#45 | Q&A: Outrageous OB Comments; Pooping in Labor; Mastitis; C-Sections and Genetics; Birth Plans; Children in the Birthing Room

August 26, 2020

We are kicking off this month's Q&A with some outrageous, real-life OB comments (#shitmyobsaid) because it is all too common that women are subjected to outlandish untruths and often degrading language. There are plenty of excellent providers out there, so switch if you must!

Here's the question on almost every woman's mind: Will I poop in labor and how can I prevent this? Also, do you know the difference between infectious and inflammatory mastitis? It’s important to recognize the early warning signs and take steps to prevent it from becoming a full-blown infection. "If my mother had a C-section, does that mean I am more likely to have one as well?" No, but your paradigm for how you view birth has a big impact and your pelvic type has a small one. Is it okay to have children in the room while giving birth? We are personally proponents of including children in the birth process, but it is not for everyone, so how's a couple to make this decision? Tune in today to hear our thoughts on all these great questions from our community. 

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Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

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View Episode Transcript

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to a q&a episode. Yeah, it feelslike we haven't been here in quite a while. Yeah. Well, summertime puts us into a little bit of a time warp, I think. All right.

What have you got? Well, we have a lot of great questions that came in for this q&a. So I think we're gonna have a lot of fun with these questions today. But as we like to do before we get into the q&a, I couldn't find anything new in the news this week. However, when I was fiddling around on Instagram, I came across a hashtag called shift my ob said, Oh, I browse it for a little bit and it's got some really good stuff that I thought it might be fun to share.

Yeah, I'd love to hear some I've heard so many stories over the years. I always regretted not keeping a journal of them because they're just some of them. Some of the comments are just truly stunning.

It's It is hard to believe that these words could actually come out of a care providers mouth. But these these are real life accounts of women who had the sent to them. Okay, so Okay, let's kick it off with the first one. It reads, the vagina is not made for having babies any more than the penises. I'm speaking as the head of the OB GYN department here. The person who said does not touting their position, right? I'm speaking at the head of the department. Nice.

And I want to come across as the voice of reason.

What I mean Yeah, yep, yeah. Yep. How could that even be a rational thought?

Yeah, well, one that I've heard is this one. It's women were never meant to give birth vaginally. How do you like that? We're never meant to know we weren't designed. We're just not meant to know we were always meant to birth abdominally someone let nature know. It's been doing it all wrong.

Yeah, I mean, who are the People who think that they you know, I always have found myself wondering whether providers who speak like this because I know most providers would be outraged as we are to hear these things but I always wonder, are they that ignorant? Or are they that unethical? I would love to know which or both because either one is unacceptable.

I think it's got to be ignorant because you just like that is so idiotic to say the vagina is not made for having babies any more than the penises. I mean, come on, people.

truly unbelievable. I told you about the one where a doctor said to one of my couples when they said they wanted to do delayed cord clamping do remember this one. He said, What do you mean you want me to wait until the cord stops pulsating? It doesn't stop. If it stops, it means the baby died.

And I don't remember you ever telling me that but I mean, come on. This is a medical doctor saying that you serious? Yes, that's a true story. They left him and then another one and I think I might have told you this one too, because it's another one of the ones I always remembered and I have shared is another couple that I taught years ago, said had this similar conversation about wanting to wait until the cord stops, pulse stopped pulsating. And their doctor said to them first, the doctor said, I'm sorry, who's telling you about this? Your hypno? Who, which I loved. So, yes, oh, okay, you know, like way to try to undermine everyone else. That's mine. But they were prepared because they know that they're not taking this from they're not taking a directive from me any more than from their doctor, they actually showed up with a folder of research that they were, like, beautifully prepared, and they handed it over and they're like, Well, look, we're we're looking at all this research, it's really quite clear the benefits and the doctor started paging through their folder and going No, no, this is fine. We can do that. I just have to let you know that if I end up determining your baby got too much blood, we're gonna have to bring it down to the Nikki and drain a little excess blood out of the baby. My gosh. Oh my god, as if as if the blood didn't belong to the baby in the first place. That's unbelievable.

