WHAT IS A GENTLE BIRTHING EXPERIENCE?
From Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper, RN
Compiled by Andrea Eastman, MA, CCE, IBCLC for Gentle Birth Alternatives
"A gentle birth begins by focusing on the mother's experience and by bringing together a woman's emotional dimensions and her physical and spiritual needs. A gentle birth respects the mother's pivotal role, acknowledging that she knows how to birth her child in her own time and in her own way, trusting her instincts and intuition. In turn, when a mother gives birth gently, she and everyone present acknowledge that the baby is a conscious participant in his or her own birth. The experience empowers the birthing woman, welcomes the newborn child into a peaceful and loving environment, and bonds the family. The goal of gentle birth is to reclaim the wonder and joy that are inherent in the beginning of a new life."
"A gentle birth takes place when a woman is supported by the people she chooses to be with her during this most intimate time. She needs to be loved and nurtured by those around her so she can feel comfortable and secure enough to follow her natural instincts. A birthing woman must be trusted so she can in turn trust herself, her body, her partner, her baby, and this process of giving birth. Her intuition must be respected. During a natural gentle birth, a woman feels and senses the power of the birth and uses this energy to transform every part of her own being. A gentle birth is not rushed. The baby emerges at its own pace and in its own time, received into the hands of those who love and recognize it for the divine gift that it is."
SUGGESTED INGREDIENTS OF A GENTLE BIRTH
The education that best prepares a woman for gentle birth is one that empowers her through information and a belief in her ability to give birth naturally. Examine your attitudes, beliefs, and ideas about birth.
A REASSURING ENVIRONMENT
When a woman is in a comfortable, distraction-free, reassuring environment, she is more likely to shift into a more instinctive level of concentration or consciousness that will enable her to labor spontaneously. Making this shift helps tremendously in reducing the sensation of pain.
FREEDOM TO MOVE
Physical activity during labor helps the baby constantly reposition itself in the womb, readjusting, descending, and preparing for birth.
A hushed, quiet atmosphere allows a woman to remain undistracted and able to stay centered within herself.
Creates the right atmosphere for giving birth, and spares the newborn's eyes, so that it can gaze at its parents.
The First Breath. The First Caress. The Baby at the Breast. Bonding.
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