017)

Bearing Witness: Disrespectful Maternity Care-- New study from the United States and Canada concludes that doulas and nurses frequently witness verbal abuse in the form of threats to the baby’s life unless the woman agreed to a procedure, and failure to provide informed consent. Dr. Sara Wickham (2018) 

Domesticating Bodies: The Role of Shame in Obstetric Violence--"Gendered shame in labor derives both from the reifying gaze that transforms women's laboring bodies into dirty, overly sexual, and “not feminine enough” dysfunctional bodies and from a structural tendency to relate to laboring women mainly as mothers to be, from whom “good motherhood” is demanded." Wiley Online Library (July 17, 2018)

BRIEF OF NATIONAL ADVOCATES FOR PREGNANT WOMEN ET AL. AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF RINAT DRAY-- the court document from Rinat Dray's case. Advocates For Pregnant Women (January 31, 2017)

Rinat Dray: NYC Bar Association Supports Woman Who Sued Hospital For Forced C-Section-- the NYC Bar agrees that it's illegal and unethical to force surgery on an unconsenting patient. Law Street (January 19, 2017)

NEWS ARTICLES & EDITORIALS

I Didn't Realize the Pressure to Have a C-Section Until I Was About to Deliver-- a doctor talks about the pressure she felt to have a c-section even though her medical training had taught her that she didn't need one. Washington Post (January 5, 2015)

Canada's Doctors Want Women To Have 'More Respectful' Birth Experiences-- "Respectful care......as healthcare providers, there is so much power at a person's most vulnerable moments.... it is in our words, in our unspoken attitudes and in every action. Often unintentional, but it is in how we treat people that has the power to create a birthstory full of shame and trauma or one that is empowered and healing. Please speak out!" HuffPost (October 29, 2018)

N.B. Nurse Suspected of Inducing Labour Without Consent; As Many As 120 Emergency C-Sections Investigated-- a nurse was slipping Pitocin (called "oxytocin" in the article) into the IVs of mothers without their knowledge or consent in order to "speed up" labour.  CTV News (March 29, 2019)

Doctors Need to Actually Listen to The Women They Treat-- Milli Hill of the Positive Birth Movement points out the problems in a maternity care system steeped in patriarchy and paternalistic medicine. The Telegraph (November 20, 2015)

Why Brett Kavanaugh Matters to Birthing Women in the UK-- "why didn't she come forward sooner" was the criticism launched at Dr. Ford when she spoke out against Brett Kavanaugh. Sadly this is the rhetoric when women speak against their doctors in maternity care. Bornstroppy (October 4, 2018)

International Women's Day: What We'll Be Fighting for in 2019-- among several topics in this piece is the re-examining of the old addage "leave your dignity at the door" and how it is no longer acceptable. i News (March 8, 2019)

When Childbirth Feels Like Assault-- Childbirth should not strip a woman of the right to informed consent. But in practice, it sometimes does. Bright Magazine (November 18, 2016)

How Doctors Cross the Line in the Delivery Room-- The struggle to maintain bodily autonomy—rights to our own bodies during childbirth—is real. Tonic (January 13, 2017)

Treatment of Women in Childbirth-- Many women experience disrespectful and abusive treatment during childbirth in facilities worldwide. Such treatment not only violates the rights of women to respectful care, but can also threaten their rights to life, health, bodily integrity, and freedom from discrimination. Women's Health Today (July 28, 2017)

Why New Mothers Usually Don’t Sue Doctors Who Violate Their Rights-- why aren't more women suing their doctors for these violations in childbirth? A look at the US system of law. References Caroline Malatesta's case. Learn Liberty (August 10, 2017)

My Birth Violated My Consent and We Need to Talk About It-- Two years on, Rebecca Collier still breaks down in tears as she recalls having, what she felt was, an unnecessary caesarean, which left her emotionally, physically and mentally traumatised. Kidspot (April 19, 2018)

Birth Needs a #MeToo Reckoning-- why we need a MeToo movement for birth. Dame (June 18, 2018)

'I Felt Violated' How 'Birth Rape' Affects Millions of Mums-- why do doctors perform procedures without consent? A look at obstetric violence during childbirth and gynecological procedures and how it affects those who experience it. The Sun (May 22, 2019)

NB Nurse Suspected of Inducing Labour Without Consent-  A nurse in New Brunswick was caught after giving Pitocin to women in labour without their knowledge or consent, and without permission from the hospital (allegedly, hospital claims to have no knowledge of this happening over two years). CTV News published March 29, 2019.

Uhappy Birthdays: Why More Mothers Are Saying They Were "Birth Raped"-- Vancouver Observer (May 1st, 2012)

Obstetric Violence Infograph-- an infograph on institutionalized obstetric violence. International Day of Action for Women's Health (May 28, 2015)

'Fractured' System Makes Tracking OB/GYN Mistakes Difficult: Investigation-- a fractured complaints system makes it difficult for investigations into OB/GYN conduct to take place, leaving families and clients without a way to file complaints and have action taken. CTV News (December 1, 2015)

"Stop! Stop!": Canadian Women Share Stories of Alleged Mistreatment in the Delivery Room-- let's ignore the media's choice of adding "alleged" into this title and focus on the fact that women in Canada are experiencing abuse from the people they are supposed to be able to trust to respect them. CBC (November 7, 2016)

Too Many Women Are Leaving Hospital After Childbirth With PTSD Because of Bad Care-- the abuse in childbirth is prevalent in the UK too. Independent (December 7, 2016)

'A Scene From a Horror Movie': 9 Mothers Speak Out About Alleged Mistreatment During Childbirth-- CBC News has heard from dozens of women from across Canada who say they were mistreated by doctors and nurses in the delivery room. Here are nine of their stories. CBC News (November 7, 2016)

First-of-its-Kind Study Examines 'Institutional Betrayal'-- health-care organizations need to recognize that medical errors do happen. They also need to avoid contributing to patient suffering by taking responsibility when things go wrong, apologizing, and looking for ways to prevent such errors in the future. CTV News (January 6, 2018)

There Is a Hidden Epidemic of Doctors Abusing Women in Labor, Doula Says-- the silence is shattered in the wake of Caroline Malatesta's case and many others. Broadly (May 8, 2018)

MANA Response to ACOG-- at a meeting ACOG members joked that women should "use condoms" to prevent maternal mortality/morbidity in childbirth. Midwives Alliance of North America responds to these comments. MANA (May 9, 2018)

The Disturbing Record Behind One of BC's Top-Billing Doctors-- Patients who claim they were harmed by obstetrician-gynecologist Winston Tam are demanding to know how he was disciplined and why action wasn’t taken sooner. The Globe and Mail (August 6, 2018)

Misogyny in Women's Health Care is Rampant: And We've Had Enough-- Almost all women have felt at times that they weren’t listened to, that procedures were carried out without their knowledge or consent, or that their bodies were disrespected, or even violated. Scary Mommy (September 6, 2018)

Why We Broke Up With the Hospital (Hint: She Was a Dirty Cheat)-- a doula who taught childbirth classes at a hospital finds herself leaving when the hospital insists that she intentionally keep information from clients and "ask their doctor". Team Doula (September 16, 2018)

It's Time to Stop Infantilizing Pregnant Women-- The truth is that our health care system is still very much rooted in patriarchy and the superiority complex of medical professionals. White coats trump the innate knowing and awareness a woman has over her own bodily functions and history. Medium (September 16, 2018)

Bullied, Powerless, and Defeated: 45 Women Share Their Striking Birth Stories-- an article about the Exposing The Silence Project. Yahoo (July 8, 2015)

Emotional Photo Essay Reveals a Darker Side to the Delivery Room as Mothers Detail How They Were "Bullied" By Doctors During Birth and "Forced" to Undergo Invasive Procedures Against Their Will-- another Exposing The Silence Project article. Daily Mail (July 9, 2015)

How 2 Women Are Making Sure There Are No Future Victims of Obstetric Violence-- another Exposing The Silence article! Pop Sugar (September 28, 2015)

New York Hospital's Secret Policy Led To Woman Being Given C-Section Against Her Will--The Staten Island University hospital (SIUH) policy offers doctors step-by-step instructions for performing procedures and surgeries without a pregnant woman’s consent if they can’t persuade her to give permission and several doctors agree that the treatment carries a “reasonable possibility of significant benefit” for her fetus that “outweigh[s] the possible risks to the woman”. The Guardian (October 5, 2017)

Mom Who Tried to Fight Hospital's Push for Csection Gets Vocal Support- People rallied in front of the Florida hospital where Jennifer Goodall was told she would be forced into a csection. NBC News (Published July 26, 2014. Updated July 27, 2014)

"A Judge Forced Me to Have a C-section I Didn't Need": A Mom Speaks Out-- An interview with Jennifer Goodall. The Stir (August 8, 2014)

Mom Shares Graphic Video of Doctor Forcing Her to Have an Episiotomy-- The Stir updates their story as Kelly files a lawsuit against the doctor. (April 30, 2015)

"Kelly's" Story About Forced Episiotomy-- Human Rights in Childbirth wrote an article after Improving Birth shared Kimberly's (then known as the alias "Kelly") story. (2014)

Woman Forced Into Violent Episiotomy Settles With Doctor-- media coverage of Kimberly's court case settlement. Yahoo (March 15, 2017)

Mom Sues Doctor Over C-Section Fight: "I Was Treated Like a Child"-- a lawyer is forced into an unwanted c-section by an abusive care provider; files lawsuit. Yahoo (October 6, 2015)

Woman Sues Hospital Over Traumatic Birth That 'Turned Our Family Life Upside Down'-- Caroline Malatesta's story of false advertising at her hospital and subsequent abuse that left her with permanent nerve damage. Yahoo (November 19, 2015)

Caroline Malatesta Opens Up About Birth Trauma, Bait-and-Switch Advertising of Alabama Hospital-- more coverage of Caroline's experience with Brookwood Hospital. AL News (August 9, 2016)

BLOG POSTS

The Woman in the Bed- a mother recounts her traumatic birth where she was pushed into a c-section she hadn't wanted. Improving Birth blog (August 20, 2014)