Like, I mean, you know, bloodletting basically. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, but like, this is this is scary, and we can laugh about it. But when you really have a couple sitting there like we all start off most of us are not midwives like you. Most of us start off having pursued some other career in our lives. And now we're sitting there pregnant for the first time looking at this quote, expert that we are interesting. And they tell us something that doesn't even sit well with our common sense. And it still is jolting. Like we still don't we were laughing like, Oh, it's absurd, but really, I don't think I would have been laughing. If I were first pregnant. Hearing this, I would have been like, why?

Right like that. Oh, wow, that might have to really happen.

Yes, it would have really scared me. So we do have to be informed. And we do have to take a greater degree of responsibility than the provider. Do you have any others that you saw?

Oh, yeah, there's a handful, but we won't read them all today. We'll save some for another tape here. And I do want to read this one because this one actually is like a provider who really thinks that he is being respectful of women and thinks that he's coming from a good place and saying this. And these words are. I put women on a pedestal, I opened doors for them. I have a lot of respect for them. In the hospital, I have to see them in certain degrading positions, see certain degrading parts of their bodies. So I try to do all I can to maintain their dignity. I have gowns specifically made that conceal all of a woman's body except the part that I absolutely have to see in order to preserve their dignity. Once I saw a woman in labor, another doctor's patient, not mine, she was crawling around on all fours. Can you even imagine? What kind of respect for women does that show?

I don't even have words for how offensive that is on every level from the first sentence of anyone who says they put women on a pedestal has to be questioned right there because women are equals. We don't believe on pedestals. And we're in a position where anyone can swipe us back down. And who was he to put someone else on a pedestal anyway, right there. That's right. And he said, You can't put on a pedestal. You cannot put me on a pedestal.

This This must have come out of like the 1100s. This reminds me of the book and reading the book I recommended to you - Pillars of the Earth. I mean, come on this. This guy thinks he's doing a service to women. Yeah, it's. Yeah, I mean, it's shocking. If he's not aware of his own sexism. He's not aware of what happened. Oh, clearly. No, not at all. It's not for us to decide what makes a woman comfortable and what makes her feel empowered. Anyway. It's up to her what she's wearing. It's up to her what position she's in. Who is he to even judge like this is degrading and this is, I'm not gonna even Yeah, nope. Nope.

So, okay, did we get some people's blood boiling this morning? Well, we hope so.

Yeah, I think so.

Here's one, this one's good because this is a little bit more lighthearted. And I'll leave us not feeling quite so outraged, disturbed and richer. When I refuse to be induced, the doctor slammed out the doors, slammed out the door, it doesn't make sense, slammed the door and said, Fine, stay pregnant forever. Ha, that would have been so funny. If I had said, let's try and see if I really will stay pregnant forever. I can make the Guinness Book of World Records.

Yep. Incredible. Incredible. I have another one I might have told you. Let's hear one couple that called me once and shared with me who they were planning to birth with and I was like, how do you how are you feeling about them? What is your intuition telling you? And she was like, you know, I'm really not sure what I think of them. She said, you know, at the last visit, the doctor said something to me about why he needs to induce his, I guess she said patients but I don't use that word. And she said that the doctor said, this is the quote. We don't like seven and eight pound babies. Here. We like five and six pound babies. But how what where does that come out this this who, you know, we are we as much as it sounds like we're blaming these unethical providers and they do exist. They're not in the majority, but they do exist. The real issue, the real change can come from us because if we sit there and take that seriously and allow that to override our own common sense, then that is why this is perpetuating. That's exactly why this keeps happening. So that bristled her she felt a little wrong about it. She said things that didn't sound right. Of course, that's not right. That's a that's like a we're talking preemie so what's happening is, I mean it five is in the neighborhood of what some preemies, boy, five and six pounds. These are those are little, little babies preterm, just like you said.

