I know that when you first find out that you are pregnant, thoughts often drift to baby clothes and gear, how to tell your family and boss, decorating the nursery and dreaming about all the ways your body and life will change.  But it’s never too early to start understanding your options and choices for the way you choose to give birth and to find ways to stand in your power to have a women-centered, well-respected birth of your dreams.  The state of maternity care in this country (America) is in crisis and we don’t have the luxury of turning a blind eye or burying our heads in the sand until it’s too late.  We ALL need to work together to improve birth care and birth outcomes for moms and babies.  Above all, women need to be in control of their bodies and choices, need to be listened to and respected and need to be treated with kindness.

Here’s some must check out resources:

Choices in Childbirthhttp://choicesinchildbirth.org

This organization, located in New York City, focuses on advocacy and education of birth options for the newly pregnant, those planning their birth, and outlining the postpartum period.  I highly recommend the National Guide to a Healthy Birth.  

Improving Birthhttp://improvingbirth.org

Their mission? To bring respectful, evidence-based care to childbirth.  From their website, “Evidence-based care is based on the highest quality, most current medical evidence, tailored to the individual. We believe that women can make safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.

Respectful care in childbirth acknowledges the humanity of the woman giving birth, her autonomy and her fundamental right to make decisions about her body and her baby. We believe that childbearing women, like all human beings, should be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. Respectful care is essential to minimizing emotional trauma to women at a vulnerable time in their lives.”

Evidence-Based Birth | http://evidencebasedbirth.com

This is THE go-to place to find evidence-based findings on choices in childbirth.  With an A-Z list of topics from augmentation to water birth (and new topics being researched all the time), Rebecca Dekker, a PhD prepared nurse researcher is changing the way we think about birth options one pregnant mama, birth worker, and care provider at a time.  The medical establishment is slow to change and therefore it requires YOU to ask for and initiate change, based on relevant evidence sooner, rather than later.  I highly recommend spending time reading the practice bulletins and taking them to your care provider to initiate a discussion around their practices and protocols.

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