Did you know that the very things you've been taught to do when planning a natural birth will set you up to fail? If you already read Part 1of this series then you know that there are common practices and beliefs about birth that will lead to your confidence being undermined.
These are the beliefs, attitudes, cultural expectations, misconceptions and medical practices that are so routine in maternity care and our birth culture that you don't think twice about them.
They're the things you see most often in the mom groups and in mainstream childbirth education that are leading you right down the exact path you don't want: the path to a cesarean, induction, episiotomy, forceps delivery, or simply a birth where you lose all control and things happen to you that you didn't ask for, didn't want, and might not have even agreed to if you'd known the risks and that you had other options.
In other words, these are the things that seem obvious in hindsight as you learn how birth really works and your own psychological and emotional needs during labor, but they aren't easy to spot beforehand because it seems like it's just "normal" and "to be expected."
You can watch the next 5 here and then read more about how I came to discover these Natural Birth Traps below.
So, how did I figure this out and how can you avoid falling into these traps and the many, many others that are so common in our birth culture?
First, let me tell you a story:
When I first decided to plan a homebirth with my first baby, everyone in my family freaked out! No one had EVER given birth outside of the hospital before, and what I was doing was so unheard of that I was immediately bombarded with calls and messages from "concerned" family members.
My aunt would call me several times over that pregnancy, mentioning how worried she was. She pointed out that this was my first baby and that I didn't really know what labor would be like, and that babies need to be born in the hospital "just in case something happens."
I would get questions from my mother as to whether my midwife was "qualified" to handle an emergency. She asked "what about doing the episiotomy?" I shocked her when I replied that I wasn't going to have one, because that actually makes it more likely that I'd suffer a serious tear, and that there was no actual evidence to do one.
Given that I was born in the 80s, this was new information for my mother to hear because back when she was giving birth everyone got that cut.
For the most part I was able to keep my resolve to birth at home and I spent much of my pregnancy sharing articles on my Facebook profile that would "educate" my family and friends on why what I was planning wasn't really that crazy or dangerous. I did it because I thought that by sharing that information they would read it and change their minds and support me.
That didn't happen. In fact, it rarely happens. This is why when a mom asks in a group for resources to help "convince" her family or partner to let her have what she wants in her birth, I remind her that she doesn't have to fight, beg, or compromise just to make other people comfortable with her choices. It's YOUR baby and YOUR body. You only get to experience this pregnancy once, so why not just do what feels best for you and ignore the rest?
Well, the thing is that often the people around us feed into those tiny little voices of fear and doubt, and this is what led to me giving in and planning a hospital birth. The second the midwife put those fears in my head that I couldn't grow a healthy baby, combined with my insecurities around my small size and the messages my family and friends had given me about having tiny hips and probably not being able to birth a big baby OR that I wasn't "eating enough" because I had such a tiny belly, I bought into that narrative and let those fears take over.
Who you surround yourself with matters! In fact, that's one of the components I focus on a lot in my coaching with my clients. I am their biggest cheerleader because I know that they aren't getting a lot of support outside of our Empowered Birth Community and in order to truly go after your dreams you need to have those people who believe in you as much or even more than you do.
This is what led to me discovering some secrets in how to get the birth I wanted and create the 5 Pillars of Empowered Birth, which you can learn more about if you grab my ebook Your Empowered Birth below.
In this book you will learn the entire Empowered Birth System and how you can use it to get your dream birth experience and avoid the biggest traps when it comes to planning a natural birth.
You'll be able to avoid crumbling under the pressure of an OB or midwife who is pushing for you to have a vaginal exam (even though you now know that your cervix is not a crystal ball).
You won't feel like you have to get into labor by your due date, which will allow you to rest as you need to and just not worry about it. You won't get tricked into inducing just because you hit someone else's arbitrary timeline. You also won't give in to the pressure to have a membrane sweep, and you won't exhaust yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally trying to do "all the things" to make your labor go faster just to avoid your care provider pushing interventions you don't want or need.
You also won't hire anyone who doesn't fully support you and believe in your ability to birth your baby in your own time, in your own way.
The best part about using this system is that anyone can do it!
You can use this system to plan your birth even if you've been labelled "high risk", if you have a "small pelvis" or you have a high body mass index. You can use it even if you develop Gestational Diabetes.