So what happens is this works because a we're uninformed and we're putting a little too much trust in an outside person, but be because women are ready to be afraid of birthing a big baby First of all, they're making decisions based on ultrasound, which is totally unreliable, but then they're going for induction, which is so much more likely to result in, in a cascade of medical intervention. And they're afraid of having a big baby and they're not being really informed and taught. Look, this isn't about the weight of your baby, that's not going to have anything to do with the ease or difficulty of your birth the way you've been led to believe. It's about fetal positioning. So you really want to help this woman help her engage in the practices to to have optimal fetal positioning, but five and six pounds. How ethical is that? Is that incredible?

I mean, I can't it's astonishing to me that a provider can get away with saying something like that. Yeah. Well, they get away with that, but that's not that that's like a violation of good care. Yes. All right.

So let's get started. Trisha. I've got the first one that came in and this one really touched me because my biggest breastfeeding challenge was mastitis myself, but listen to this. I never knew a woman could have mastitis prior Having a baby prior to breastfeeding. Did you know that?

It has it does happen. It's unusual, but it can happen. So this is the question she writes, hi, ladies. I have a history of getting mastitis prior to ever becoming pregnant. And a fear of mine is that I'll get mastitis for breastfeeding. What are some tips to help avoid mastitis? And if I get mastitis postpartum, does that mean, I'll have to stop breastfeeding? Either short term or permanently? That's the question.

Yeah. Okay. So the interesting, I don't know the exact correlation between a woman who gets mastitis pre pregnant and their chances of getting mastitis during breastfeeding, I do think there probably is a higher chance. Yes. So tips to avoid mastitis are going to be helpful. And if she gets mastitis does that mean she'll have to stop breastfeeding either short term or permanently in the answer to that is a definite No, definitely no.

In fact, stopping breastfeeding or slowing down breastfeeding is one of the reasons you can get mastitis. So you kind of want to do the opposite. And so really there's two types of mastitis. There's inflammatory mastitis and there's infectious mastitis. And inflammatory. mastitis is the kind that people most often get, which is basically from stagnant milk or click ducks. So that can happen if you're producing a lot of milk or if you maybe go if you have a really high rate of milk production and you have a period of time where you miss a feed or you go too long in between feeds for someone and messages can come on really quickly. infectious mastitis is the kind that you get when you have a break and the nipple integrity and you get an A sending infection through the nipple. That's the kind that needs to be treated with antibiotics. Either way, either one you can continue breastfeeding throughout and definitely should. If you think that you are on the verge of getting mastitis, increasing the frequency of feeding on the breast that's infected or inflamed is the is the best thing to do.

Without ignoring the other side. Well About massaging the breast or making sure you're breastfeeding in different positions to those things really work at reducing the likelihood of getting mastitis, the noninfectious kind, I wouldn't say that you have to do those things to reduce to reduce the risk of getting mastitis. But those are tips to help if you get plugged up. So the best thing that you know she can do is know the early warning signs of mastitis and intervene quickly and be aware because it is a progressive thing. Sometimes mastitis comes on really suddenly. And that's usually the infectious kind, but not always,

I totally agree with what you're saying. Because as I said, I've had it seven times between both of my babies. And the most. It's pretty, it's brutal. It's brutal. And I'm just going to say the most difficult experience by far was the first one because my husband and I had no idea what was going on. I mean, I remember like I remember, extreme tenderness in one area of my breast and then I remember I think he and I were playing a game or something. And we're hanging out together, the baby was sleeping. And I said to him, I feel like I have fever symptoms. I feel like my joints are hurting and everything. And then we checked in I had a low fever. Then a day later, it was just extreme discomfort. I went to a doctor and I remember they said, like stand in the shower, and that warm water just hit that area of the breast and the water from the shower was too painful to even touch the breast. So that was the most difficult and the last few times I got it was really pretty easy because I could see it coming on and I kind of massaged it away before it manifested.

