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What is a Gentle Birth?

A gentle birth can be at home, in a car or in a hospital.  It can be completely unassisted, a cesarean section and anything in between.  A gentle birth is one that is gentle for the mother, baby and her birth partner.

No-one can control how a baby will be born but every mother and her birth partner can practice and prepare ways to keep themselves, their environment and the baby as calm and relaxed as possible throughout the birth.

Most women are exposed to negative messages about birth from a young age so it is completely understandable that many women face labour with a sense of fear or apprehension.  The reality is, labour can be hard work and for most women it will involve very intense sensations but amazingly, our bodies are designed to do it and it is often our minds that work against us.

Feelings of fear do not support labour.   From a survival perspective it would not make sense to deliver offspring into a threatening environment so if an animal senses any threat or fear, their ‘fight or flight’ reactions will trigger the release of adrenaline, a hormone that inhibits uterus contractions and slows down labour.  The same happens to women.  Stress and fear slow down labour.  Animals will always take themselves to a safe, quiet, dark place to give birth and women can support their labour by doing the same.  Birth Preparation Classes can help women and their birth partner identify ways they can eliminate fear and create a quiet, relaxed, gentle environment that makes them feel safe and secure throughout their labour.

This is not to say that all women will have a unassisted, unmedicalised birth if they feel relaxed and secure.  Inevitably, some women will require medical intervention to deliver their baby safely but if women and their birth partners can stay calm, flexible and remain completely tuned into their instincts they can create a gentle environment for themselves, the baby, their birth partner and the midwife so that decisions made about delivering the baby can be made with confidence and acceptance.

Gentle Cesareans in Tunbridge Wells

 

More and more doctors are now performing gentle caesareans and this video shows an example in Tunbridge Wells.  Something they don’t cover in this video but is now more regularly practiced is that after the babies head and shoulders are out the mothers tummy, they leave the baby and allow the mothers uterine contractions to deliver it fully.  This creates some compression for the baby, as they would experience through the birth canal which is so valuable to help clear fluid from baby’s lungs and prepare them for their first breath.  Gentle caesareans help create a positive birthing experience where mothers feel more involved and in control of the delivery of their baby.  Even if a cesarean is not your Plan A, B or C it’s worth having this knowledge so that you and your birth partner can be prepared and in control if it turns out to be the safest way to deliver your baby on the day.