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catching your own baby

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
One of the funniest (and saddest) myths about birth is that it is difficult and dangerous for the mother to catch her own baby, and is often given as a reason for why it's historically been common for women to have birth attendants. There are two misunderstandings about birth that are the basis of this myth:

First, that the attendant would normally begin to pull the baby out before the shoulders are born (i.e., when the baby's spine is bending away from the mother's front) so that this is what the mother must do if she is "delivering" her own baby. This is, of course, ridiculous. It's true that some attendants do fool around with the baby's head before the shoulders are born, but this is not safe nor necessary. Women catching their own babies do not do this at all, so it's a non-issue.

Second, that the baby is born with the spine facing the mother. In fact, as the body is born it turns, so that the baby is facing sideways. You can see that here: http://sagefemme.blogspot.com/2007/0...-of-birth.html

As you can see, all the midwife does is break the baby's fall.

As for position, vertical is good for several reasons: it allows the pelvis to open to its widest, gravity can help to bring the baby out, blood flow to the placenta is unrestricted, etc. It also helps to evenly dilate the cervix and the pressure of the baby on the cervix can help it to dilate faster.

This is the position I gave birth in for my two UCs (and yes, that's me. Although I didn't give birth on the kitchen floor, I gave birth on a bunch of cushions and blankets on the bathroom floor. )

http://www.sparklingplanet.org/image.../catching1.jpg

And here's a proper squat, with legs spread wide and feet flat on the ground. This is much easier to hold than a "tippy-toes" squat, and the pelvic bones are arranged so that the outlet is most optimal for the smooth emergence of the baby.

http://www.sparklingplanet.org/image.../catching2.jpg

In both cases my vulva is six inches from the ground. Put a nice soft cushion there and there's no fear of the baby getting hurt from a fall, although it's easy enough as you can see to simply put one's hand underneath to break any fall.
post #2 of 74
Great post! What a beautiful video.
Wendi
post #3 of 74
How did you know that I needed this right now? Reading my mind? hehehe

This is just what I want to do this time. I want dh right there and the kids can watch if they desire (like I could keep them away! lol!) but *I* want to catch this baby. I want to be in my own little world, focusing on the task at hand and be in control of it---not have someone else "catching" the baby and me handing over my *birth power* to them. I have no problem with dh catching, I just know that I will still "let go" of that power and I don't want to do it. I want to be the one "in the know" and following my instincts, not having someone else in the way messing it up.

Thank you so much for posting this and sharing! I needed it so much right now!

Love,
~A
post #4 of 74
That's right Linda. Thanks for bringing this up!!

A mother can also safely birth her babe in a hands & knees position as well, and no one is needed to catch.

The times when I birthed in H & K position I just dropped my bum down towards the ground, & baby was deposited on a nice pile of blankets. In my last birth, I was in water, so babe floated out with no need for catching. I turned myself around & picked her up out of the water after she was fully out.
post #5 of 74
my 3 year old son and I just watched that great video - he said what's she doing - about the midwife holding the mirror for the mommy to see the baby coming - so I told him and he said - we won't need a midwife for our baby -we are UC'ing!!!!
post #6 of 74
With my last baby, I labored mostly standing, but then I knelt down and leaned on my dh who was sitting on the couch when I felt like the baby was coming. I pushed in a wide kneel until I felt the need to make more room, then I put just one leg up so that my pelvis was still wide and open. I felt much steadier in this position than squatting. I didn't want to push the baby out on hands and knees because I didn't want the baby to come out behind me. I was able to use both my hands in this position to catch the baby, and it was awesome!!

Yes, I'm also bummed that midwives don't present this as an option to women who haven't thought about it. Midwives I know and have worked with always said "and we can facilitate your husband catching the baby if you want", but never suggested the mother could actually do this herself. I was inspired by a friend who had a hospital birth, and caught her first baby herself instinctively.
post #7 of 74
That video was awesome!!! Thank you so much for posting it.
post #8 of 74
Your first picture(kneeling)is how I gave birth for both of my UC's too!