Exactly. So that's that's probably when you had a you know, a plug doc that was causing this inflammation and you quickly resolved it by getting rid of the plug duck. Yeah, the only experience I really had with mastitis was the infectious time after my I think it was Ruby. She was about six months old and bit my nipple and it cracked and bled and then I kept feeding and you know, 48 hours later, I woke up one morning and I felt like I had to Just been struck down by lightning like it was so intense I woke up and I was like, I feel so sick, I can't even get out of bed. And I immediately had a fever over 100 new one. I started the antibiotics and after the first antibiotic, I felt the world of difference better. So that was very clearly the infectious kind, brutal, it was brutal. But I you know, I also had plugged ducks throughout in the same kind of stuff. You get those little early warning signs, your body feels a little bit achy, your breast feels a little bit tender, and you just pay attention to what's happening. feed the baby more on that side, use the hot water technique, maybe talk to a lactation consultant about plugged up massage, relieve the plug duct and you should be good to go.

Alright, what do we have next? And this is one that I think you will have fun answering. The question is, is it true if you yourself were born by C section you are more likely to have a C section. This is something my sister in law is telling by her doctor during her pregnancy, she was born through C section and did end up having an emergency c section, which could just not be coincidence, or maybe it was.

Right how nice that he warned her. Is there truth to this statement? I would love to know your thoughts. absolutely not the case. First of all, it's so hard to draw any of these conclusions in a society where in one decade like the 1960s or 70s this is Aaron rate is 4.5% and 5%. And suddenly, 30 years later this is Aaron rate is 2530 33%. We can't draw conclusions from things like that. Clearly, this is Aaron rate has gone up for societal reasons unless you go to the same doctor.

Right, right. Right. So my concern when I hear questions like this is I'm, I'm so concerned about the belief you are forming either consciously or subconsciously in your mind. And what I've said about beliefs and I recently did a mini episode a couple weeks ago on affirmations and the belief system is we don't want to think of them as good or bad. We don't want to say like, Oh, it's bad or wrong to believe that you are more likely to experience a C section. But the question is, will this serve you to have this belief? We want to say, Well, do you really want to form that belief anyway? Do you want to form that belief? No, we don't we want to reject that. But for so many women that I've worked with, they're the first woman in their family and a couple of generations who had a fantastic beautiful birth. Sometimes they've had one or two sisters who absolutely did not. And those women have more to overcome than someone in a neutral position. And I feel for them so much, because it is natural to say, well, maybe this is just how we give birth. It is not. Society has a major impact here. And the extent to which you prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, if your birth dramatically moves the trajectory of that of the outcome of that birth, it just dramatically changes the likelihood of a good birth for in by your standards.

No, and the opposite is true. Like You said if you're surrounded by sisters and friends and a mother who had a C section, and that is your your paradigm for how you see birth, then yes, maybe you are more likely to have a C section because of that influence and that belief. But it doesn't have to be that way. It's up to you to change that thought process. It's up to you to break the cycle. The only thing I will say is that there are a certain there are pelvic types that do lend themselves to more challenging verse. Not that you can't have a vaginal birth. Every pelvic type can have a vaginal birth, but it has everything to do with fetal positioning, just like you said. So if a woman and her mother both have a pelvic type that requires more optimal field positioning, and may they may have a longer labor, you really need to seek out a provider who has the patience and trust in the process to allow Longer labor or a longer pushing stage, and you really need to work on optimal fetal positioning.

