Scientific Birth and how to have one

Scientific Birth is birth as nature intended, without intervention.

Technological Birth relates to the interventions.

Understand both. Determine for yourself whether or not a technological aspect is right for you.

Who you birth with (care provider and non-medical support) will influence how technical your birth will be, so if a scientific birth is important to you – align your support with the less technical care providers. Midwives take a more scientific approach, generally. So choosing a midwife is a good starting point. BUT Choose Carefully.

For a scientific approach to birth and parenting, you need to take responsibility, discover your options and make informed decisions about what feels right for you.

Start with the model of care that best aligns with your goals, and then consider your preparation and support options

Models within the Australian Maternity Service:
Choosing the care provider that best aligns with your goals

Remember that none of these options exclude you from a technological birth, but you will find a scientific birth much harder once away from continuity care.

Independent Midwifery
If you are very fortunate (and it is a sad state of affairs that fortune determines the availability of this choice) you might choose a private/independent midwife. You can then have your baby at home; safe, undisturbed and supported. The continuity of care offered by an independent midwife is known to lead to better outcomes (as in less intervention and better satisfaction, as reported by the mother). An independent midwife can also be able to support you in an expected hospital birth, or if you decide to transfer from home.

Public Funded Homebirth
You may be able to access a public-funded homebirth program in a few places, but you do get what you pay for. These programs have very tight rules and strict protocols – which is actually a very technical approach. 

Midwife in a Birth Centre
The next best way to align yourself with a scientific birth is an assigned midwife in a birth centre. You will have the same midwife throughout your antenatal care and for the birth. Some antenatal care will be technical, but appointments will allow time for more personal and scientific considerations. The downside is the post-birth care. You are shunted from maternity care into postpartum without continuity. ​

Caseload Midwife
You may find a continuity care midwife program in a hospital if a birth centre is unavailable. Chances are your appointments will be short and technical. Again, post-birth, you will be shunted into postpartum without continuity. ​  

From here, you start moving into technical territory, and it will take a lot more effort on your part to have a scientific birth.

Midwife-led Team
A midwife-led team approach in a low-risk, low-intervention hospital can be scientific but will involve technological antenatal care and increases your likelihood of a technological birth. You see a random midwife at each appointment, so you may need to repeat yourself or receive inconsistent information. You will get the rostered midwife on the day of your birth, which could be great or not. 

Obstetric Care
You can expect a technological birth if you choose obstetric care for your ‘low-risk’ pregnancy. You will be supported by random midwives during your birth; your obstetrician may appear during the first stage (labour), but not in a supportive fashion. They will return in time for the birth, take over and instruct you. If you are very lucky, you will get a scientifically minded OB, or simply birth before they get a chance to interfere. This is a private option, meaning it will cost you financially.
This option is ideal for those needing or welcoming technological birth (especially caesarean). ​  It can be challenging to achieve for low-risk women hoping for a scientific birth. It is impersonal and can lead to unnecessary and unwanted interventions.

Preparation and Support options:
Taking responsibility for your experience and decision making

Create a Birth Map
The Book The Birth Map: Bolding going where no birth plan has gone before is available to download or in print, or via kindle. Join the free member area to read it online.

If you need help, I offer one-on-one zoom sessions.

The Book

Independent Childbirth Classes
The independent classes are great to attend if offered in your area. They do not provide continuity of care but inform and prepare you with techniques focusing on scientific birth.  Calmbirth and Hypnobirthing Australia are two popular options.

Breastfeeding Education
An independent breastfeeding education class or self-directed reading can help you prepare. It can be invaluable to explore breastfeeding pathways based on birth outcomes; this is an extension of your birth map and forms part of your postpartum preparation. Don’t skip this! Breastfeeding resources can be found with the Australian Breastfeeding Association, the Milk Meg and Amy Brown. Find out who your local IBCLC lactation consultant is.

Birth Doulas and Postpartum Doulas
Doulas are the modern solution to our disconnected and dispersed society. They offer continuous non-medial support, which includes informational, physical and emotional support. Different doulas will offer different services; you can find online and local support. Some doulas offer preparation only or postpartum only; others have full packages. Depending on your needs, you can engage a doula. They are an addition to your team and support your partner.

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