A new approach to preparing for childbirth

When I met Maria Rivera, a physiotherapist with extensive experience, I was particularly interested in her perspective on a new approach to preparing for childbirth, the result of her research and personal experience as a mother.

Anick: a few years ago you decided to delve into the issues of pregnancy and childbirth, why?
Maria: I have two children and my first birth was what professionals would call normal. With my second child, I had the opportunity to “live” my labor – harder and more naturally. This fact radically changed my perspective as a woman, a mother and a health professional.

What would you consider to be an ideal birth?
As defined by the Childbirth association, we could say that “childbirth is a normal physiological process in which the emotional aspects are essential and must be respected. Women have the right to be consulted on interventions and receive information about their consequences and alternatives. As for the emotional, the woman should feel safe, supported and comforted.”

Tell us about your career as a physiotherapist.
After working with children and older people with neurological problems, I decided to complete my training so that I could give appropriate guidance to women during pregnancy so that they could give birth in a more “human” way, integrating the idea of respect into the process. One of the main objectives of my course is the integration of the perineum into our understanding of the body. This preparation allows the woman to be a player, and aware of the work that develops the body in these unique moments, both for herself and her baby.

What do you think should be the optimum position to develop correctly and have an easier labour?
In the upright position, on the knees, can make for an easier labour. The pregnant woman should be free to move, sit or stand. This means they needs less soothing and they can save energy in a vertical position as the baby’s weight falls directly on the cervix, accelerating expansion, and making the contractions more effective. The new mother can coordinate the breathing with the contractions and pushes better and the baby is better oxygenated.

What does this new course provide?
It prepares women to choose their form of delivery, with knowledge and without fear.

What are the benefits?
Postpartum recovery is faster, it decreases the chance of tearing the perineum thus reducing the possibility of urinary incontinence later. From a psychological standpoint, childbirth becomes an intimate experience.

Do you have anything else to add?
There is what is called a “birth plan” that should be incorporated as early as possible, where the mother expresses their preferences in relation to the care they would like to receive during childbirth.

** Mary belongs to the association “el parto es nuestro” (www.elpartoesnuestro.es) and the Spanish Association of Physiotherapy Pelviperineología.

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