Yeah, I remember one of my HypnoBirthing couples switched to my friend and mentor, Nancy Waner in Boston because they were 40 weeks. And they were told by their providers that they had too much fluid. It which was the first I had heard of that several years ago. So they ended up meeting Nancy and deciding to have a home birth with her. And Nancy said, you don't have too much fluid. This is a beautiful amount of fluid. This is just right. But after that birth, which became the first of four home births for that couple, but this was the This was there first, so she didn't know she had no idea she would end up being a mom before home birth babies there. She wasn't her first labor and it was a very long, challenging birth. They went beautifully. But I remember Nancy saying to me, she had one of the lowest pubic bones I've ever seen. And she said, if this birth had been anywhere else, it probably would have been a C section. And interestingly, that did Didn't come up as an issue in the other three births at all.

Exactly. And that was her first birth.

It was her first. And of course, Nancy would have transferred her to a hospital if she felt she had to but all along, manzi said, we can deal with this, you have to get into this position. Let's do this. Let's do that.

And the baby came through. One of the real arts of midwifery and obstetrics is actually being able to assess help imagery, or assess pelvic types. And that's one of the things that we that we learned in school. And if you do, if you are able, if you're good at that, if you're skilled at that technique, and you can sense when a woman has a more narrow pelvic type, then that should inform how you manage that birth and you should have more tolerance and patience for a longer labor or a longer pushing stage. Right. But the important thing is that you don't follow this belief that just because your mother had a C section that that is the path absolutely not have to take I mean that that's the takeaway from absolutely not right. Plus, you do get half of your genes from your father. Let's not forget that either. Just because there's no one who's giving birth, you still get half of you. But still it just doesn't hold water. The final thing I want to say about this and I'm only saying this because I always came from that point of worry and anxiety and I can imagine if I were a first time pregnant mom hearing this conversation, I would be thinking right now, oh my gosh, what if I have that type of pelvis but what if I have that I just want to say this, when you consider the fact that ima Gaskin is a world renowned midwife in Tennessee who has been practicing for over 50 years, and keeping annual statistics on their birth outcomes at the farm where they have eight 910 midwives practicing at any time. They have not seen a single year in their practice, where this is Aaron rate x reached 2%. And their aggregate says Erin rate out of thousands of women many of whom are high risk is 1.4%. That's 14 women out of 1000 in a society where it's more like 320 330 women out of 1000 to end up in surgery. So if enemy Gaskin is serving thousands of women, only 1.4% of whom had a Syrian for any reason at all, we're not talking because of the pelvis for any reason. Right? That shows you the odds, how high the odds are, that your body is just fine. So if you're walking out regardless of your public side, that's right, exactly. And by the way, those types of pelvis sees policies that are that are a little bit more narrow, or hurt shaped are much less common, much, much less common, the percentage is very small. And again, they're not a contraindication to vaginal birth, they just can make it more difficult and you need to have more patients and more time in the process and you need a more skilled provider. So yes, that's a good approach for anyone to take from the beginning anyway. Right. All right. This question says, I'm researching how to write a birth plan or if I should have one at all. Some people say I don't need one I know in my head that things I prefer slash hope, slash want for my birth? Should I make a short bullet point list to bring along in my hospital bag? Or do I need to write out an extensive plan? This way? If I forget, my husband can speak up.

I think you and I both have a lot of thoughts on this. Sure. So just to begin, I will say that, you know, there are a lot of providers who will tell you, you don't need a birth plan. They You know, there's this whole thing about the woman who has the longest birth plan, birth plan is going to be the first one to go to C section, right.

Yeah, I hate hearing that. I don't think that's a nice thing for anyone. Exactly.

It's totally it's totally not but it's very, it's very much out there. And I personally believe that a birth plan is a good idea to have and I think it also depends on work providers. So as a midwife doing home births, I don't feel that my clients need to have a very extensive birth plan. The birth plan is built as we discuss things throughout our prenatal care. And we're building the birth plan together through our conversations. So my client doesn't need a very specific birth plan because I already know from caring for her throughout the pregnancy, what her hopes, preferences and desires are. Now, if you don't have that kind of relationship with your provider, I think a written birth plan is more important. Also, I think going through the process of creating a birth plan just for your own self, even if you do have a relationship with your midwife, midwife, like I have with my clients, and you trust that they know and they're going to act in your best interest. It's still important to go through the process so that you can learn for yourself, what is important to you, and where you're where you stand very firmly on certain issues.

