There are a many options for who can help you through pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Many healthy women choose to have a midwife support them during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal time.
Midwives are specialists in natural birth. They understand what helps birth flow more easily and can also diagnose if something isn’t progressing normally and can intervene or refer when needed.
There are options called ‘case load’ or ‘continuity of care’ where the woman can have the same midwife care for her through her pregnancy, birth and postpartum. There are options to hire an independent midwife that can care for you at home or hospital or birth centre.
When women have continuity of care from a known midwife they are more likely to have a natural birth, more likely to successfully breastfeed and generally feel better about their birth and postpartum.
Newborn screening is offered to all babies and involves a heel prick test and a hearing test. It is usually done when your baby is around 2 days old.
The heel prick involves pricking the baby’s heel and collecting some drops of blood on a special piece of paper. This is done to test for some rare but serious conditions like; Congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, galactosaemia, phenylketonuria and other metabolic disorders.
Early testing means that these disorders can be picked up and treated before they cause serious illness.
Obstetricians are medical doctors trained in pregnancy and birth. They are the specialists to turn to if you have risks during your pregnancy, if complications arise during birth or an intervention like vacuum, forceps or a cesarean is required.
Postpartum is the time after birth. Many cultures believe that the first forty days after birth effects a woman for the next forty years of her life and a lot of reverence should be given to the newborn mother and her needs.
Different cultures and societies have varying beliefs around postpartum care. There are some common protocols that really should be encouraged such as rest, nourishing foods and outsourcing of usual responsibilities.
Also, having guidance and support helps everyone to feel calmer and happier.
Postpartum doulas are experienced in helping families navigate the transitions that happen after birth.
Care can focus on nourishing the mother so that she can heal from birth and nurture her newborn. Postpartum doula’s often bring in traditional practices like massage and belly binding so that the mother can physically relax and heal.
They may cook delicious and nourishing foods like soups and stews as they are particularly suited for a new mothers digestion. Some doula’s have experience with breastfeeding support to assist you to get off to a good start. Other things that you can ask your doula to help with are looking after your baby while you sleep, helping around the house and providing emotional support.
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.