Get guidance for a holistic pregnancy experience. (Another doctor can provide the prenatal care.)
- Preparing your body for birth
- How to get good sleep
- Creating a birth plan
- Nutrition and exercise
- Finding and avoiding your problem foods
- Preparing for a joyful (not bluesy) postpartum
Natural pregnancy advocates understand something – that pregnancy, labor and birth are normal, physical experiences, not medical diseases or disasters waiting to happen.
Holistic management of pregnancies is important because our medical system has been taken over by the idea of “medicalized” birth – that birth must be managed with modern medicine. That the natural process is inadequate. That more technology is automatically better. That caesarean section is smart because it is “modern medicine”.
This leaves many doctors and hospital personnel unaware of what true natural birth looks like. For them, these “normal operating procedures” are far afield from the safe and healthy rhythms of natural birth. Undrugged, nonsurgical births are not even covered in medical schools. Most doctors have no idea what natural birth looks like or acts like, even if they are sympathetic to the idea.
This is why so many stories abound of doctors meeting with well informed mothers-to-be, and agreeing to things like a drug-free or intervention-free birth, only to leave the new mother grieving afterward, realizing the doctors’ choices were what sabotaged the birth they envisioned. It’s important to interview birth doctors and midwives.
Dr. Ginsburg’s Natural Pregnancy and Holistic Prenatal Care usually includes three visits, one during each trimester, but she does not take currently provide prenatal medical care, although she has done so and delivered many babies in years past.
Women receive support in the following areas:
- Helps you evaluate that your practitioner is really on board with natural birth, understand the medical system and be better empowered to deal with it. If necessary she can help guide you to a competent practitioner for the birth.The importance of prenatal care is large. The importance of competent guidance through the modern medical system is even greater.
- Validate and discuss your own research
Those who have done some research may already have questions that lean into the area of holistic medicine, which many doctors and midwives are not able to handle.
- Prenatal body preparation, exercise and fitness
Includes prenatal yoga poses that facilitate labor and birth, as well as other movement and exercise to make pregnancy and labor easier.
- Nutritional guidance to strengthen and enrich your pregnant body to support the baby.
- Includes prenatal vitamins / minerals, including dosages that may be customized to your situation.
- Covers foods to eat and foods to avoid.
- May uncover food sensitivities or allergies you need to be careful around.
- How to avoid the most common toxin exposures while your baby is growing within.
(And toxins are everywhere.)
- Use of herbs. In prenatal care, this usually is done with herbal teas that support pregnancy, such as ginger tea to cope with nausea.
- Getting the good sleep which is so essential.
- Avoiding insomnia.
- Other medical support. Often, other modalities are valuable for a natural pregnancy, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, prenatal massage, and other tools. Dr. Ginsburg helps find the ones important for you.Medicine and vaccines
- Often recommendations for medicine and vaccines during pregnancy, and that is often not the wisest course.
- Emotional readiness. Healing or clearing out lingering grief or other feelings, possibly resulting from previous hospital birth experiences that were traumatic.
- Preparation for breastfeeding. Especially valuable if you are a first timer or have no older, experienced woman to guide you.
- Development of a birth plan.
- Use of a doula. This is an area of support you may want to consider.
- Guidance on childbirth education classes such as Bradley, hypnobirthing, Lamaze, and other breathing techniques.
- Managing (and avoiding) obesity in pregnancy and labor.
- Preparing your home for the new baby.
- Preparing for postpartum. Tips for a joyful and peaceful postpartum experience with your new baby.
This is holistic prenatal care. A natural pregnancy should provide for all these things. To read about one woman’s experience, check out her interesting on natural pregnancy.
NOTE: Just because we link to it, does not mean Dr. Ginsburg or Healing Oceans endorses everything she says. It’s one woman’s experience and point of view.
Choosing your Birth Doctor or Midwife
- List of questions to ask in an interview.
- Useful for obstetricians, family doctors, midwives – any medical professional who delivers babies.
- This one you choose will provide prenatal care, will manage the birth, and will make choices that affect your birth process.
Choosing a birth doctor or midwife is a key step and will heavily influence many things about how your birth will proceed. Be cautious in you selection.
Not all doctors will hear your desire for a natural or drug free birth the same way. Stories abound of doctors who say they offer a natural birth, but when push comes to shove (so to speak), they show a different face, following practices that make induction and other intervention much more likely.
One merely needs t look at the alarming and increasing rate of inductions and caesarean sections to understand this idea.
Parents sometimes end up with a birth so very different than their declared desires, and a postpartum period in the hospital (for both mother and baby) so out of their control and that so violates their values. They feel betrayed and on a course that sets the stage for future health problems for both mother and baby.
Ask penetrating questions of any doctor you might use. You must be the one choosing the doctor, not your husband, not the medical system.
Think of the things you are concerned about and ask “What do you do IF such and such happens.” Get specific answers.
Based on Doctor Ginsburg’s training and experience, here are some things to ask of any birth doctor or midwife. (She can also offer referrals.)
- Ask what their “induction rate” is. The induction rate is how often the doctor uses drugs to push a woman into labor because he decides the labor has not happened soon enough. The less often he does it, the better.Labor induced by drugs is more intense and difficult for the mother, and because of this often leads to the need for other medical interventions, (because the body is not completely in its own rhythm), and these interventions seem to demand more intervention, more technology, making birth more and more complicated, and caesarean-section (c-section) more likely.
- Ask the doctor what his/her c-section rate is. The lower the better here. Compare it to the rates of midwives you interview. You want to avoid c-sections if at all possible.
- What are their indications for induction? “Indications” are rules they use to guide their choices. Not all doctors use the same rules.
- How do they handle babies that are overdue? How many weeks do they consider “overdue”? This varies, and some doctors may start counting from an earlier point.If they deem a baby is overdue (which can vary doctor to doctor), doctors usually induce labor contractions quickly and powerfully with a drug called pitocin. Natural doctors (and midwives) usually start with particular foods or gentle herbs to nudge the body into stronger labor and contractions instead of using drugs. (These often work well.)
- Do they allow food and drink during labor? This is essential to keeping the woman strong, but sometimes the doctor or hospital restrict them! Women in labor are like marathoners. They need food and drink.
- Do they allow you to get out of bed and walk around during labor, or squat or move on all fours? Can you think of anything sillier than forcing someone doing intense exercise to do them all on their back, in only a single position, even if the exercise is better done in a different position? And every woman benefits from moving around and testing different positions during labor.
- Do they routinely insert IVs in the woman? (Not a good sign.)
For contrast, here is a more conventional approach to choosing a birth doctor, which starts off by suggesting you a doctor from your health insurance network.
We disagree. Although midwives and alternative births are finally being covered by some insurance companies, keep in mind that the better doctors, especially holistic doctors that spend more time to really help you, cannot afford to be in most, or any, networks.
Make your best judgement. This decision will set the direction for a lot of what happens in the next year, such as whether your doctor leads you more to a natural birth or to a medicalized, technological, and possibly surgical birth, and the health issues that medicalized birth often produces may be with you for a very long time.
Choose the birth doctor or midwife you believe will give you the education and coaching you want. If you want to breastfeed, make sure the doctor or midwife knows this territory. If you are going to use them to coach you in this, then make sure they do it wall. Keep in mind that medical schools rarely teach anything about the physical or emotional support necessary for successful breastfeeding.
You might need to go out of network in order to find the birth doctor you want.