Choosing your birth tribe
The world of pregnancy is BIG – in landscape and business. Finding the right experts to engage to be apart of your journey can be a daunting process.
Selecting your key practitioners should be looked upon as if you are interviewing someone for the job to be apart of your team. You wouldn’t hire someone who you don’t gel with or who isn’t a good environment fit no matter how good there credentials look right? Going through the process of finding your birth tribe is no different.
This is where you set the tone and are able start your journey in an empowered place of making choices that are going to benefit you and your growing family moving forward. You might as well get used to working this muscle, as it is going to be continuously tested as you enter motherhood.
Below are some tips & helpful information on things to consider when selecting your birth team.
The birth environment largely affects your experience during labour and birth. Feeling safe, having access to pain relief, privacy and feeling secure are all things to consider as you chose where you will have your baby and what feels best for you. It is important to know what each entails before locking any one option in as they are all different and the environment in which you birth your baby is one of the most important decisions you can make for your pregnancy and birth.
Going Private - Which means choosing a Obstetrician who will be your primary medical carer throughout your pregnancy. It is important to know the hospitals that your Obgyn practices and what facilities they have available to birth your baby for example you may want the option to have a water birth but the hospital you have chosen doesn’t have that available. You don’t want to find that out after you have outlaid the money it costs only to find out that you don’t have the options available to you that you would like. Meet with a couple of OBGYNS – they are all different and your ‘fit’ with them is key.
Unless you have hired a doula or midwife to be apart of your birth tribe, you’ll most likely have a number of midwives care for you during your labour and birth. Your OBGYN in most cases is present only for the 2nd stage of labour – which you will learn more about as your pregnancy progresses.
Public Hospital Options
Midwifery Group Care – which is governed by midwifes. This is an option for Mothers who want to birth naturally & who are classed low risk. This provides continuity of care throughout your pregnancy as you have the same midwife throughout your journey that will deliver your baby. Each midwife has a limited number of clients they take on annually to ensure they will be able to attend your birth when the time comes.
GP Shared Antenatal Care – You can have this arrangement in both the private and public hospital systems. This could be the option you choose as you have a trusted relationship with your GP, English may be your second language and your GP might speak your first language and have a better understanding of your cultural needs. GP Shared Care is more common in public hospitals and is only offered for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies. GP’s who provide this care have had additional training and qualifications.
Homebirth – Many women who homebirth enjoy being in their own home and around people who are familiar to them. You will require a private midwife and we would recommend a doula to be apart of your support team if you choose to have your baby at home. Your midwife will be your primary medical carer and will be able to perform and medically required tasks if necessary. She will bring a small oxygen tank, essential birth equipment and some medical supplies. In some cases your midwife may have a birth pool or you can hire one. www.homebirthaustralia.org
Doulas – Provide continuity of care to ensure you are supported through your pregnancy, birth and after birth. A doula is non-medical pregnancy/birth support person trained in the emotional, environmental and physical changes during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
The most commonly known type of doula is a pregnancy doula, however there are also doulas that can support you specifically as a sibling doula, family centered caesarean doula and postpartum doula. Doula’s are an essential ingredient to consider when putting your birth tribe together. The knowledge, nurturing, consistency and support that you receive for the duration of your pregnancy and birth have been proven to contribute to a positive empowered birth experience.
The other element to consider when putting your birth tribe together are the holistic practitioners that will support you in other areas of your self-care. We talk about taking care of our selves first a lot but it doesn’t always happen that way right! Becoming a mother is the biggest test for how we treat ourselves and if you can get into good habits now and know where to go for different expertise it is going to assist you in being on the front foot in addressing any road bumps that come along from a health and wellbeing perspective.
Generally holistic practitioners have a network of people they can recommend you to if they are not the right expert for you but it can take time to find reputable, trusted and specialist practitioners that you will gel with. Referral or word of mouth is always a good way to select a practitioner, as a friend wouldn’t refer you to somewhere where they wouldn’t go again themselves.
Top suggestions when selecting your team of practitioners
Check out their website to get an overview of what they do.
Go with your gut
Make a list of questions to ask them when booking to make sure you feel comfortable in your choice
Ask what the costs involved are and if they have private health fund rebates
Ask them if they see a lot of pregnant patients (you really want to be going to someone who is passionate about working in women’s health) They provide a more consultative, understanding and nurturing environment which is so nice to receive when we are carrying our bubs as it comes with its own challenges and having people on your team who want the best for you and have passion for this process will provide better results.
If you don’t feel comfortable with a treatment you are receiving always ask the practitioner to stop. This is your body and your baby – trust your instincts.
It is y
our right to always be able to change your mind. If you feel that someone in your birth tribe is not meeting your needs you can always change who you see. That goes for your primary medical carer too.
Having your baby is such a special time and you want to embrace every moment and have as best of an experience as you can. You deserve to have the people around you who are going to meet your needs and do there best to bring your wishes to fruition. As birth workers we hear more often than not that birth experiences were not what they expected and it left them taking longer to recover and process their labour. It is your right to have an empowered birth experience; I know at the end of it all you have a beautiful baby to focus on and that is now the most important thing. We can have it all and I hope that these tips help you see that this is your experience and the power lies with you to create it the way you want.