You can use it even if you've already had one or more cesareans and this is your last attempt to actually experience natural birth, because you know you should be able to do it.
This system is the most versatile and multi-dimensional way to plan and get your birth your way, without having to fight any battles, beg for permission, convince anyone of the "evidence" for what you want, or compromise to make others feel more comfortable with your choices.
The Right Mindset: How to get past your fears, create your vision of your ideal birth, and identify any old stories or misconceptions you absorbed from others that are holding you back from getting what you really want.
The Right Education: How to start asking the right questions when it comes to any information you are presented with, so that you can filter out what works for you and what you're planning for your birth and what is only going to talk you out of your dream and undermine your confidence in your body's ability to birth.
The Right Environment: How to determine where YOU will feel safest to birth, and how to create that environment that will support your ability to find additional resources and support for what you are working toward in planning your dream birth.
The Right Facilitators: How to choose the childbirth educator, care provider, and doula who will work for YOU rather than try to tell you how you need to think about things or push their own agenda and plans on you.
The Right Support: How to seek out those people who will support what you want to do and cheer you on, so that you no longer feel like you have to convince them or "educate" them, and you don't feel alone in how you want your birth to go.
Plus, when you get this book you will also have accesses to these bonuses:
This is the full list of 20 of the most common Natural Birth Traps that you can download onto your computer or even keep in a Google Drive and access from your mobile devices. It will serve as a quick reminder for both you and your partner on what you want to avoid as you get to the end of your pregnancy.
Forget the cookie-cutter lists of questions to interview a doula. They're full of generic information that doesn't really help you figure out what you really want or if this doula is even a good fit. I've compiled this list specifically because as a doula and childbirth educator I heard the frustrations of my friends in birth work who wished they had clients who were a much better fit for the kinds of services they most love to offer. By reading this short guide, you'll have a clearer idea of what to look for when setting up interviews with doulas and getting referrals, and you won't accidentally hire someone who is not able to fully support your birth vision.
In this quick guide you'll learn about my 5 step framework for asking the right questions and making decisions in your pregnancy and birth that align with what is most important to YOU, so that you don't fall for the common scare tactics that lead to being talked into inductions, cesareans, vaginal exams, or anything else you've decided you don't want. You'll also know how to weigh the true risks and benefits when something comes up in your pregnancy that puts you outside the very narrow view of what's "normal" (that doesn't exist in the first place).
There's a few other goodies I've included as well, but you'll have to get the book first to find out what they are! Just click here and you'll be taken to our sign up page where you can enter your name and email. Once you do that you will instantly receive your copy of Your Empowered Birth in your inbox and information on how to grab the rest of your bonus guides as well.
You're probably wondering why I would give all this away for free.
The truth is that this system is incredibly valuable and I could easily sell it for hundreds of dollars.
In fact, people pay me thousands of dollars per month for me to walk them through their own personalized Empowered Birth plan and support them as they work through their fears and learn how to communicate their wishes to their care provider, doula, and even their partner.
The problem is that this system works SO well that when women hear about it they want to work with me too...however I only have so much time in any given day. So in 2022 I set out to write the entire system out, step by step, so that if someone either couldn't afford my coaching packages or didn't have the time to sit down each week to meet with me on a call, they could still get the help they deserved.
Again, I could have put this behind a pay wall, but then it wouldn't be accessible to everyone AND this is something of which I am passionate about.
I got into birth advocacy and education because I saw the problems from both sides as a mother who fell into a lot of traps and as a birth worker listening to the stories of my colleagues who desperately want you to know how to read between the lines and see these traps.
I cannot tell you how many doulas have been traumatized by what they saw happen to their clients, of which the mothers had no idea just how they'd been tricked by the medical system. But as doulas we can't really interfere with your choices, and we can only present information and then cross our fingers that you pick up on the fine print and decline that vaginal exam or induction.
The problem is that often you don't see what we do, because as I said, these Natural Birth Traps are everywhere. That's why I finally got so tired of seeing you and other moms fall into them that I created this video series and accompanying guide to the 20 most common ones.
So what was the trap that surprised you the most in this video, and did you fall into any of these with your previous births?
Comment below and let's discuss!
If you like this video and any of the other ones on my blog then I invite you to like, share, and subscribe to my YouTube Channel so this information gets out there to more moms just like you who need it.