A License to Rape-- Birth Without Fear breaks the silence on abuse in maternity care. Birth Without Fear (December 9, 2010)

Women Reveal the Top 11 Most Annoying Things That OBs Do-- Cristen Pascucci claps back after reading a paternalistically disgusting article on annoying things patients do. Birth Monopoly (July 11, 2017)

Patients Are Not Bitches, and Thoughts on Medical Othering-- a midwife overhears a care provider referring to a "difficult" patient as a "bitch" and has some thoughts on the way women are seen when they stand up for themselves (and why it's wrong). Feminist Midwife (February 10, 2017)

Nurses: Women Are *NOT* Fabricating Birth Trauma-- Responses from Labor and Delivery Nurses on the disrespect and abuse they have witnessed in the birthing room. Birth Monopoly (November 4, 2015)

"The Baby is the Candy and the Mom is the Wrapper": A Call For Humanized Birth-- a look at the way mothers are treated in birth and a call to do better. Improving Birth (July 26, 2018)

Physician Trauma: A Doctor Answers, Why Do We Sometimes Do Terrible Things?-- while it doesn't excuse the abuse, the reality is that care providers are often dealing with their own traumatic experiences and without support they often transfer that onto clients. Birth Monopoly (August 31, 2018)

I Was Born From a Woman Whose Body Was Stolen-- Obstetric violence is nothing new. It has been going on for decades and decades. As more people speak up, as we continue to talk about it, may it help us inch closer to respectful care before/during/after pregnancy/birth/postpartum being the expectation and not the exception. Entropy (February 5, 2019)

Why #MeToo Matters in the Delivery Room-- a woman recounts the abuse she felt in the delivery room and how it brought back memories of her sexual assault. The Establishment (March 29, 2019)

An OB's "Birth Plan"-- originally posted on The Unnecesarean blog in 2009, but no longer exists in that form. A mother shared the "birth plan" her OB handed TO HER HUSBAND with a nursing forum before the post went "viral" for a few weeks. It is every bit as paternalistic as you are imagining. This is the complete opposite of respectful care and informed consent.

Arizona Birth Monopoly: Mandatory Surgery or Forced Vaginal Exams-- Cristen Pascucci sheds light on the subject of Arizona's maternity care policies of vaginal exams for all women in labour who choose midwifery care. Birth Monopoly (June 30, 2014)

Improving Birth By Breaking the Silence-- a blog post about Improving Birth's photo campaign. The Deranged Housewife (July 30, 2015)

Kimberly Turbin's Forced Episiotomy Case: The Resolution-- Kimberly settles after a long court battle. Improving Birth (March 16, 2016)

We Will Not Be Silenced: An Update on Kelly's Story-- with the help of Improving Birth, Kimberly Turbin files a lawsuit against the doctor who cut her against her will. Improving Birth (April 15, 2015)

Mom Sues for Bait & Switch in Maternity Care-- Caroline Malatesta shares her story. Birth Monopoly (November 19, 2015)

PODCASTS

Woman Records Confrontation With Hospital Re: Consent, Experts Refute Hospital Defense-- a woman had an unconsented membrane sweep during a vaginal exam. She files a complaint but the hospital defends the OB's actions. Experts weigh in at the end of the recorded conversation. Birth Monopoly (June 7, 2017)

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Dropped from Care at Trinity Health for Refusing a C-section-- a mother posted a letter from her former healthcare provider to Birth Monopoly's page. (May 13, 2015)

~Systemic Racism~

In addition to the normal problems of misogyny and paternalism in maternity care, people of colour and visible minorities face additional discrimination and violence due to the system that was originally created to marginalize BIPOC communities.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals, & Publications

The Use of Child Protective Services and The Court Orders to Enforce Medical Compliance In The Labor and Delivery Room: How the Threats of Legal Action Limit Reproductive Choice-- legally, this shouldn't be happening. Ethically, this is strongly discouraged in the guidelines for healthcare professionals. But in reality this is all too common for women of lower socio-economic status, women of color, and other minority groups within the community. JL & G Harvard Law Journal (November 24, 2018)

--in Black Communities

These are the current resources we have on systemic racism against Black birthing people. If you know of some additional resources that belong here, please contact Carly@EmpoweringMomsBirth.ca to help expand this section.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals, and Publications

Community-Informed Models of Perinatal and Reproductive Health Services Provision: A Justice-Centered Paradigm Toward Equity Among Black Birthing Communities-- This article addresses the issue of systemic racism in maternity care and how moving away from a physician-centered model to a community-informed one could address true inequality in care for Black and Indigenous communities. (June 2020)

News Articles & Editorials

Black Women Face More Trauma During Childbirth-"But surviving childbirth is not a sufficient measure of whether a woman’s labor and delivery experience is successful, and there is evidence to suggest black moms are suffering more trauma in the course of delivering their babies than white women — in ways both big and small. Black women are twice as likely to suffer from severe complications during pregnancy and childbirth and, though obviously much harder to quantify, personal stories from black mothers who felt disrespected and brushed off during labor abound."

 

--in Aboriginal/Indigenous Communities

These are the current resources we have on systemic racism against Indigenous birthing people. If you know of some additional resources that belong here, please contact Carly@EmpoweringMomsBirth.ca to help expand this section.

News Articles & Editorials

Aboriginal Women Say They Were Sterilized Against Their Will In Hospital-- Aboriginal women speak out about the forced sterilization in hospitals after childbirth. CBC Radio (January 7, 2016)

BC Supreme Court Order Providing Indigenous Mother Daily Access to Newborn Could Set  National Precedent-- A B.C. Supreme Court ruling that orders the provincial government to ensure an Indigenous mother has daily access to her newborn child so she does not lose her maternal bond could impact other First Nations throughout the country, the lawyer for a Vancouver Island band says. The Globe and Mail (February 22, 2018)

Indigenous Women Still Being Coerced Into Sterilizations Across Canada, Ontario Senator Says-- New research shows the forced sterilization of Indigenous women is not just a shameful part of Canadian history. Reports from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the territories suggest it is still happening. The Globe and Mail (November 11, 2018)

Indigenous Women Kept From Seeing Their Newborn Babies Until Agreeing to Sterilization, Lawyer Says-- The women would be told that they could not leave until their tubes were tied, cut or cauterized, she added, or that "they could not see their baby until they agreed." CBC News (November 13, 2018)

Manitoba Officials Seize Newborn From Mom in Hospital; Video Prompts Outrage-- an Indigenous mother's heartbreaking video goes viral. (January 11, 2019)

How One BC Community is Fighting to Keep Indigenous Children With Their Families-- In the Cowichan Valley, a growing network of mothers, advocates, midwives, doctors and elected officials is trying to take a different approach to address the ‘humanitarian crisis’ of Indigenous kids in care. The Globe and Mail (January 20, 2019)

"I Felt Robbed": Indigenous Mother Says Baby Apprehension Was Wrong-- a mother was coerced and threatened into a cesarean, only to have her newborn apprehended by the Ministry at birth. A doula sheds light on this dark secret in maternity wards and speaks out for indigenous mothers who have had their children stolen from them. CBC News (April 7, 2019)

~Horizontal Violence~

Parents aren't the only ones suffering in the system. This is how the Horizontal Violence (the bullying of care providers to maintain the "status quo") affects our rights and what type of care we are offered within the system, and provides a deeper understanding of what limitations your care provider may have in being able to fully inform you under certain health guidelines. The more aware you are of what they are dealing with, the more you will be able to find the solutions and loopholes to get what you need out of your care. Remember, while there are certainly a few "bad apples" in maternity care, the rest are facing their own struggles within a system built on paternalism, misogyny, and systemic racism.

Blog Posts

Moral Injury- an Introduction for midwives-- Lynn Genevieve recounts her experiences within the NHS maternity services and how the "moral injury" (described in the article as "perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations") affects the level and quality of care as well as leads to burn out or midwives leaving the profession. Midwifery.org Association of Radical Midwives (March 4, 2021).

 

~The History~

 

Obstetric Violence is woven into the history of modern maternity care, including the roots of misogyny, racism, and paternalistic medicine. To understand how to end it, it helps to understand how it started.

 

News Articles & Editorials

 

6 Bizarre Childbirth Myths From Ancient History-- we've come a long way since the dark ages. Bustle (December 28, 2015)

Thousands of Canadian Mothers Were Forced to Give Up Their Babies. Some Were Told to 'Get a Puppy' Instead-- from 1945-1971 there was a dark secret in Canada; unwed mothers were sent to maternity homes where 95% of them gave up their babies, most done so under coercive or deceitful tactics by the social workers and religious groups involved in the maternity homes. The Washington Post (July 20, 2018)

 

Blog Posts

 

The Price Slave Women Paid for the "Birth" of Modern Gynecology-- a dark look at the history of gynecology and the treatment of black women. Black Then (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford March 11, 2015)

 

Podcasts

 

The herstory of modern birth practices-- Rachel Reed and Katie James discuss the history of the Goddess Culture and how the patriarchal forces led to the erasure of women's voices and ultimately took control of birth as we know it today. They also discuss modern maternity care, experiences as midwives in the system where physiological birth must be witnessed as it isn't taught, and what that experience of it can be to a new midwife who has never seen it before. You will come away with a greater understanding of why birth is how it is today, and where that fear is coming from. The Midwives' Cauldron (August 2, 2020)

 

~Birth Advocacy~

 

The problem of Obstetric Violence is ongoing, but so are the efforts to put an end to it. Here are a few resources and press releases about some of these birth advocates.

Websites

 

Humanize Birth- a Canadian Non-Profit advocating for respectful, humane birth

News Articles & Editorials

Positive Birth Movement: The Group Making Labour Less Traumatic For Women Across the World-- Birth is seen as traumatic, but the PBM says that's not true. The Independent (April 18, 2017)

Blog Posts

I Love Cristen Pascucci- Midwives of New Jersey talk about Cristen and Birth Monopoly. (August 12, 2016)

 

Birth Trauma

 

What is it? How do you recognize it? How do you heal from it, and how do you prevent it? Here's everything we have on Birth Trauma so far.