What do you think I'm going to say something I've never said before. I have nothing to add.

And possibly covered all that you've covered all the key points, nothing, not even a story. I Oh, well, I always have a story. I know. I mean, the key points are Yes, if you have one, keep it short to the point. It's not a matter of your husband speaking for you, because you you know, you don't need a power of attorney there. You're going to be conscious and aware and able to do that. But it's mainly that I think the key value is going through it and saying, What the heck is erythromycin, wait a second, what is it's valuable, but I think you hit the nail on the head. If you are with the right provider, it will matter more to them, or easily as much to them, that you iron out all these things and explore and research all these things during pregnancy so that you're not faced with us a whole bunch of overwhelming decisions during your labor. So I think it's an indication as to what kind of provider you're with. So I really I have nothing to add.

Awesome. Cool. All right, so on to the next one then, okay. Oh, this one is common. I don't know how we haven't seen this one before. Trisha, do all women poop during labor? I'm really afraid of this and wondering if there's anything I can do to prevent it?

Oh, gosh, okay. Well, yes, most do. And this is a big fear for women, for sure. But it's not. Well, is there anything you can do to prevent it? Maybe. I guess more importantly, though, is just to sort of like, de stigmatize it. Like, you know, it's part of the process as the baby's coming through your body. There's a lot of pressure on your bladder, there's a lot of pressure on your rectum. There's a lot of pressure on your vagina, there's, you know, things are going to come on your body. And no care provider cares whatsoever about this. It's, it's expected. It's normal, it's normal to them, and it's not something that you want to be focused on at the time. Hopefully you're just not even aware. It happens. But I will say that women they are often aware and they do comment on this. And I wish that it could just be not a big deal. But I don't know, what are your thoughts?

I just have two things to add to it. One. I've heard that when it happens, the providers address it instantly. They swipe it off the table, they clean it, they scoop it out of the water, if they're in a tub, there, it's like it's gone in a second. I've heard like, it's just no one bats an eyelash. And it's taken care of. It's not like it's just, it's not like it's just sitting there throughout your labor, or it's made a big deal like oh my god, Shiva, right.

I've always done that. No, I've also asked doulas, like, have you seen this? And they're like, yeah, it's like a non issue. So I always started stressed immediately. The second thing is, and I think this is very consoling to a lot of women who are concerned about this because it is one of those things you're like, you've got to be kidding me that this and here's this was my experience and this is many women's experience that instead Have any excretions coming out during your labor what often happens leading up to labor in early labor is that you have repeat trips to the bathroom, you keep going to the bathroom, even when you don't really have to eliminate there can often be a feeling like there's that pressure on the colon, that pressure on the bladder and you keep going to the bathroom every five minutes saying what is going on, I feel like I have to go and nothing is coming out anymore. That is your baby right there. And that means you already cleared everything out. So don't worry about it. Honestly, it's a non issue to everyone in the room. I promise you that. And and again, it may all be taken care of before you actually go into active labor.

Without getting into too much detail about this. I also will say you know when it does happen, it's a very small amount because naturally, our bodies our bodies do kind of evacuate and early labor or before labor. It's one of the signs that labor might be beginning is that like, you really cleanse out your body.

So I'm picturing the poor woman who thinks it's like a great amount.

Exactly, exactly. That's what I mean, I think that's a big fear that like they're going to have a very large bowel movement during labor. It's really not that it's very minimal. It's not a big deal to anybody. And you are so focused on the birth of your baby's head and everything else is going on with this should be the last thing that you know, you're really worried about. Please don't worry about it.

What a society we live in.

Things we worry about.

Yeah, I know.

