Monday, June 27, 2011

Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative: Why It's Important! Step #4

To receive CIMS designation as "mother-friendly," a hospital , birth center, or home birth service must carry out the these philosophical principles by fulfilling the Ten Step of Mother-Friendly Care.

Step #4 A mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service provides the birthing woman the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.

This is so important! So many studies out there tell us that restricting a mother's movement and not allowing her to be free to feel how her body wants to be is damaging to the labor. It slows things down. It can make labor more painful, causing tension.

I want to share this article with you that I found particularly helpful.

I want to tell you the story of me second birth. I could not stand up. If I stood up the pain was excruciating! I thought to myself "this must be why women get pain meds!" I could not lie down in any position or stand up without the pain being so unbearable that I felt like I was loosing my mind. They kept trying to make me stand because I needed to use the restroom. This part of my labor seemed like it lasted for HOURS.... it may have I dunno... (You know how the labor time warp works...)

During transition sometime I shouted my code word to my husband and made him tell them I wanted an epidural. Something amazing happened though. When the anesthesiologist came my husband got in my face, eye level, and told me I could do this. He told me I didn't want the epidural and that I was ok. I believed him and in that moment clarity hit me. I did not WANT to be standing up anymore. I got back in the bed and I got on my hands and knees. I switched from then on to the hands and knees position and squatting on the bed. I can't even begin to tell you how much pain was relieved for me at that point! Soon I was pushing and I had my son. And I felt amazing!!

What would birth be like if all women we given the freedom to listen to their bodies, without pressure from their care givers. Without restraints like wonky beds, fetal monitors, or IV wires. What if these technologies were crafted FOR women in labor and could move with her? What if her comfort mattered enough to the success of the labor that her care givers listened to her?

Birth would be a lot easier for everyone, if you ask me!

For more information on the Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Initiative or to get involved please visit

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