10 Ways to Prepare a Mom For a Bad Birth

1.  Treat her pregnancy like a disease and her baby like a foreign tumor-  

This will set the stage for feeling sick, hating pregnancy, and wanting it to end as soon as possible.  It will also plant the seed of doubt in her bodies ability to do something right.

2.  Test, Test, Test-

Instead of talking with her and listening to her concerns, just run expensive and invasive tests for diseases and conditions that most likely don't affect her.  This way she won't have time to tell you what is really going on like she would if she actually KNEW her care provider, and (as an extra bonus) it will fill her with anxiety about her pregnancy and birth.  Things could go wrong at ANY time.

3.  Tell her her body does not work-

It is important to do this subtly.  You don't want mom to get angry enough to run for the hills, just instill enough self doubt that she feels like she needs you.  Some good phrases: "You are measuring just a little bit large...." or "I'm concerned about your borderline test results with regard to X, I think we need to do another test...." are good examples.  (And of course, an oldie but a goodie, "You are gaining a little bit too much weight...")

4.  Do frequent vaginal exams during pregnancy-

This helps establish dominance because she is in a subservient position with you as the Alpha dog.  Also, it is uncomfortable and we all know that nobody questions anything when they have no pants on.  It is also a great time to employ #3 (ie-  "Ummm, your pelvis is quite small...")

5.  Remember, you can always find a reason to induce-

By the time the due date is fast approaching mom should be well aware of her complete inability to function without you and have a baby under her own power.  She is ripe for suggestion and now is the time to offer induction.  Also, she will be tired and uncomfortable (especially if she is focusing on #1) and she will feel like you are helping her out.  Remember, anything can be given as a reason to induce, from small baby to large baby and everything in between.

6.  Give her a due date-

So far you have been sure to treat the pregnancy and birth like a test that she is incapable of actually passing.  The due date is a perfect end to this.  It makes her more open to #5 (induction) and it reminds her that unless she does things perfectly (ie- has baby on the correct appointed day) she will not be receiving an A on her pregnancy/birth test.  How can a woman who does not have her baby when appropriate actually give birth properly?

7.  Remember, pitocin is your friend-

Now time for labor!  Now, even if mom is one of the rare ones who has her baby when she is supposed to, you can still use the pitocin to make it more painful.  And, if not, you can use it for the induction.  By now she will be practically begging you to help her get her baby out.  Pitocin serves lots of functions: 1) great for induction 2) great for making labor more painful 3) great for making her have the baby quickly and 4) great for making you feel needed.

By now mom knows that she can  not do this on her own without technology and she knows that labor is PAINFUL and HORRID.  Don't tell her that the pitocin makes it worse.  She will just be glad you are there to make it better for her.

8.  Drugs!-

She will be kneeling at the alter of modern technology and medication at this point and will be so grateful for the "experts" around her who are capable of making all the pain go away.  This is where you come in.  Only a licensed expert can dispense pain relief.  You might not be a knight on a white horse, but you have a white coat and a needle and that is good enough!  (Heaven forbid she take a natural birth class too!  She doesn't need to learn that stuff!)

9.  You can always SECTION!-

And- if all of the above doesn't work to get that baby out- don't worry- you can save the day with the expensive, quick, and invasive c-section!!!!

There are lots of benefits to this.  1) You get to save her and the baby (shh, don't tell anybody you put them in danger in the first place with 1-8) and 2) Even though you cut her open and pulled her baby out, she will be grateful you were there to take care of things!  She truly could not have done it without you.  Thank goodness she was in a hospital!

10)  Remember- the baby is ALIVE!-

Now after all of this sometimes mom will grieve that un-medicated birth (usually because they have some horrible friends who like that awful Riki Lake movie).  Now is the best time to point out that she really has no right to grieve that kind of birth loss, after all, she has a healthy baby.  This is also a subtle reminder to her that she is selfish and a bad mother.

It sounds crazy boys, but follow the above 10 rules and we will keep those ladies coming back for more!