Okay. All right. So let's get to that. Let's get to the last question. Now. What do you think? You're ready? All right. I'm ready.

This is a great question. My daughter will be almost three when the baby arrives. Do you think it's okay to have her in the room during the birth? I'm worried she may get scared see me in my discomfort.

Oh, yeah, that's a great one. This is common as well. And I had this concern because my daughter was born during a planned home birth when Alex was over four years old. I remember asking Nancy Waner, my mentor, I remember saying like, what should I do about my son? Is it okay to have him there? And she has been at thousands of births. So she's a good person to ask always at home. So the children are always there. And I'll never forget, she said to me, Cynthia, animals and children are amazing during birth. And it's true. They inherently trust birth, they haven't been taught to fear it. And I will tell you that the end of my labor with my daughter, and Trisha, you were there. The whole labor i was i was quiet. But at the end when I was birthing out my nine and a half pound girl in that 17 minute minute pushing phase, I was really loud. I couldn't help but to be loud. I was so vocal and my son was remarkably present. He was holding a cold washcloth to my forehead. And he just he didn't change one bit when I became vocal. Even after the birth A few days later I asked him about that and said then What did it look like? I was what did that seem like to you? But what do you what did it seemed like I was going through and he just shrugged and talked with me about it and I realized and I want you all to consider this. What if your three year old is watching you moving around living room furniture by yourself and you're pushing a heavy couch across the room and you go Are they going to actually get scared? Because you exerted yourself Of course not. If they watch you doing a bunch of push ups and you start getting really vocal doing that everyone's like what push ups so sorry terrible example. Now people think I sit around doing push ups you know, vocally if they were if they were to see you theoretically, doing any physical activity that week that tends to evoke sound right like yoga doesn't but weightlifting does or you know, certain exercises do. Of course they don't feel afraid. So this is really your conditioning that has you thinking that way. And the answer is no, just trust if your child is meant to be awake, if it's happening in the daytime and not at nighttime, if they're meant to be there, they will be there. But I've never heard of a case where a child has witnessed their mother in labor and felt afraid. But Trisha, you've been at birth have you had? Do you have anything to add to this? So yes, as a home birth midwife, this is a discussion that we have with all of our clients who are having subsequent children. And the first question is, do you want your child to be present or not? Some people do. Some people don't. I mean, there, there are a lot of different reasons. And we don't have to go into all that. But some people are just absolutely, they have somebody who's going to take care of the child and that's fine. If they do want to, I fully support that. And if people are on the fence, I encourage them to include their children. I think that it is a very powerful experience for children to be to be present and to be involved in even if they're not in the room at the time of birth to be in the house to be in the home and to be able to join the new member of the family. Immediately afterward is I think it actually facilitates sibling bonding. And I think it's important. So if you are willing, I say absolutely do it. If you are open to the idea of your child actually being in the room with you at the time of birth, or they just walk in, because that's often what happens. They wake up in the middle the night they hear some noises that come to see what's going on with mommy, and they're just there. It is really important to have somebody in the house to be with that child. I love the idea of children at birth, all of my children were there for the birth of their siblings, not always in the room again, but they're immediately after as soon as they woke up. The more sensitive child if you feel your child is very sensitive to your discomfort or you being in what they perceive as pain, then maybe, you know, it isn't. It isn't the right choice. But I do think it is also important that you prepare your child a little bit for what Coming if you aren't going to have them present at the birth, or they are going to be in the home just to explain, maybe show them some birth videos, I always watched birth videos with my children. This is this is what it looks like when a woman gives birth.

I did that to it so that it is normalized for them. Because even at a young age, they can already start to form these these perceptions about birth. And I think it's very special for children to be there. And I strongly encourage it.

Thank you for these great questions, everyone. We look forward to our next q&a. It's always the last Wednesday of every month. We've got some fantastic episodes coming up for you between now and our next q&a at the end of September. And Trisha Instagram, what have you got to say?

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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