 

News Articles & Editorials

 

Birth Trauma: Women Urged to 'Raise Your Voices'-- "Birth is not always a positive experience. And being honest about that should not be something that women are made to feel shame or guilt over.Expressing natural feelings of sadness or anger about a difficult birth doesn't mean that a new mother is ungrateful for a healthy baby, the opportunity for motherhood, or anything else." BBC News (August 13, 2017)

A Traumatic First Birth Carries Over To a New Pregnancy-- birth trauma can carry over to subsequent pregnancies. Hartford Courant (January 6, 2016)

 

Blog Posts

 

9 Ways to Heal From a Traumatic Birth-- ways to heal after birth trauma. Improving Birth (March 13, 2017)

9 Things to Say When She Didn't Get The Birth She Hoped For-- sometimes we don't have the words. Here's some ideas when someone tells you they're disappointed in their birth. Belly Belly Birth Blog (updated June 10, 2018)

Birth Trauma Explained for Fathers-- how to explain to Dad why Mom is traumatized by her birth. Whole Woman (no date listed; originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 5, 2014)

Trauma, Traumatic Birth, and Recovery- This article begins Improving Birth's Summer 2014 campaign to Break the Silence. It was intended to open up the conversation on Birth Trauma. Improving Birth (July 17, 2014)

What to Say to a Woman with Birth Trauma- a blog post on MatterHatter/Whole Woman. No date of publishing was given.

I Don't Know What I Don't Know-- a mother muses on how our language around birth trauma and parenting can affect others. (August 20,2014)

It's Never Your Fault-- why birth trauma and what happened to you wasn't your fault. Whole Woman (original post on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 21, 2014)

Cesarean Section and Birth Trauma-- there is a link between cesarean births and birth trauma. VBAC (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 16, 2014)

You Have Permission to Throat-Punch the Next Person Who Says "All That Matters Is a Healthy Baby"-- why this phrase isn't helpful and what to say instead. Scary Mommy (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford May 19, 2015)

Vancouver Birth Trauma Facts-- facts about birth trauma in BC and the Lower Mainland. Vancouver Birth Trauma (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford July 2, 2015)

The Sanitized Stories We Tell-- Sarah Bessey talks about her birth trauma (September 23, 2015)

Birth Trauma: The Silent Struggle New Moms Face-- trauma looks different to everyone; if YOU feel your birth was traumatic then it was, and you deserve healing. Babble (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 26, 2015)

My Labor and Birth Didn't Go As Planned: And No. I'm Not 'Over It'-- "I don't have to be thankful just because things didn't end tragically". Ravishly (April 26, 2016)

I Had a Shit Birth. Here's Six Reasons Why I Really Want Others to Know-- why we need to speak out about our birth trauma. Every Mum Should Know (July 31, 2017)

Do I Need to Avoid Negative Birth Stories When I’m Planning a Positive Birth?--Should we shut down negative or traumatic stories about birth? Or do we risk silencing women whose voice desperately needs to be heard? And are we missing an opportunity to clarify our own needs in preparation for a positive birth in the process? ICAN (August 20, 2017)

No, I Did Not Need My Traumatic Birth For Personal Growth-- Why we need to stop telling women this was the birth they ‘had to have’. The Truth About Traumatic Birth (November 7, 2017)

When I Tell You About My Difficult Birth, Here's What I Need You to Do-- I need you to listen. Really listen with an open mind, remembering that my trauma is different than your trauma. Please try not to judge my trauma, or me, while I tell you my story. Please just listen to me. Motherly (February 28, 2018)

Supporting Sufferers of Birth Trauma: A Pitfall to Avoid-- a doula gives her thoughts on the notion that birth trauma should "teach" us something. Worth a read. Matrescence (March 12, 2019)

 

Informed Choice

 

Confused about whether you're "allowed" to do something or refuse a test, procedure, or intervention? Here's everything you need to know about Informed Choice and your rights to bodily autonomy.

 

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals, and Publications

 

Consent: A guide for Canadian Physicians This is long, but outlines ALL the details of Informed Consent as presented to physicians in Canada. Especially important to note: "Our courts have reaffirmed repeatedly a patient's right to refuse treatment even when it is clear treatment is necessary to preserve the life or health of the patient. Physicians must at the same time explain the consequences of the refusal without creating a perception of coercion in seeking consent." This handbook outlines the Canadian laws of Informed Consent and Refusal. (Published May 2006, Updated June 2016) 

Maternal Decision Making-- The Australian Medical Association (AMA) also recognizes the rights of mothers to make their own medical decisions. AMA (March 28, 2013)

Informed Consent and Refusal in Obstetrics: A Practical Ethical Guide-  Andrew Kotaska MD Published March 2017. A Canadian Doctor weighs in on the ethical issue of true Informed Consent. If you read only one article on Informed Consent, let it be this one!

Official Statement of Informed Consent in Ontario Applies to Canadian law on informed consent

Consent Guide For Canadian Physicians- PDF  Canadian law on informed consent. This is what all medical practitioners are legally supposed to adhere to. If they don't, you have the legal right to file a complaint against them or sue for damages.

Healthcare Consent Act Another Canadian law of Informed Consent, as written in the Healthcare Consent Act

Many Women and Providers Are Unprepared for an Evidence Based, Educated Conversation About Birth-- Findings from recent Canadian studies on the knowledge and beliefs about birth practices among first-time pregnant women and among obstetricians and other birth providers indicate that many women are inadequately informed and many providers deliver non-evidence-based maternity care. Consequently, informed decision making is problematic for pregnant women and their providers. Journal of Perinatal Education (Fall 2011)

Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment-- ACOG's statement on a patient's right to refuse treatment. ACOG (June 2016)

The Experiences of Women, Midwives, and Obstetricians When Women Decline Recommended Maternity Care: A Feminist Thematic Analysis-- A great article from Bec Jenkinson's PhD. It is so difficult for women to decline recommendations and be respected and supported. The line in the sand should be drawn by the woman not clinicians. Science Direct (September 2017)

Humanizing Birth: Does the Language We Use Matter?-- "Although eyes may roll at the thought of “political correctness gone mad,” the change is well founded. Firstly, intrapartum care must keep in pace with and reflect changes in societal norms and expectations. While some may mourn the days when the doctor was in charge and their advice was gratefully received and unchallenged, there are now multiple, alternative sources of healthcare advice available to women both before and after consultations. With improved knowledge among women and a renewed recognition of respect for human rights in childbirth, comes an equalisation of status between doctor and woman. [2] To recognise this, the guideline envisages “a culture of respect for each woman” and the clinician should “ensure that the woman is in control of and involved in what is happening to her, and recognise that the way in which care is given is key to this.” [1] The role of birth attendant is no longer “owner” of the situation but “facilitator” of the health services." The BMJ Opinion (February 8, 2018)

Introducing "Baby Pause": safer care for new moms and babies--- An initiative by Fraser Health BC to include mothers in the overall decision making, however the article seems to imply that the mother would only be informed of what the plan of action is that was agreed upon through the medical team's discussion. BC PSLC Central. (July 2, 2014).

News Articles & Editorials

Dear OB, It's Not Your Vagina-- it's not hard to obtain informed consent, yet too many care providers perform vaginal exams and procedures without getting it. Amy Wright Glenn points out the problem with this thinking. Philly Voice (January 13, 2017)

Dear OB, It's Not Your Vagina pt. 2-- part 2 of Amy Wright Glenn's article. (January 31, 2017)

During Childbirth, Enduring the Patriarchy Was the Hardest Part-- After nine months of misogynistic language from doctors and nurses, it’s easy to forget that you’re the decision-maker about your own body. Yes Magazine (November 2, 2017)

No One Is Free From Harm: When a Family Member Has to Coordinate the Patient's Care-- not directly birth related, but highlights the importance of informed consent and patient advocacy. Modern Healthcare (April 24, 2014)

Canadian Women Feel Excluded From Their Own Childbirth Decisions-- Very few women feel they have a say in the care they receive from their healthcare team, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia's Birthplace Lab and the B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre. The Huffington Post (March 6, 2018)

Pregnant Women Should Have Much More Control in the Delivery Room, New Report Says-- the WHO guidelines once again point out what should have been obvious from the start: women should have control of the decision making in their care during childbirth. Insider (February 15, 2018)

Hospital Birth Classes Are Sabotaging Women’s Birth Plans, Say Midwives-- are hospital-sponsored birth classes teaching about BIRTH, or how to be a "good patient" in the hospital? Belly Belly Birth Blog (January 6, 2018)

Blog Posts

You're Not Allowed to Not Allow Me!- A statement of truth to share with anyone who thinks they aren't "allowed" evidence based practices in their hospital or with their doctor due to "policy". Birth Monopoly (June 17, 2014)

Why We Need to Stop Saying "Let"-- language matters. Here's why we need to ditch this word when we talk about birth, and correct others who use it. Modern Alternative Mama (February 19, 2016)

Hospital Policy: Not The Same As Road Rules-- You MUST follow the rules of the road, but hospital policies are not law. Whole Woman (March 8, 2016)

Art of Deception in Obstetrics: Deformed Consent  "When a provider seeks informed consent, it means that refusal is also an option. If you don’t get the idea that there is space in the doctor-patient relationship, in this conversation, for you to say “no,” then it’s not informed consent." Better Birth Blog (November 6, 2017)

ACOG to Docs: Women's Right to Say "No" Comes First- ACOG reinforces the fact that women have a right to say NO in childbirth and be respected. Birth Monopoly (May 31, 2016)

Choices or Control?-- Evony Lynch writes about how women are exercising their rights to birth and how she was called "childish" for supporting women in those choices. Artemis Birth School (March 6, 2018)

Birth: Who is the Boss, You or Your Doctor?-- when power struggles favor on the side of the care provider, problems arise for the birthing person. Whole Woman (January 9, 2016)

A Doctor's Compelling Letter About the State of Maternity Care-- Dr. Chavira points out to his colleagues that it is ALWAYS the mother who should be making the decisions in her care. Improving Birth (August 31, 2016)

