Why I Created Down the Canal – The Game of Birth
There are so many books to read and so many websites to visit; it can be overwhelming for expectant parents. How do they really know which sources are promoting the best available evidence? Down the Canal is a pregnancy game, created for easy access to the information, and to inspire further inquiry into the birth process.
The goal is for people to play the game and learn they have more questions. It challenges the player to explore their own beliefs about birth. It is an inquiry into the self, as much as it is an inquiry into birth.
Since 1991 I have been an advocate for physiologic birth; birth with little or no intervention when mother is healthy and has no underlying medical issues. The question that continually arises is “Why aren’t more women taking a stand for themselves in birth?” Discussions with colleagues have often led to “How can we educate women and families about all their birthing options before they choose their doctor or midwife?”
We have a maternity care crisis in the United States, which you can read more about in the article I wrote in the Journal of Mother Studies.
The choice of care provider is one of the first choices a woman will make, usually within the first three months of pregnancy. Many women choose this provider based on recommendations from well-meaning friends and family members, without asking questions about how they view and treat birth.
Are you considering a homebirth? Have you heard any of these?
Or your friends and family might ask, “What are you crazy?”
Let’s debunk the myths one by one.
Myth #1 Homebirth is dangerous.
This is a very broad statement. Dangerous compared to what? Dangerous for who? Dangerous in what way?
In this landmark study on planned homebirth you will discover that among the low risk population who plan for homebirth, there are fewer interventions and no increased risk for mother or baby.
ACOG , American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has their own opinion on the matter. Henci Goer does a great job as deciphering and comparing the 2011 and 2016 ACOG opinions.
Women who are healthy and at low risk for complications are great candidates for homebirth. To say it is dangerous for all women is simply not true.
Myth #2 Your baby is in harms’ way.
If you do your research on homebirth safety and you feel confident and safe giving birth in your home then how are you putting your baby in harms’ way?
Midwives are trained to deal with circumstances that arise when it would be best to transport to a hospital. Most of the time the reason for transport is a non-emergency reason, such as failure to progress, or maternal exhaustion.
You still get to choose a provider who is clinically skilled, trained, and has a good reputation in the community, just as in other health care decisions.
You are the one that knows your baby, and what you want.
Myth #3 Giving birth at home is illegal.
In some states it is, but not everywhere. In many states homebirth is a legal, viable option. You get to find out the laws in the state that you live in, and what your options are. It’s a shame that in today’s society in the United States, not all women have access to all options. This is not only dictated by state laws governing midwives, but also by insurance, and access to care. Sadly, it’s not an equal opportunity for all.
Can I eliminate fear of pain in childbirth for someone?
How would I support a woman whose biggest fear is she won’t be able to have a normal, physiological birth, and won’t be able to deal with the pain of labor and will want an epidural?
First off, fear is a made-up thought or sequence of thoughts that are not real. What we humans do is make-up a possible future scenario that may or may not occur. When we focus on these thoughts we attract the very thing we fear into our lives. This is the law of attraction. This cycle of focusing on made-up futures produces lots of anxiety and inner turmoil.
The key is to stay present as much as possible. This doesn’t mean you don’t reflect on the past, or plan for the future. It means that you are aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and can gain control over those. It takes some practice, and it is possible.
As my yoga teacher would say, “It’s all about the breath. It is the link between the body and the mind.”
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth