Sunday, 21 January 2018

From Fear To Love - Book Review

Title: From Fear To Love
Author: Red Miller
Pages: 288
Rating : 5/5

If you are pregnant and wish to read a book on pregnancy and labour, this is one book that you shouldn't miss! As the blurb in the back of the book says, this book is for pregnant mothers who wish to experience the healthiest, most joyful and nurturing birth experience possible. It helps you to identify your fears and discover the secrets they hold to empower and transform your birth experience, develop a self nurturing plan that will enhance your body’s ability to nourish and grow a healthy baby, work with your pain guides and increase your capacity to cope with the intensity of labour, minimise birth interventions, inspire your birth partner to step up and play an active role, and understand your unborn baby’s wishes to create the ultimate birth team.

The book is divided into three sections - Blossoming (Pregnancy), Opening (Labour), and A Whole New World (The Fourth Trimester/Newborn phase). The first section talks about pregnancy, building your birth team in place, trusting your intuition, self care, visualisations, affirmations, embracing fear, communicating with your baby and nutrition. The second section talks about your baby’s needs, birth interventions, stretching and preparing to open, early labour and setting the stage, labour, pain and the tools to cope, birth partners, birth and surgery. The last section deals with postpartum, using your intuition to respond to your baby’s needs, breastfeeding, newborn care, postnatal healing and working through the challenges.

In every chapter, Red Miller combines her experience and knowledge to point us to evidence based facts and guides us to make informed choices and decisions based on our body and its needs. I like how there’s a small ‘Do’ list at the end of every chapter, which summarises the important points and helps in taking note/identifying the most essential matters at every stage of pregnancy, labour and postpartum. Each chapter also has small snippets from moms/dads about their experience on something related to what Red is talking about in that chapter. While reading the book, it almost feels like Red is talking directly to you rendering a personal touch to the book and helping you to focus, analyse and put things in the right perspective.

A few chapters were definitely eye-openers to me - one of them being ‘What Does Your Baby Want?’. It visualises birth from the baby’s perspective and it gave a whole new outlook to how you see it. The chapter on Nutrition is another one of my favourites. It prompts the reader to understand and know more about the food you eat, the importance of having a balanced diet and evaluating your food intake. The book also speaks a lot about self care and self-love, something that we almost tend to forget in this biggest journey of our life, especially during the fourth trimester when we have a newborn to attend. These chapters gives you a lot of easy ‘do’ ideas to help you make time for self-love and how you can look after your healing body and process your experience of birth.

This book is definitely different from other pregnancy books - it's simple, guides you to basic facts that you need to be mindful of and will definitely help you in birthing without fear. It is sure to leave you more informed, less fearful and more confident of yourself and your body. It definitely is a must read for everyone, spouse included - irrespective of whether you are pregnant or planning for a pregnancy.

The book is available for sale in Amazon. You can also find a kindle version here.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Questions To Ask Your Doctor To Ensure A Positive Birth Experience (I) - Shyami Gomu Sathiaseelan

Every woman that has ever been pregnant can write a book on all the advice she has been given while pregnant. But when it comes to actual labor, nobody seems to have anything to say. Maybe, because like me, they too were in a lot of pain and hardly remember anything from that afterward. 
After having two babies, I realised, if I were to have one more I would know the exact questions to ask. My second birth was so different from my first because I had learnt a few things. I remember having a million and one questions to ask during my first pregnancy and while some were answered, I got more added to it. Thankfully, even though I did not ask all the right questions, my doctors and midwives, being the wonderful people that they were, worked out for me. I would suggest not being quiet and ask questions without fail.
Like they say, you have to start preparing your body before you get pregnant, same way start asking your questions before you get pregnant. Find doctors who are patient and will answer your queries. Look at their rate of C-section vs Vaginal births. Like for me, it was important to have a vaginal birth if there were no medical reasons for not having one. So I stayed put where I was and didn't go to my parent's house for my delivery.

If you have not heard by now, let me tell you, while some have an easy labor, others don't. It depends on your body and so many other things. Being prepared for it and setting your expectation levels right helps. Also, getting the right team to help you in this special moment is important.
If I had to have a baby now, I know I will definitely have a million and one questions to ask my doctor. But I would prioritize them and the most important ones for me are the ones I am going to share here.
While a lot of things are changing, there are still hospitals that do not allow partner/family in the labor room. For me, it would be the most important thing - to have someone who is calm, who will be with me and get me through those moments of pain and doubt.

As both my babies were 42 weekers and I have seen a lot of babies go beyond the EDD, it would be important for me to get a doctor that supports overdue pregnancies and not rush through. How long will the doctor let me go before they worry about inducing or going for a C-section? This goes with another question of how long will they allow me to labor before deciding to go for a C-section. My first delivery was pretty long and I am happy I was let loose and not pushed into deciding about a C-section.

Will they let me eat, shower and walk around in labor? With both my babies I was allowed to eat and was asked to walk around till the pain became consistent. For my second one, I was asked to walk from the ante-natal room to the labor room so as to get by baby down naturally. It is important for me not to be tied down by all the monitors. 
A few more important questions that I would have in mind if I were to ensure a positive birth experience would be:  
  • Whether they allow a doula to be present with me?
  • If my water breaks, would I be allowed to labor at home till I feel ready to come to the hospital? How much do they support natural labor?
  • If I were to have an emergency C-section would they be prepared to do a gentle C-section? What about pain management?
  • If they have to induce me, what methods would they use?
  • Would they do an episiotomy or can I opt to have a natural tear?
  • Can I decide on what position suits me to labor?
  • Would the doctor be open to delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin?
  • Does the doctor support breastfeeding or formula?
  • How actively or not the doctor manage the third stage of labor?
On the whole, each one of us has different questions and even if we have the same questions our priorities might vary. Hence, it is important to understand what you want, and to talk to the doctor about it so that your birth is a positive experience as it should be.     
Editor's Note:

Your birth leaves a lasting impression on you. It is imperative that you are aware of your choices that will help you make an informed decision. To ensure a positive birth experience, your decisions and choices need to be respected. This is why you should put a lot of thought and care into choosing your care provider since your care-provider plays a major role in ensuring the birth you want. 
As mentioned in the post, the list of questions will vary from each person to person based on your priorities. Hence, while drafting your set of questions, please do an introspection to understand your priorities.