New ACOG Statement Says Forcing Treatment on Pregnant Women is Unethical-- ACOG had to make a statement on something that should have been obvious. Mothering (June 10, 2016)

"She's Screaming Stop": Forced Procedures Are Assault-- you have the right to refuse a procedure. You have the right to change your mind before or even during a procedure. If the care provider ignores your request to stop, THAT IS ASSAULT. Birth Monopoly (December 6, 2018)

15 Things The Hospital is Never Allowed to Forbid You To Do-- hospital policies don't overrule your rights. Baby Gaga (March 2, 2017)

 

Podcasts

 

The Problem With Implied Consent-- In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, we talk about what it means to say no to a procedure in the delivery room, when and if implied consent overrides refusal, and who is the boss of your body. Birth Monopoly (October 20, 2017)

Informed Consent, with Cristen Pascucci-- a podcast on informed consent with the founder of Birth Monopoly. Birthful (February 17, 2017)

Choosing a Care Provider

Midwife, Family Doctor, or Obstetrician? The decision is more nuanced than you think. Here's everything we have so far on the subject of choosing your care provider.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals, and Publications

Dutch Research Shows Communication is Crucial in Childbirth-- Despite what most may think, it’s not the physical pain or serious medical interventions that make childbirth so intensely challenging. According to new Dutch research, it’s actually the lack of clear communication and emotional support that determines how traumatic the childbirth experience turns out to be. I Am Expat (June 9, 2017)

How to Find an OBGYN Provider Who Embraces Your Approach-- Pregnancy should be filled with happy preparations and hope for the future. One of the best ways to ensure that your prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care go smoothly is to find an OBGYN you like and trust. Feeling safe and comfortable with your obstetrician will help generate a positive experience for you and your growing family. Here are some tips and advice to guide you. Dignity Health (May 10, 2017)

New Intrapartum Care Guideline from the World Health Organization Focuses on a Positive Childbirth Experience-- Notably, the guideline recommends respectful maternity care and companionship of choice during labor and childbirth for all women. WHO also states that unnecessary medical procedures should be avoided if labor is progressing normally and the woman and her baby are in good condition. The Maternal Health Task Force (February 15, 2018)

Do Provider Birth Attitudes Influence Cesarean Delivery Rate: A Cross-Sectional Study-- a study finds a link between cesarean birth for a first time mother with a single head-down baby and their attitude toward birth. More evidence to choose your provider carefully. BMC (May 29, 2018)

News Articles & Editorials

Let Midwives & GPs Attend Low-Risk Births-- Dr. Brian Goldman suggests that OBs only attend high-risk births in efforts to reduce the rate of unnecessary interventions. CBC News Radio (August 24, 2015)

10 Questions to Help You Choose a Care Provider-- Be sure to ask these important interview questions. Fit Pregnancy article (no date posted)

The Cost of Assuming Your Doctor Knows Best-- while it's important to have a good care provider, that doesn't mean you shouldn't also question them when something doesn't feel right. Wbur (November 13, 2017)

 

Blog Posts

 

Low Intervention Birth: 6 Questions to Ask Care Providers- Improving Birth article, US-based but has some good tips on what to ask a care provider in order to determine whether they are supportive of physiological birth. (2019)

Responsibilities in the Mother-Midwife Relationship- Midwife Thinking

Don't Feel Supported By Your OBGYN or Midwife? Leave-- a mother changes practices in the second and third trimesters for her pregnancies. Baby Rabies (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford and our Facebook page April 2, 2019)

Twelve Signs You Can Trust Your Care-- here are the 12 signs you can trust your care provider/what to look for when interviewing CPs. Improving Birth (November 6, 2014)

8 Red Flags That You Are With The Wrong Care Provider-- do you see any of these red flags? Improving Birth (June 2, 2014)

Does Your Doctor Hate It When You Google?--  can we really blame patients for Googling? For taking some responsibility for their own health? For not wanting to make decisions in blind faith? Improving Birth (August 22, 2016)

Obstetric Lie #94: We Care About Your Birth Plan-- if a care provider makes you feel like you NEED a birth plan to protect you, then you are with the wrong care provider (and they probably won't follow your birth plan). Mama Birth (March 18, 2011)

Stop! I Want to Get Off the Conveyor Belt of Birth-- If you are pregnant and reading this, it is my most sincere hope that you understand that you do not have to be dragged along the conveyor belt of birth. You have options and you can make really good choices for your birth. You will have a more positive experience and that is your RIGHT. It is okay to have high expectations of your birth. It is okay to want more than to come out of your birth alive and with a healthy baby. That is the absolute bare minimum that you should expect. That is a given. BirthWell BirthRight (March 2018)

Thanks to the Patriarchy for Standing Back-- "Had he waltzed in and declared it too dangerous, it would have been show over, slice away. Luckily, the dude saw this birth for what it was; urgent but not critical — he was not needed." Romper (October 18, 2018)

Videos

Who Delivered Your Baby?-- Ashley Greenwald Tragash talks about how this type of language disempowers the mother as the one birthing her baby and puts focus on the care provider. Ted Talks on Youtube (February 14, 2017)

 

~Midwifery Care~

 

Everything from what a midwife is, what kinds of births they attend, the state of midwifery in various regions, how to hire one, and more.

 

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

 

Does a Larger Role for Midwives Mean Better Care?-- a new study, a systematic look at what midwives can and can't do in the states where they practice, offers new evidence that empowering them could significantly boost maternal and infant health. The five-year effort by researchers in Canada and the U.S., published Wednesday, found that states that have done the most to integrate midwives into their health care systems. NPR (February 22, 2018)

The Results Are In! Birth Centres = Better Outcomes-- According to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) study, Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns, individuals with Medicaid who received prenatal care in birth centers like The Midwife Center experienced better birth outcomes compared to the rest of the nation, on average.

Midwifery Care is Shown to Lead to Better Outcomes (again)-- Another study has shown that receiving pregnancy care from a midwife can reduce the chance of having problems (McRae et al 2018). This time, the focus was on women of low socioeconomic position and the researchers looked at three particular types of problem: having a small baby (described in the study as SGA, or small for gestational age), having a pre-term birth (PTB) and having a baby with a low birth weight (LBW). Dr. Sara Wickham (November 25, 2018)

 

News Articles & Editorials

 

New Brunswick to Bring Back Midwives In Pilot Project-- Health department to hire 4 midwives in the next year. CBC News (February 19, 2016)

Midwives to be Recognized as Healthcare Professionals in N.L.-- Newfoundland gets midwifery care. CBC News (April 28, 2016)

University of Manitoba Reaches Agreement on Midwifery Program with McMaster-- The University of Manitoba has reached an agreement with an Ontario school so that 14 midwifery students can continue studying this fall. CBC News (August 5, 2016)

Midwife Assoc. Pres Expects Growth-- Midwives are present at the birth of one in five B.C. babies, according to Bacon. But despite increasing popularity, the profession is still somewhat misunderstood. North Shore News (October 26, 2016)

B.C. Calls the Midwife: Province Reports Highest Rate of Midwife-Assisted Births in Canada-- B.C. has the country's leading rate in in midwife-assisted births, resulting in estimated government savings of $4.6 million in less than two years, a new report says. Vancouver Sun (October 28, 2016)

Midwifery Reaches Milestone With its 1000th Arrival-- South Delta Midwifery assists in the birth of 1000 babies. Delta Optimist (March 29, 2017)

BC Now Has the Highest Rate of Midwife-Assisted Births in Canada-- more women in BC are choosing midwives. CityNews (October 30, 2016)

Opinion: Ever Mother-To-Be-Needs a Midwife-- Lesley Page gives the reasons every mother should seek a midwife. Vancouver Sun (August 4, 2014)

Few Provinces Now Without Midwives As Services Begin in NB-- New Brunswick joins the rest of the provinces in offering midwifery care to women. CTV News Atlantic (October 13, 2017)

Midwives Open Practice in Salmon Arm-- The Shuswap region of the BC Interior adds midwifery as an option to residents. Salmon Arm Observer (December 11, 2017)

Midwives Set up Shop in Mile 0 City-- Dawson Creek & District Hospital in Northern BC implements midwifery care in their options for pregnant women. The Mirror (January 16, 2018)

Why More Women Are Calling for Midwives in Kelowna-- a brief history of how Canadian mothers/consumers gained access to midwifery services and more birth options. Kelowna Now (January 27, 2018)

Bond Between a Mother and Midwife Key To a Happy Birth: Research-- Women who are cared for by the same midwife throughout their pregnancy are less likely to need intervention such a caesarian sections during labour and are less likely to report a traumatic birth, research has found. The Age (October 25, 2015)

More Moms Considering Midwifery As An Option-- as more moms become aware that midwifery IS an option, more moms choose it over "traditional" birth. Coast Reporter (December 22, 2016)

9 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Midwife-- pretty standard questions to ask for any care provider, with the exception of birth location. Today's Parent (February 15, 2018)

Let Midwives & GPs Attend Low Risk Births-- These days, obstetricians attend nearly 70 percent of all low-risk births in Canada. And that number is growing, as they squeeze family doctors out of the delivery room. But a study just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says OBGYNs should not be the only option. And not just family doctors either. CBC (August 24, 2015)

'Call the Midwife' to Lead?-- How a midwifery-led model drove growth, improved obstetric outcomes, and increased patient and staff satisfaction. Linked In (October 14, 2018)

 

Blog Posts

 

5 Things That Secretly Upset Your Midwife-- there are a lot of misconceptions about midwifery care that can discourage people from thinking they're a valid and safe option. Generations Midwifery (August 29, 2016)

The Quality of Care a Midwife Provides is Priceless-- midwifery care is a personalized relationship in addition to evidence-based care. Mothering (June 13, 2016)

6 Differences Between Using a Doctor and a Midwife-- the difference between midwives and doctors in BC, specifically Abbotsford. Pictures taken at West Coast Health Collective. Creative Wife & Joyful Worker (April 4, 2018)

~Midwifery for Marginalized Communities~

If you are in the BIPOC or LGBTQ communities, having a midwife can be beneficial in reducing systemic and institutionalized racism and bias. Here's everything we have so far on the efforts of midwives to support birthing families in these communities.