Unknown said…
Awesome post. Dead on. I'd like to add one more (though this is more media's fault than doctors)- convince her that labor is dramatic, out-of-control, full of surprises, and seldom goes smoothly.
Shanon da Doula said…
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Shanon da Doula said…
Tell her that her waters could break at any moment, anywhere! and if they don't there is something wrong and she must have you rupture them for her so that her baby will get the idea and WANT to come out ON TIME!
TwyliteFlyer said…
That is fantastic... thanks for posting it.
Anonymous said…
If she has one of those birth plans, be sure not to read it no matter how short and sweet she makes it, because as long as you follow 1-10, she'll be ready to accept induction or c-section regardless of what it says. Just tell her you'll read it during your office hours and you can discuss it later. Oh, and do not encourage a doula. They might actually remind her that she has a birth plan, and a choice. Though they don't offer medical advice, they'll definitely make it more likely that you'll have to explain your logic and interventions. Just make sure to act like there is absolutely no time to discuss anything. The induction and c-section needs to happen today before she goes into labor on her own and threatens her baby's life because it is far too big for vaginal birth.
Anonymous said…
Excellent! Right on. And so true... If only we would take each of these points and consistently turn them around... then we'd be able to know normal, natural, blissful birth as it was intended to take place. Thank you for posting.
State of Grace said…
as an L&D nurse I completely understand your post. Its reasons like this that I have changed jobs a few times. Pitocin, IS NOT your labor friend, it can be your post partum friend if you had a large baby and seem to be loosing consciousness from blood loss, but it is possible to have a baby with out hemorrhaging! Amazingly enough your body is design to take care of this on its own if you follow the normal feeding methods and feed your baby the normal way after delivery. And that low blood sugar that NEEDED so desperately to be checked, may also be fixed by breast feeding, hmm, maybe we should let other hospitals know about this! I tend to be a little more medical about things (hello, I'm a nurse) but there are some of us out there that are willing to sit back and let your body do its job. I am very lucky to have found a hospital that doesn't just "deal" with birth plans, we actually have blank ones on our website, and we pass them out in child birth class. If our generic form doesn't cover your plan there is a whole blank page on the back. Unless you come in with the baby's head half way out, we actually read them, unlike other places I have worked. There are good hospitals out there if you decide to go that route, you just have to look for them.
And we have docs that firmly believe that unless you are having very preterm labor, there is no need for a vag exam.
The last place I worked at, I literally had to email the CEO about nurses bullying patients into epidurals, using statements like "she doesn't want one now but wait 'til that pit is maxed out". Made me want to PUKE! The place I work now uses pit as a last resort, on the rare occasions when we do need to get the baby out, but we don't ever max it out! We only use it to prevent sections or heavy bleeding in bottle feeders. We also have a c-section rate that is 1/3 the national average.
Its amazing how c-section rates decline when your policy doesn't allow for sections before 41 weeks, and the docs must provide a valid reason at that point. My old hospital would do electives at 37 weeks!!!! Can you believe that over half of those didn't delivery vaginally?
Health Care related to child birth is in a state of disaster, Thank You for speaking out!
State of Grace said…
sorry I meant "policy doesn't allow for induction before 41 weeks"
CraftyEarthMama said…
Love this!
The preparation for a bad birth starts on the first visit. All the little ways of making Mom feel uncapable, so that by the end she is exhausted and hands over all of her power.
The last one is especially poignant.
Angie said…

Would you edit for grammar, as this is quite possibly the best presentation of our typical pregnancy and birth model I have ever seen and I'd like to link/repost on the various sites I write for (will keep credits in place).
Mama Birth said…
Thanks so much for your responses-
Thank you Jackie for being a natural friendly nurse who speaks up for women-
And yes I will check for grammar-
I write often late at night or with kids climbing! My checking is usually brief if at all!
Appreciate it!
Wow! My first doc followed all of this to a T!! I was one of the lucky few who managed to have a natural birth despite the pitocin, etc, etc, etc...even at 43 weeks (and all the doctors of the practice reminding me that my baby would probably be dead since I didn't induce/section at 40 weeks).

I am totally sharing this blog post. Great work! :)

BTW...first baby was born completely healthy with an Apgar of 10. heehee ;)
Darlene said…
Sad, but so true.

As a labour and delivery nurse, I have seen quite a few doctors and hosptials who seem to almost live by these rules!

However, I'm glad to work with a wonderful hospital and wonderful staff that see birth as natural, something that mom's can do without all the unnecessary medical interventions.

Labour is a healthy woman having a baby, it is natural procedure, NOT a medical event!
Evangelia said…
loved this- so true, unfortunately :( But we can change this, one woman at a time :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Sarah,
I loved your article, do i have your permission to translate into Spanish and put it on a Facebook page I am collaborating with, called "por un parto respetado" ("for a respected birth"), and my blog too? I will obviously put your name and link to your blog!!
Thanks and congrats on your blog!

Mama Birth said…
I love to have my stuff passed on! I only ask that you give credit and a link back to my blog-
Much appreciated and thanks for sharing and reading!
(And YEA for all those good hospital nurses out there fighting the power!)
Anne said…
Serious truthiness here.
@miniMum said…
After my 2nd medical emergency C-Section, a rep from the anaesthesia department seemed a bit shocked when I said, "No, I wouldn't have the epidural sooner next time and I only had it because I was going for the C-section."