Once when explaining that I "caught" my son myself one lady said, "Wow! You must be a contortionist!" She was serious.
post #9 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
One of the funniest (and saddest) myths about birth is that it is difficult and dangerous for the mother to catch her own baby, and is often given as a reason for why it's historically been common for women to have birth attendants. There are two misunderstandings about birth that are the basis of this myth:
If you think those "are the two misunderstandings about birth that are the basis of this myth", you don't know enough idiots. Round here I bet if you started interviewing folks on the street most older folks would say THE position for birthing is flat on your back with feet in stirrups while younger folks woulds say THE position for birthing is semi-reclined with feet in stirrups. EVERYBODY knows women's arms can't catch a baby like that.

Seriously though, thank you for the links.

~BV
post #10 of 74
Thread Starter 
Yes, well, I guess I was thinking about the educated idiots. You know, the ones who get doctorates in anthropology and know very well that women mostly birthed upright up until the last couple hundred years, but still don't know enough about how a baby comes out to understand how a woman can easily catch her own baby. Seriously, I hear this argument used all the time to "prove" that midwifery is the natural default, from people who should know better.
post #11 of 74
Love this thread! After my baby's head emerged (while sitting on the toilet), I knelt down on the ground in front of me, one knee on the ground and one foot flat on the floor. I guess it's a half-squat, half-kneel. It was a very stable position, I could easily catch the baby, and it was very close to the ground. It is a serious no-brainer to catch your own baby. (Although technically it was less catching and more letting her slip out in a slippery whooosh onto a soft pile of towels with my hands around her at the same time).
post #12 of 74
I love these waterbirth pics until the "Midwife joins in". Why??? Mama was doing a wonderful job of gently bringing her baby into the world, and it's like the mw just had to jump in and *hand the baby to her*. I don't know, I wasn't there, but that's just the way it looks to me...

Anyway, great thread, and thanks for posting your own pics, fourlittlebirds!
post #13 of 74
Great thread! DH caught DS, but for my next birth, I plan on doing it.
post #14 of 74
great vid. thanks for all you do
post #15 of 74
PHP Code:
Your first picture(kneeling)is how I gave birth for both of my UCs too
Yeah, I gave birth to DD like that also. I was leaning my upper body onto a balance ball. I also was on a very thick pallete of sleeping bags and blankets. Her head and body came out with one push and she safely slid onto the thick pallette. My hands instinctively went toward her as she came out, although she really was not birthed into my hands, but onto the pallette. It definately didn't hurt her cause it was a thick pallette and she just slid right onto it. I smile everytime I think about it.
post #16 of 74
first home birth I caught the baby similar to the first position -- knees were a bit closer together and started in a much more hands and knees position with crowning then move more into that position to catch-(to be clear this was my baby/birth-not the first homebirth I attended)
at my UC full on squat, more like your second picture- but I have to say that I deeply squat knees in arm pits and the baby comes more foreward not downward -- I don't dispute the fact that women can catch their own babies absolutely women can-
post #17 of 74
But how did you do your own episiotomy??

It reminds me of what Sara Wickham says about perineal support. If women were meant to have perineal support, we'd have been born with an extra pair of hands on the inside of our thighs. She also asks for someone to point hers out as she hasn't found them yet

Great post!
post #18 of 74
Great clips/video!!

DH really really wants to catch a baby. Before we knew it was twins I was like, but I want to! Well, now we each can catch one. I'm thinking he can catch the first since my big tummy will be in the way, and then I'll catch the 2nd one.

But seriously, I did a deep wide squat with both of my other pregnancies (sprained ankle in my 1st... ouch) and it was so easy... could've caught if I wanted to.
post #19 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TXmidwife View Post
I love these waterbirth pics until the "Midwife joins in". Why??? Mama was doing a wonderful job of gently bringing her baby into the world, and it's like the mw just had to jump in and *hand the baby to her*.
Yes, that is odd, isn't it... maybe the midwife thought the mother was taking too long to bring the baby up out of the water? Hm.
post #20 of 74
maybe something was said by mom.. like help with this or hold the baby I have to move-- if you notice mom has changed position a bit- maybe she felt like she had to shift but didn't want to just let go of the baby.
I would have that feeling of not wanting to just let go of the baby into water now on land I would be able to just let go with one or both hands and feel safe because the floor is right there-
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