News Articles & Editorials

On "Commonsense Childbirth": A Q & A With Midwife Jennie Joseph-- a midwife works within the U.S. to make birth safer for women of color. Rewire (July 26, 2016)

--Indigenous Communities

Everything we have so far that focuses specifically on Indigenous families and Midwifery care.

News Articles & Editorials

Government of Canada Announces Funding for First Nations and Inuit Midwifery-- our Indigenous women gain more options for maternity care. Cision (June 19, 2017)

Doula Support

What is a doula, how do they support you, and how do you hire one?

News Articles & Editorials

How Doulas Have a Huge, Positive Impact on C-Section Rates-- Huffington Post (August 29, 2014)

Moms Say Doulas Can Make a Difference During Delivery-- an article in a lifestyles magazine on doulas. Living (December 7, 2015)

8 Truths Doulas Know About Childbirth-- doulas share their wisdom on childbirth. Refinery 29 (April 12, 2017)

Blog Posts

Who Will Be With Me During My Birth?-- it's important to choose your birth team as carefully as you choose your care provider. Having A Baby (no date specified)

The Evidence for Doulas- Evidence Based Birth

Midwives and Doulas-- midwives often recommend their clients hire doulas for support.

Why Your Midwife is Not Your Doula-- women often confuse doulas with midwives. Here is the difference. Jen Conway Birth Photography (May 9, 2017)

~Support for Marginalized Communities~

If you are in the BIPOC or LGBTQ communities, having a doula can be an additional source of much-needed support. There are often programs available for you to access within doula organizations.

--Indigenous Communities

Everything we have so far that focuses specifically on Indigenous families and Doula support.

News Articles & Editorials

Indigenous Doulas To Give Spiritual, Traditional Support Throughout The Province-- special considerations into the cultural and spiritual traditions of our indigenous women shows the need for doula support within communities in Winnipeg. CBC News (March 14, 2016)

Indigenous Doulas Are Reclaiming Birthing Practices Colonization Tried to Erase-- The ekw'í7tl Indigenous Doula Collective is working to restore age-old customs around pregnancy and childbirth—and reestablish a traditional reverence for women and families in the process. Broadly (October 25, 2016)

Training Indigenous Doulas is 'An Act of Reconciliation' Says Participant-- A new program to train more Indigenous doulas is coming to Halifax later this month and will combine lessons on birth and breastfeeding with cultural practices like smudging. CBC News (April 4, 2019)

Pregnancy

A guide to everything from exercise and nutrition to checklists and guides for your pregnancy.

~First Trimester~

Everything we have on the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Blog Posts

First Trimester To Do List-- What can you expect in the first trimester? What do you need to focus on right now for planning your pregnancy at this stage? *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month One--What you can expect in the first month of pregnancy (weeks 1-4). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Two-- What you can expect in the second month of pregnancy (weeks 5-8). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Three-- What you can expect in the third month of pregnancy (weeks 9-13). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website too. Giving Birth Naturally

 

~Second Trimester~

Everything we have on planning for your pregnancy in the second trimester.

Blog Posts

Second Trimester To Do List--What can you expect in the second trimester? What do you need to focus on when planning for this stage of your pregnancy? *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Four-- What you can expect in the fourth month of pregnancy (weeks 14-17). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Five-- What you can expect in the fifth month of pregnancy (weeks 18-21). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Six-- What you can expect in the sixth month of pregnancy (weeks 22-26). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

 

~Third Trimester~

Everything we have on preparing and planning in the third trimester.

Blog Posts

Third Trimester To Do List-- What can you expect in the final month of pregnancy? What do you need to focus on to prepare in this stage? *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Seven-- What you can expect in the seventh month of pregnancy (week 27-30). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Eight-- What you can expect in the eighth month of pregnancy (week 31-35). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Month Nine-- What you can expect in the ninth month of pregnancy (weeks 36-birth). *Note* This blog is no longer available. The screenshots were obtained through a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

 

~Nutrition~

Everything we have on the subject of nutrition during pregnancy.

 

Blog Posts

Balanced Pregnancy Diet-- A food chart with the U.S., U.K., Canadian, and Australian recommended serving sizes for each of the different food groups needed each day. Dr. Brewer's recommendations are also listed for reference. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Eating a Variety of Foods While Pregnant-- Need some ideas on how to get a more balanced diet on days you don't feel like cooking or are too hungry to think about preparing a meal? These tips will help you plan ahead. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Prenatal Vitamins-- A brief explanation of the intention of taking prenatal vitamins in pregnancy. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

The Brewer Pregnancy Diet-- an overview of Dr. Tom Brewer's pregnancy diet, which has been used to help prevent health complications in pregnancy including Preeclampsia, premature birth, stillbirth, anemia, placental abruption, infection, and miscarriage. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

How Many Calories During Pregnancy?-- Does the thought of counting calories fill you with dread? Here's what you need to know about how your body stores the protein from the foods you eat and how to get enough for your growing baby without gaining excess weight. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Nutrition Myths--Are you really "eating for two"? Are salt and fat the enemy? Will the baby be able to get exactly what they need even if your diet is lacking in nutrients? Do you need to "watch your weight"? *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Common Pregnancy Nutrition Concerns-- Questions addressed: How does what you eat affect your baby? What is folic acid and what foods have it? What foods should you avoid in pregnancy? What about artificial sweeteners and do prenatal vitamins supply all your daily needs? *Note* this blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Food and Safety in Pregnancy-- What to consider when choosing and preparing safe foods in pregnancy. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Sample Pregnancy Menus-- Not sure what to make on any given day? These 5 sample menus may help you decide. Depending on whether you love to cook or prep in advance or prefer something quick and easy, there's a daily meal plan you can follow that follows Dr. Brewer's diet. The only drawback is there are no vegetarian meal plans on this blog. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Cookbook-- Recipes for each of the food groups, using Dr. Brewer's recommendations for daily nutrition. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Fast Food from your Freezer-- Intrigued by the idea of freezer meals but dread the thought of batch cooking and spending an entire day or two in the kitchen? Here's a few tips to make the meals, save time, and avoid a lot of the hassle. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Pregnancy Pantry Items-- Need a shopping list of staple foods to keep on hand? Print a copy of this list and place it inside your cupboard or on the door of your pantry for easy reference. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Quick Pregnancy Meals-- Don't have time to prepare a regular meal but know that fast food isn't good for you or your baby? Here's a list of quick meals you can have instead. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

~Weight Management~

Everything you need to know to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy

Blog Posts

How Much Weight Should I Gain?-- Worried about Body Mass Index (BMI) scoring? This article may simplify things for you and ease your concerns about how much weight you need to gain (or lose) for a healthy pregnancy. *Note* this blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

 

Managing Pregnancy Discomfort

 

Pregnancy doesn't come without its challenges. Here you'll find everything from morning sickness to pelvic pain and how to manage it.

 

~Digestive Issues~

Nausea, heartburn, constipation, gas, and bloating in pregnancy can be a real pain. Here's how you can manage these discomforts.

Blog Posts

Morning Sickness or Bloating?-- If you're feeling nauseous or overly full, bloating may be the issue. This article lists 5 things you can do to help reduce this feeling as well as a suggestion of foods you can eat. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

Managing Pregnancy Digestive Discomforts-- Suffering from heartburn, gas, bloating, morning sickness, or constipation? Here's 10 tips for managing the after-effects of a sluggish digestive tract due to progesterone. *Note* This blog is no longer available. Screenshots were obtained using a secondary website tool. Giving Birth Naturally

 

Planning and Preparing For Birth

 

Everything related to shifting your mindset, understanding physiology, learning your options, and planning for an empowered birth.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Placenta Ridden With Oral Bacteria; Good Oral Hygiene Could Be Important In Pregnancy-- an article on the importance of oral health in pregnancy. Medical Daily (May 24, 2014)

News Articles & Editorials

What Women Need to Know Before Watching "The Business of Being Born"-- Danielle Lasher is back with another fantastic article on birth and birth culture. Baby Gaga (August 5, 2017)

'Childbirth Has Become Like Choosing Schools. We’re Very Consumerist About It'-- while having an informed, respectful and evidence-based birth is important, expecting a certain kind of birth outside of that regardless of individual circumstances is problematic when discussing "normal birth". A midwife discusses the issues with "normal birth". The Telegraph (September 3, 2017)

Positive Birth: Myths Busted!-- Milli Hill busts several myths associated with "Positive Birth". Mummy Social (February 3, 2018)

Morning Sickness Linked to 'Greedy Little Embryos' Taking Iodine, New Research Says-- Nausea and vomiting are actually signs embryo is healthy and mother has sufficient iodine, U of W prof says. CBC News (December 13, 2016)

Blog Posts

Pelvimetry-- all about the female pelvis and how it relates to birth physiology. Feminist Midwife (October 17, 2012)

Female Pelvis: Designed for Giving Birth-- Gloria Lemay writes about the physiology of the female pelvis. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 6, 2010)

When Your Body Knows Just What to Do-- is hospital or home right for you? Gloria Lemay lists off the things that affect physiology of birth and what you would need to be able to cope with if you choose to birth outside your home. Birth Outside the Box (January 29, 2017)

The Ultimate Guide to Baby Position-- position of the baby affects how you labor. Optimal positioning can lead to a shorter labor time. Natural Birth and Baby Care (July 5, 2017)

The Myth of the Small Pelvis-- Imagine a pregnant woman being told that her pelvis is small and that she has a big baby. It is essential that she knows her pelvis has plenty of room to birth her baby and that nobody can accurately predict the size of a baby until he/she is born. The only exceptions may be malformed pelvic bones perhaps due to an accident, polio, or genetic malformations or the presence of large fibroids. BirthWorks (March 2, 2018)

The Rise of the Birth Plan: A Design Opportunity for Patients and Hospitals-- The perception among many providers is that parents with a birth plan are unreasonable and high maintenance. When in reality, if you sit down and look at birth plans, they are tools about current, evidence-based practices and the ethical and legal obligations providers already have to uphold to their patients. Tincture (April 4, 2016)