I do grieve that I never gave birth but had surgeries instead.
Anonymous said…
Great post. Also, don't forget to treat her and her baby as if they're totally separate from one another! We can't have that mama thinking that she matters more than her baby, or worse yet, that her baby might actually be affected by the way mama is treated!!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for this great post. It is so true. I am teach midwifery and it is interesting that the midwifery students can see all of this to begin with. We have 'de-briefing' tutorials and they often discuss how the system does just what you have described.
The problem is they are then sent to a workplace that judges their midwifery based on how efficiently they work, how well they can persuade women to do as they are told; how clean the room is and how good their clinical examinations are. The system does not reward midwives who provide individualised care and who encourage the women to be the experts on their body, baby and birth. I left the system because I cannot work with women who have been systematically disempowered and want me to be the 'expert' because they don't trust their own bodies.
Mo said…
I had my babies (4) with a wonderful midwife, Barbara Cook....didn't have to go through any of this stuff. I've known for years how blessed I was to have her be there for me. Had two more with a couple of other midwives....they were not *Barbara*, but we muddled through somehow!
Mama Birth said…
Thanks for the responses ladies! And midwifethinking- love that stinking blog!!!! Oh my! Thanks for reading-
Anonymous said…
Sarah, your translated article is already posted on http://uterosdeguerrilla.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/10-maneras-de-preparar-a-una-mama-para-un-mal-parto/
and also on FB -on many pages as they keep sharing it! Of course all link back to your blog etc.
Great success! Thank you so much!! :)
meredithbee said…
I've only just discovered your blog...LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Wow. Very refreshing, poignant, awesome.
And this list o'10 is just spot on.
jenmc said…
I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!! I was finally having the birth of my dreams with a mid wife and a doula when my youngest decided on an unexpected 5 week early arrival at the nearest hospital instead of hte one I chose :-( even though I went natural - out popped the stirrups and a liter of betadine, and after I had her; plug in the pitocin which I had to DEMAND to get out because it was causing me to cramp SO BAD!! Thank God for my doula who helped support my husband to stick by our decisions.
Katy said…
so spot on! god, it makes me upset. i saw midwives who practice in a large, c-section happy hospital and even though i got natural-friendly care, i still had all those tests and subtle suggestions creeping in on me (hospital tour: here is where you get your IV, here is where you recover from c-sections...)
Susanna said…
Good tips on how to prepare for a good birth from Day 1. I'll bear this in mind for passing on to friends at the start of their pregnancies! I desperately wanted a natural birth (and even when my second baby was breech I was reading up on natural breech births). But, no matter how much you want a natural birth - sometimes it just doesn't happen and it's no one's fault! Pitocin was essential when my first baby died in the womb and I had to have a stillbirth induced. Then when my second baby stopped moving too and was found to be distress, a C-Section was the only option. Left with his heart rate as it was, he would have died and inducing a natural birth may of killed him... So for me point 10 is the only important thing to remember... especially if a much-wanted natural delivery hasn't happened. Given my previous experience - I know first hand that all babies are *not* born alive and so no matter what their birth story - all Mother's should be glad if this is their end result - even if things haven't gone to plan! The alternative is truly horrific...
Unknown said…
thank for a great post. We'd love to include it in our newsletter to our 70 or so members, in South Australia, of course with credit and the link to the blog. We are a caesarean/birth after caesarean peer support group CARES SA
thanks, Michelle
Cathy said…
Great post.

Unfortunately, it describes my pregnancy and the birth of my son exactly and I'm now experiencing #10.

The surprising thing is that I was with a midwife group and STILL had this experience.
Amber said…
Wow this sounds just like my 1st pregnancy and delivery I was determined I didn't want anymore children after the awful treatment and delivery, which led me to go with a midwife with the 2nd one and wow it was such a wonderful experience. (It took 8 years to feel safe enough to get pregnant again and hope for a better pregnancy) I hope if we have another one that it goes as smoothly as my 2nd, I unfortunately just lost a fallopian tube last month so it will be harder to conceive when I'm healed from surgery. (I was 8 weeks pregnant with horrible pain and the doctor refused to do anything just said it was normal!!! Then the next day I was in the ER with massive internal bleeding and a ruptured fallopian tube and rushed into surgery. Lesson learned here is if you don't feel like something is right about a doctors decision go see a different doctor, it almost cost me my life)
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reading #1. I wonder how others feel. Has our acceptance of abortion,( not mine, but society) by dismissing its vitality, effected our views on birth and prenatal care?
nadia said…
This reminded me a lot of the movie, "The Business of Being Born." It is so true about most doctors these days. This is the reason I am choosing to go all natural! I wish that midwifes were allowed to deliver in Nevada. I'm stuck with the doctors! :(
Megan said…
I love your blog! and just got around to reading this post. I love the last part. I had planned a homebirth but ended up transferring due to being labor for over 3 days and a distressed baby. Thankfully I did not end up with a c-section but did end up with an epidural. I was so disappointed and grieved for a long time. It was so hard to have everyone telling me I should just be happy because my baby is healthy. And of course I was but that doesn't mean I can't grieve the loss of a good birth experience. I am hoping next time will go better and even though I did end up transferring I was glad I tried a home birth. They would have never let me labor for 3 days at the hospital and I am sure I would have ended up with a c-section. Thank you for all your wonderful posts!!!
Unknown said…
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this and unfortunately SO true!!!
Emma said…
I announced outright the first time I met my midwife that I would not be having any drugs during my birth as my body was more than capable. Her response was "bloody hell - yes it is. I don't get many like you!" I think this stuff is pushed into our brains before we're even pregnant sadly.
Danielle said…
Just to to put it out there, I almost exactly had the experience described in this blog post, but my experience was really positive. I definitely don't have anything against more natural methods, and had I been more educated at the time and in a community where that happens more, I probably would have looked into them. However, I think it's wrong to assume that all who have doctors, inductions, and drugs have a "bad birth". It demeans the experience, and I believe becoming a mother is awesome whatever way it happens.