The Pregnancy Show Presents: Learn about Support During Labor from a Midwife
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Melanie Raposo: Now, how do midwives feel about involving the whole family in the birth? I heard that's very important for midwives. Do you want to talk about that? Carolynn Prior: Well, we support a woman to have whoever she wants to have her family as she defines it. It's really up to the woman. For some families, it is not possible to have them there and only the women can make that discussion for themselves, but certainly I had births where there was everyone in the family. Their are cousins, grandparents, both sets, and it was really a big joyous event and I have also been at births where it was simply just the mom and no one else. So I think it is up to the woman to decide who she would feel comfortable having there at the birth. Sometimes, the partner wants to be there and be quite involved. Sometimes the mom does not want the partner involved because she thinks that the partner may not be as helpful as she would like. Sometimes a woman does have a partner and she has friends there. Whatever the woman chooses I am happy to support. I think one of the jobs of midwives is to recognize when the woman needs support and when she doesn't. If I have a woman and her partner working together beautifully, they don't need me. I am there to monitor the labor and to make sure that everything is staying normal and the baby is healthy and the mom is healthy, but I don't necessary need to be in that picture, doing what the partner is doing. In other times, the partner looks at me and says help, I don't know how to help her and I am happy to step in at that point and either show the partner some of the techniques or to do them myself and that is part of my job is to stay sensitive to what that woman needs. Some woman don't other woman and other people there at all and they want the labor alone and so our role is very periphery and just monitoring the baby and monitoring the mom, but not doing anything, hands on and silently leaving. Other moms are right there holding on to your shirt saying need to look in your eyes and you are going to walk me through every contraction and that's all good. Melanie Raposo: Right. Now in your opinion, are there are any benefits to having the extra support there, someone else? Carolynn Prior: Well, many woman do want somebody there, kind of full-time, and so it's impossible for someone to do that 12 hours in a row without needing a bathroom break or grabbing some water. So it is nice to able to switch off and what I found in labors, particularly in longer ones is that person A is what that person needs at the time and says "no one else touch me." She or he has the exact right way of touching me at that this moment and then four hours later she is looking and it's another person whose spirit or whose personality is meeting her needs at that point. So I think that is one of the benefits and that's one of the ways that do and can really help even there is a midwife is involved is that, sometimes it's nice to spell off. And different people have different techniques, different people may be in tune with that woman at a particular time and says I think I have got something that is really going to help in this moment and so it's always good to have that input. But as I said it is up to the woman to decide for herself who she thinks she would like to have there and make those calls and our job is support people is to fill it in.
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