Why We Need To Stop Saying "Plans Change"-- this phrase undermines women; we need to support their desires for their births, not ridicule them. Modern Alternative Mama (June 3, 2016)

My Birth Plan-- Rixa Freeze writes out her birth plan. Stand and Deliver (February 4, 2011)

Why Midwives Love a Good Birth Plan-- midwife Kate Visser explains why she loves birth plans. Birth Well, Birth Right (July 2017)

A Downloadable Visual Birth Plan-- one blogging mama created a visual birth plan. This is NOT the Positive Birth Movement plan however there might be icons from this one that you prefer. The Best Season of My Life (August 20, 2015)

Birth Plans Are Never A Joke: Trust, Betrayal and Misogyny in Maternity Care-- Cristen Pascucci's thoughts on the time that a group of OBs on Twitter made fun of women with birth plans. Birth Monopoly (November 20, 2017)

Why Write a Birth Plan-- a doula team explains why a birth plan is important and what to put in it. Yellow Bird  Birth

3 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts-- Preparing for labor means having a positive mindset. So how do we get rid of the fears and negative thoughts that can hold us back? (November 4, 2014)

Every Person at Your Birth is an Intervention-- in order for physiological birth to unfold, mothers need to feel completely safe and supported. Choose your attendants wisely. Mothering (March 11, 2016)

Oxytocin: 15 Fascinating Facts About the Love Hormone-- an article about the REAL Oxytocin that our bodies naturally produce in physiological birth when we're feeling safe and supported. Belly Belly Birth Blog (updated April 3, 2018)

The Role of Hormones in Childbirth-- This article describes what birth hormones do and how to work with your body during labour. Childbirth Connection (September 5, 2018)

Downloads

Visual Birth Plan from The Positive Birth Book-- the visual birth plan from the Positive Birth Book. Pinter and Martin (December 2017)

Waiting for Labour

Here's what to expect in the last few weeks, and how to prepare for spontaneous labour.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Molecular Mechanisms Within Fetal Lungs Initiate Labor-- Researchers have identified two proteins in a fetus' lungs responsible for initiating the labor process, providing potential new targets for preventing preterm birth. They discovered that the proteins SRC-1 and SRC-2 activate genes inside the fetus' lungs near full term, leading to an inflammatory response in the mother's uterus that initiates labor. Science Daily (June 22, 2015)

Blog Posts

What Dilation Means in Late Pregnancy-- Robin Elise Weiss says, "While being told you're dilated toward the end of your pregnancy is exciting, keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily mean labor is imminent. You can walk around for weeks with your cervix at 1 cm, or go from zero to 10 cm over the course of one day". Very Well Family (updated March 18, 2019)

You Can't Fail To Progress Before Labour-- not having any signs of "progress" at prenatal appointments doesn't mean ANYTHING for how your labor will be. Whole Woman (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford November 24, 2015)

Can I Check My Own Cervix To See If I'm Dilating?-- are you too curious to know if anything is happening, but don't actually want someone else poking your cervix? Did you know you can check it yourself? Gloria Lemay tells you what to look for. Babble (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 26, 2015)

Your Cervix: Less Like Google Maps, More Like a Tardis-- your cervix cannot tell you where it's been at or what will happen tomorrow. Cervical dilation can change and reverse itself several times before a baby exits the womb. Beyond Birth Support Doula Services (March 1, 2016)

Evidence on Cervical Checks at the End of Pregnancy-- what is the evidence for and against routine cervical checks? Are they really necessary? Evidence Based Birth (February 1, 2017)

Obstetric Lie #93: "I Need You To Take Off Your Pants"-- vaginal exams are unnecessary and sometimes used as a way to establish a power dynamic. Mama Birth (April 1, 2011)

Fetal Lung Protein Release Triggers Labor to Begin-- Dr. Momma discusses the research findings. (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford August 14, 2015)

5 Reasons Why the Last Few Uncomfortable Weeks of Pregnancy Are Worth It-- Ready to post an eviction notice? Here's what your baby is doing in there during weeks 37 to 40 (and beyond!) of your pregnancy. Today's Parent (May 19, 2017)

You're Not in Labour-- Gloria Lemay explains "Many women do things to “get their birth going”. This can range from a 4 hour brisk hike, to acupuncture, to eating spicy food, castor oil, etc etc etc. When the body isn’t ready to give birth, all these things do is just drag out a ‘pretend’ birth process." Wise Woman Way of Birth (2010)

Videos

Cervical Exam for Dilation During Pregnancy: Are They Necessary?-- a video on the lack of evidence for routine cervical exams in pregnancy to "predict" labor.

Social Media

What We Mean When We Say Dilation Doesn't Mean Anything (a Facebook Post)-- this image shows the difference between the fundus of the uterus at dilation. Note how what is actually happening is that the uterine muscles pull UP to build the fundus and expel the baby. Nova Birth Services (January 7, 2016)

~Membrane Stripping/Sweeping~

Maybe you're impatient to get labour started, or maybe your care provider is offering it as part of routine care to "get things going". What is membrane sweeping? What are the risks, benefits, and alternatives? What is the evidence for it? You'll find it all here.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

National Institute of Health--Membrane Stripping

Blog Posts

Membrane Stripping, Membrane Sweeping: Just Say NO!-- Gloria Lemay critiques a study on the effectiveness of membrane stripping. "Whether or not women underwent membrane sweeping, overall rates of induction, postmaturity, and prelabor membrane rupture were similar." Wise Woman Way of Birth (April 25, 2012)

Membrane Sweep--6 Facts to Consider Before Having One

Pros and Cons of Membrane Sweeping-- a video by Rebecca Dekker on the risks and benefits of membrane sweeping. Evidence Based Birth (February 15, 2017)

Stop Stripping Membranes! (Nurturing Hearts Birth Services)

Videos

What Does It Really Mean to Be Offered a Membrane Sweep?-- this visual shared by The Birth House on Facebook shows what membrane sweeping looks like, using a piece of fruit. Warning, may be considered graphic for some.

~The "Overdue" Baby~

Still waiting for labour to start after your "due date"? Before you panic, here's everything we have on a post-dates pregnancy and your options.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

How Do Women Feel About Induction of Labour for Post-Term Pregnancy?-- Sarah Wickham goes over the results of a UK study on the experiences of women with post-term inductions. “This review identified several negative experiences of women undergoing postterm IOL. However, the experiences of women with induced labor can likely be improved by a communicative and patient‐centered approach. To support their informed choice and shared decision making, women need high‐quality, unbiased information about IOL, alternative options, and potential outcomes, as well as time to reflect on their personal values and preferences. Women may also need supported opportunities to re‐evaluate their hopes and expectations before receiving IOL.” 

Routine Induction of Labour at 41 Weeks Gestation: Nonsensus Consensus-- "An obstetrician in Winnipeg began to doubt the "science" that said outcomes were better if induction happened at 41 weeks. He asked the "science" publisher, Mary Hannah, an Ontario ob/gyn if he could have her raw data. What he found were a number of skewed results because of bias. Here's what he published in the British Journal of Medicine."-- Gloria Lemay.  BJOG (December 22, 2003)

Routine Induction of Labour at 41 Weeks Gestation: Nonsense Consensus --In 1992 a study was done on post-dates pregnancy that concluded that after 41 weeks the risk of stillbirth increased. Shortly after in 1997 these guidelines were put into place and the routine induction of all women who went past 40 weeks was established as commonplace. But how was that study actually carried out? Another obstetrician studied the raw data and found that these findings were biased. In 2003 he published an article based on his findings.

News Articles & Editorials

I Was Pregnant for 10 Months-- a mother feels the pressure to induce but goes to almost 43 weeks with a healthy baby! The Guardian (October 1, 2010)

Kids Born "Late" Perform Better in Elementary and Middle School-- babies born in late term and after 40 weeks were found to have higher cognitive skills, a study found. AOL (July 6, 2016)

Length of Pregnancy Can Vary By Up to Five Weeks, Scientists Discover-- more evidence that due dates are just guess dates. The Independent (August 7, 2013)

I Was Still Pregnant At 42 Weeks And This Is What Happened Next-- a mother goes into labor after passing her due date and shares what it feels like to be "overdue". Pop Sugar (June 10, 2018)

A Due Date is an Estimation, Not an Expiration-- what happened to trusting in the mother's body to birth? Nancy Lucina (July 5, 2017)

Blog Posts

Postdates: Separating Fact From Fiction-- Is there evidence behind this practice to support the routine induction of pregnancies that go beyond 40-41 weeks? What are the usual assumptions and beliefs surrounding this? Midwifery Ramblings (September 15, 2008)

Estimated Due Dates-- January Harshe talks about due dates and the evidence for leaving babies to pick their own birthdays. Birth Without Fear (November 17, 2010)

Why I Asked My Midwife to NOT Tell Me My Due Date-- a mother gives reasons why her due date didn't matter to her. Mothering (September 20, 2016)

42 Weeks and Counting (Loving Overdue Babies)-- "Carrying a baby to 42 weeks and beyond has become such a big deal in our culture. In a healthy pregnancy, carrying the baby longer is a good sign and results in a baby that sucks well and is ready for extra uterine life. This is the information that I give to mothers who are being harassed by family and/or friends to “do something”." Wise Woman Way of Birth (April 7, 2009)

Induction at 39 Weeks? That's a Feminist Issue-- Milli Hill criticizes the new study pushing induction for all birthing people at 39 weeks. The Positive Birth Movement (August 10, 2018)

Inducing Labor at 39 Weeks May Reduce C-Sections. Should It Become Common Practice?--“Of the about 23,000 eligible patients in the trial, over 16,000 declined to participate. This indicates that most women don’t actually want to be induced and that there is selection bias: Those who enrolled might not represent the general population with regard to desire for induction.” Quartz (August 12, 2018)

Should Every Mother Be Induced at 39 Weeks? The ARRIVE Trial-- Sarah Buckley offers her wisdom in light of the ARRIVE study. Dr. Sarah Buckley (October 4, 2018)

