Thursday, February 11, 2010
One way to describe the difference between hospital birth and out of hospital birth is high tech vs high touch. Working with my hands is one of the greatest joys of being a midwife. It's shocking to me to witness birth occur in situations where the one who delivers your precious baby, has little to no physical interaction with the mother other than to deliver the child. Sometimes all it takes is a light touch on the points of tension, shoulders, brow, fist, for a mother to realize where she is holding the tension with her contractions. From here she can work internally to dispel the tension and flow with her labor more fully. At other times a mother needs two strong hands applying counter-pressure to her sacrum with each contraction. This is hard, but essential work for her birth attendants. Mostly, laboring women just need to feel loved, supported, and understood and often the most effective way to communicate that is through touch. Naoli Vinaver is a Mexican midwife who has recently written an article in Midwifery Today about touch and midwifery care. Her description of the significance of touch in labor is poignant, "This is why touch and massage for pregnancy and birth can be especially important, as women in labor need to move a lot of energy through themselves, give themselves into a lot of energy, and allow a great many changes in their souls and bodies in order to open up to give birth." An excerpt of her article can be read here.