40 Reasons to Give Your Baby 40+ Weeks of Pregnancy-- You're approaching the end of your pregnancy and you're ready to be done with it! We hear you, but here's all the reasons why you might want to hold off on booking an induction if there's no complications. Belly Belly birth blog (updated April 3, 2018)

Evidence on Due Dates-- the evidence for and against induction of labor for a post-dates pregnancy. Evidence Based Birth (April 15, 2017)

Labour

Everything we have on labour support, coping, physiological labour, and comfort measures.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Experts Say Innovative Labor Sling May Help Reduce Cesarean Rate and Promote Natural Birth-- gravity is important in physiological birth; some care providers have figured that out. M Health (November 7, 2018)

Physiologic Basis of Pain in Labour and Delivery: An Evidence-Based Approach to its Management-- the Journals of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines for pain management. JOGC (February 2018)

Immersion in Water in Labour and Birth-- Labouring in water may reduce the number of women having an epidural. Giving birth in water did not appear to affect mode of birth, or the number of women having a serious perineal tear. This review found no evidence that labouring in water increases the risk of an adverse outcome for women or their newborns. Cochrane (May 16, 2018)

Labor Day: What To Expect-- A step by step guide to what you can expect in the few hours or days leading up to your baby's birth. Written by Judith A. Lothian, PhD, RN, LCCE, FACCE, and Kathryn McGrath, MW, LSW, CD (DONA), LCCE, FACCE. Lamaze.org

News Articles & Editorials

Why Labour is Such a Pain: and How to Reduce It-- the cultural influences that make us believe labour is so painful, the physiology of labour "pain" and how to cope. The Conversation (December 16, 2015)

Blog Posts

15 Things Women Do That Prolong Labor-- staying on your back, in bed. Not eating and drinking as you need to. When you work against physiology, labor takes longer. Here's what to avoid. Baby Gaga (January 3, 2017)

Three Reasons to Use an Exercise Ball During Labor-- the evidence for using a birth ball in labor. Evidence Based Birth (March 8, 2017)

Evidence on Waterbirth Safety- "although more research on waterbirth is needed, current evidence shows that hospital “bans” on waterbirth are not evidence-based." Evidence Based Birth (Published Feb 2, 2014. Updated January 30, 2018)

Largest Waterbirth Study Proves It's Safe For Mom and Baby-- a meta-analysis determines water birth is a safe and effective option for women in childbirth. Midwives of New Jersey (December 10, 2018)

Labor Pain- Myths and Truth-- 5 myths about labour pain: 1) Labour is always excruciating 2) You need a high pain tolerance 3) Medication is the only thing that will help 4) Removing pain means a better birth experience 5) The most painful labor is a homebirth. Other sources are cited at the end of the article. *note* Giving Birth Naturally is no longer publishing articles and the site is down. This is a screen capture using a web tool for locating sites that are no longer active. Giving Birth Naturally

Videos

Prenatal Class Part 1-- Understanding what your body needs during labour and practicing comfort techniques are two great ways to get ready for your baby's arrival. Check out this amazing prenatal class you can watch in your PJs. YouTube (January 22, 2015)

Routine Labour Practices

Everything you need to know about monitoring, examinations, and procedures during labour.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Hospital Management Practices May Put Women At Risk For C-Sections, Complications During Childbirth-- more evidence that points to hospital practices as the cause of complications, not mothers' health. Ariadne Labs (July 11, 2017)

Blog Posts

Childbirth: What to Reject When You're Expecting-- these 9 procedures aren't necessary in low-risk birth. Consumer Report (May 16, 2017)

Early Labour and Mixed Messages-- in early labor it's common for the mother to physiologically need to get to her "safe space". In the case of a mother wanting to birth in the hospital, she feels that is her safe place to be, however the hospital environment is not set up for early labor.How do we support these mothers? Midwife Thinking (November 13, 2013)

Are Women's Birth Sounds Being Silenced in the Hospital-- physiological birth necessitates that a mother make noises as she needs to. Are hospitals undermining that basic need? Wake Up, Mama (July 14, 2015)

Tips for Gentle and Effective Hospital Negotiations-- if you have to have a hospital birth, you can still advocate for yourself. Here's some great tips for effectively negotiating in the hospital environment. Lamaze for Parents (October 14, 2015)

15 Things Moms Are Not "Allowed" To Do During Labor-- don't let the title fool you; even though these ARE some hospital policies, they aren't actually allowed to not allow you. Baby Gaga (January 20, 2017)

ACOG Finally Recommends What Many Moms In Labor Had to Fight For-- ACOG finally realizes that the best way for labor to progress is to leave moms ALONE! Mom.Me (March 24, 2017)

Cascade of Interventions: The Short and Long-Term Impact on Women and Babies-- This is the first of a series of blog posts in which Beverley Beech discusses the modern problem of the ‘cascade of intervention’ that occurs for many birthing women and looks at the short and long term impact of this upon women and babies.

~Vaginal Exams/Cervical Checks~

Do you really need to have those vaginal exams during labour that you're dreading? Here's everything we have on the subject of having your cervix checked for progress in labour.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Cervical Dilatation Patterns of ‘Low Risk’ Women With Spontaneous Labour and Normal Perinatal Outcomes: A Systematic Review-- "An expectation of a minimum cervical dilatation threshold of 1 cm/hour throughout the first stage of labour is unrealistic for most healthy nulliparous and parous women. Our findings call into question the universal application of clinical standards that are conceptually based on an expectation of linear labour progress in all women." Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (September 2017)

Progression of the First Stage of Spontaneous Labor: A Prospective Cohort Study in Two Sub-Saharan African Countries-- Cervical dilatation during labour in the slowest-yet-normal women can progress more slowly than the widely accepted benchmark of 1 cm/hour, irrespective of parity. Interventions to expedite labour to conform to a cervical dilatation threshold of 1 cm/hour may be inappropriate, especially when applied before 5 cm in nulliparous and multiparous women. Averaged labour curves may not truly reflect the variability associated with labour progression, and their use for decision-making in labour management should be de-emphasized. PLOS Medical Journal (January 16, 2018)

Blog Posts

The "C" Word: What's Up With Cervical Exams During Birth?--cervical exams are rarely helpful to the birthing person. Birth Takes a Village (June 3, 2012)

Alternative Methods of Checking Dilation (The Purple Line and More)-- there are other ways of assessing progress without a vaginal exam. Birth Without Fear (June 6, 2013)

Feminist Midwife Scripts: Painful Cervical Exams During Labor-- a midwife demonstrates the respectful way to conduct a cervical exam once the mother has consented to one. Feminist Midwife (April 4, 2016)

5 Very Good Reasons To Refuse Vaginal Exams in Labour-- don't like the idea of vaginal exams while you're in labour? You don't have to have one. Whole Woman (May 20, 2016)

The Perineal 'Bundle' and Midwifery-- Rachel Reed critiques the recommendations for reducing tearing in mothers in Australia. Some of these routine practices have been implemented here in Canada as well, but the use is individual preference. Midwife Thinking

Giving Birth at Royal Columbian? Here's What You Should Know-- Editor’s Note: This is a post from our archives, and it’s one of our most popular posts and one that people still  find through search. Comments are closed, and many of the links are broken now, but Briana’s advice at the end of the post still stands. We’re working on updating the data in this post, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and get notified when we have the new post ready. Thanks! 

~Eating & Drinking vs IV Fluids~

There's a lot of misconceptions out there and not all hospitals practice the same way. So, can you eat and drink freely in labour or not? Can you decline the IV in labour or not? Here's everything we have gathered on this topic.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Eating and Drinking in Labor: Let Women Decide-- A Cochrane Review concluded that women should not be restricted or discouraged from eating and drinking during labor. Science Daily (January 22, 2010)

Blog Posts

Evidence for the Saline Lock During Labor-- Do you really need a Heparin Lock/IV port in place "just in case"? Evidence Based Birth (published May 30, 2012)

Evidence on IV Fluids During Labor-- Are IV fluids really necessary for every labor? Evidence Based Birth (published May 24, 2012. Updated May 31, 2017)

~Electronic Fetal Monitoring~

What is the controversy, what is the evidence, what are the benefits, risks, and alternatives of Electronic Monitoring in labour?

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

A Half Century of Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Bioethics: Silence Speaks Louder Than Words-- "In the early 70's I witnessed the Corometrics Electronic Fetal Monitor (EFM) machine roll down the long hallway to Labor and Delivery, in all her glory. A machine that very quickly removed the standard of care from routine auscultation of fetal heart rate by fetoscope and confined the woman to bed, which you can imagine, led to rapidly increased cesarean sections. And also, I watched women in labor demand more medications due to restricting movement in labor, and fear, fear accelerated by the noises, beeps, and sometimes silence of the heart rate monitor. Unfortunately, meaningless artifact, that in a few short hours disrupted her trust in birth established by intense series of childbirth preparation classes." Bio Med Central (November 21, 2017)

OB-GYNs Do Too Much Fetal Monitoring-- It’s important in high-risk pregnancies, but most pregnancies aren’t risky. Scientific American (February 7, 2019)

News Articles & Editorials

The Most Common Childbirth Practice in America is Unnecessary and Dangerous-- why do doctors and patients insist on using electronic fetal monitoring? The New Republic (August 13, 2015)

Electronic Fetal Monitoring: No Benefits, Plenty of Harm-- The increase in cesarean sections brought on by the use of electronic fetal monitoring during delivery has not reduced rates of cerebral palsy, instead placing women at high risk of complications and death. Cerebral Palsy News Today (December 9, 2016)

Blog Posts

Evidence on Fetal Monitoring-- What is the evidence for intermittent vs continuous fetal monitoring in labor? Evidence Based Birth (published July 17, 2012. Updated May 21, 2018)

~Epidural~

Everything we have on the risks, benefits, alternatives, and limitations of the epidural for labour.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

Epidural: Risks and Concerns for Mother and Baby-- Dr. Sarah J. Buckley outlines the seldom-discussed risks of choosing an epidural for pain relief in labor. Dr. Sarah Buckley (published 2005; updated 2009)

Blog Posts

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The Potential Dangers of Epidural Anesthesia-- Kelly Brogan M.D. discusses the risks that come with the epidural. Pathways to Family Wellness (Spring 2015)

15 Effects Of An Epidural Every Mom Needs to Prepare For-- considering an epidural? Here are some of the side effects you need to know about. NOT wanting an epidural? Read this anyway in case you change your mind or end up needing one for medical reasons so that you can prepare if these side effects happen. Baby Gaga (October 14, 2017)

Videos

If You're Planning an Epidural-- Penny Simkin outlines all the options available for mothers who choose the epidural for pain relief. YouTube (December 5, 2015)

Natural Birth

Everything you need to know about vaginal birth without interventions, including physiology of birth, birth in a hospital, and birth at home.

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals, and Publications

Approaches to Limit Interventions During Labor and Birth--guidelines on supporting physiological birth from ACOG. (February 2017)

Why Are So Many Babies Born Around 8AM?--Data visualization engineer Zan Armstrong takes a close look at human birth patterns. Scientific American (June 20, 2017)

Do Not Disturb: The Importance of Privacy in Labour-- some women don't labour well when they're being watched. Journal of Perinatal Education (Summer 2004)

"Somersault" Maneuver for a Tight Umbilical Cord-- worried about the cord being around the neck or body? Here's a tip to avoid cord clamping/cutting. National Center for Biotechnology Information (March 1999)

Birth Study Empowers Women--"Our analysis found that those who had received GP shared care, standard public care, public midwifery continuity care or private midwifery care were all more likely to have a 'normal' birth than women in private obstetric care." Science Daily (July 23, 2018)

Coaching a Slow Birth With the Woman in an Empowered Position May Be Less Harmful Than Routine Hands-On Practice to Protect Against Severe Tears in Birth – A discussion paper-- "Evidence-based practice requires sufficient evaluation of interventions before being implemented in clinical practice as well as valuing the level of evidence when making clinical decisions. Evaluation of hands-on interventions to protect women from severe perineal tears must include not just one outcome of interest, but also an assessment of how the intervention interferes with the normal mechanism of birth, and how it affects neonatal outcomes and the autonomy of women."

Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing-- Comprehensive Report Examines the Science on the Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing and Its Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care. Transforming Maternity Care

 

News Articles & Editorials

American Hospitals With Fewer C-Sections Have One Thing in Common: Better Design-- turns out that hospitals designed for LABOUR have fewer interventions that lead to c-sections. Quartz (March 21, 2017)

Plans Conceived for New Birthing Centre at St. Paul's Hospital-- the first proposed site of a birth centre. Vancouver Sun (August 26, 2015)

Richmond Hospital is Best in BC for Vaginal Births-- Richmond takes care to implement evidence-based practices, reduce c-section rates, and support physiological birth. VCH News (August 18, 2016)

 

Blog Posts

Want an Unmedicated Birth? 3 Expert Ways to Get There-- Women who intend to have an unmedicated labor and birth can help increase the chances of being successful at doing so by doing the following 3 basic things. Motherly (October 27, 2018)

Midwife’s Guide to an Intact Perineum-- afraid of tearing in a physiological birth? Gloria Lemay gives her tips to keeping the perineum intact. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 11, 2008)

Pushing for First Time Moms-  by Gloria Lemay. Evidence for leaving first time moms alone in a physiological birth and how pushing differs for a first time mother vs a mother who has already had one vaginal birth. Midwifery Today (2000)

Pushing For Primips-- the same article as above but updated for 2019. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 30, 2008)

What Does It Take To Have an Intervention-Free Birth-- Jacquie Munro discusses what it takes to have an intervention-free birth. Slow Birth (May 30, 2013)

The "Slow Birth" Movement-- Gloria Lemay suggests that the problem with our maternity care system is that we're rushing birth and pathologizing "slow birth" when we should just let it unfold as it will. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 29, 2009)

Supporting Women's Instinctive Pushing Behaviour During Birth-- directed pushing may be the cultural norm, but is it what is physiology designed for mothers? Midwife Thinking (September 9, 2015)

Are Women Pushing Too Hard, and Too Soon, During Labour?-- evidence catches up to what women's bodies and midwives already know. Today's Parent (August 12, 2016)

What We Know About Perineal Tearing, And How to Reduce It During Childbirth-- so many women fear "tearing" during a vaginal birth. Here's how to reduce the chances of it happening. The Conversation (October 23, 2016)

Laboring at Night? Turn Off the Lights-- there's evidence that the slow to progress labors are partly due to the excessive light during the nighttime hours when labor typically unfolds. You can thank our ancestors for our aversion to light in producing oxytocin and melatonin. Preg U (May 18, 2017)

Birth: How Leaving Home is the First Intervention-- as mammals, we are guided by our instincts to find our safe space to birth. For some of us, the hospital IS felt to be the safest place and we will birth without any further need for interference. But for many of us, the hospital introduces anxiety and can hinder our progress or even reverse it. Mothering (October 16, 2017)

Out of the Laboratory: Back to the Darkened Room-- have you ever witnessed a cat birth a litter of kittens? This birth analogy explains why so many women have "trouble" birthing in today's society. Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond (April 2, 2018)

Women Who Don't "Push" During Childbirth Are 85 Percent Less Likely To Experience Severe Vaginal Tearing-- Hospital stops telling women to lie on their backs and “push” during childbirth, reduces instances of severe vaginal tearing from 7% to 1%. Return to Now (October 22, 2017)

Fetal Positions for Labour and Birth-- knowing your baby's position can help you in your labour and birth. Very Well Family (March 29, 2019)

Interventions in Birth-- wise words from Gloria Lemay that echo those of Dr. Michel Odent. "Do not disturb the birthing woman". Wise Woman Way of Birth (October 3, 2008)

Videos

How Contractions Work-- this is how the uterus works to expel the baby.  Liz Chalmers demonstrates with a balloon and ping pong ball. This video has been shared multiple times in birth forums. YouTube (October 30, 2017)

~Home Birth~

 

This section covers everything you need to know about homebirth, including planning for it, homebirth stories for inspiration, videos, assisted homebirth and unassisted (free birth).

Clinical Practice Guidelines, Medical Journals & Publications

SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines Statement on Homebirth-- the SOGC's clinical practice guidelines (2019)

Birth is No Reason To Go to The Hospital, Review Suggests-- A new Cochrane Review concludes that all countries should consider establishing proper home birth services. They should also provide low-risk pregnant women with information enabling them to make an informed choice. Science Daily (September 19, 2012)

 

News Articles & Editorials

Why are Medical Professionals who Deliver Babies in Hospitals Choosing to Have Their Own Babies at Home?-- What does it say about the state of maternity care in the system when those working IN that system choose to opt out for their own births? Health Impact News (2014)

Home Birth Often Safer Than Hospital Birth, Says Midwife Soo Downe-- a midwife from the University of Central Lancashire says it's important for women to have a choice of birth location. CBC News (March 10, 2015)

UBC Study Shows Homebirths With Midwives Are Cheaper Than Hospital Births-- if you've been in BC long enough, you'll know that our healthcare system is in financial crisis; not enough beds, not enough staff, and not enough funding. A UBC study has shown that homebirth with midwives is more cost-effective for low-risk mothers. Global News (August 20, 2015)

A Survey of Women in Australia Who Choose the Care of Unregulated Birth Workers for a Birth at Home-- why are women in Australia choosing birth at home without a registered midwife? This survey highlights the importance of a mother's autonomy in her birthing environment, regardless of the perceived risks. Put simply, if a mother is "not allowed" to birth the way she wants with a REGISTERED care provider, it does not automatically mean she will do as she his told she "has to". Science Direct (November 29, 2018)

Low-Risk Births Just As Safe At Home As In Hospital: McMaster Study-- a study published in the Canadian Medical Journal suggests that low-risk birth at home is just as safe as in the hospital. CBC News (December 21, 2015)

Home Birth With a Midwife is No Riskier For Low-Risk Women Than a Hospital Birth: Study-- more information on the study into the safety of homebirth for low-risk women. The National Post (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 22, 2015)

Study Finds No Added Risk For Home Birth in Rural Areas-- a study finds no additional risk for mothers in rural areas to choose home birth. UBC News (November 20, 2017)

 

Blog Posts

"If I Were at Home, I Would Have Died". The Trouble With Extrapolating Hospital Birth Events to Home Birth-- have you had people say this to you when you express a desire to birth at home or share your home birth story? Pathways to Family Wellness (Fall 2011)

15 Celebrities Who Have Chosen Home Birth-- just for fun, here's some celebrities who gave birth at home. Pop Sugar (January 18, 2016)

An Intense, but Healing Home Birth-- the birth of my daughter and my experience with prodromal labor and confirmation that the cervix is most definitely NOT a crystal ball.

Pressure-Free Home Birth After 2 Weeks of Braxton Hicks Contractions--a mother has 2 weeks of prodromal labor. Birth Without Fear (July 27, 2016)

What It's Really Like to Have a Home Water Birth-- two women share their stories. Women's Health (November 11, 2016)

Top Ten Reasons Why This Attorney Chose a Home Birth-- a lawyer gives her top reasons she chose homebirth. Fearless Parent (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford March 1, 2015)

Home Birth: Why This Doctor Would Still Choose One-- Aviva Romm discusses the reasons she would still choose home birth. Aviva Romm MD (February 4, 2014)

YouTube

Why Not Home? The Surprising Birth Choices of Doctors and Nurses-- a documentary on why healthcare professionals are opting out of the hospital for their own births. Why Not Home--YouTube (September 3, 2018)

--HBAC (Homebirth After Cesarean)

See VBAC

--Breech Homebirth

See Breech

~Free Birth~

Feeling like you have no other options for the birth you really want, or are just curious about unassisted birth in particular? Here's everything we have on Free Birth/Unassisted Birth.

Blog Posts

A Story of Patience; 20 Years of Waiting, 44 Weeks Gestation, an Unassisted Birth-- a mother births unassisted after passing her due date by a whole month. Birth Without Fear (October 29, 2012)

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