WHAT CAN BE DONE?
These criteria can be met in potentially any birthing situation, by sensitive caregivers and mothers who are able to take some responsibility in their own preparation. How women choose to give birth will be influenced by available support structures for doing so. Currently our prenatal care is poorly lacking in addressing the very normal emotional adjustments that occur in this period of the family life cycle. Without any sense of importance placed on it, women are not supported to integrate their childbirth experience. When childbirth has been traumatic and no one is willing to talk about it, a woman enters the postpartum period in a weakened emotional state at a time when her very identity is in flux! This makes women and their families vulnerable to postpartum depression and difficulty in the beginning stages of family development.
Emotions are physical. They effect and impact our physical and psychological well-being. When emotional factors are included as a part of routine prenatal care research has shown a decrease in complications of labor and increases in women’s self-esteem. One approach to answering the emotional needs that are present for women at this time is to provide 3-4 hours of counseling that address these specific areas. I believe the most efficient way to do this in our present society is to put an effective form of brief term prenatal counseling into standard prenatal care. Prenatal groups that are a part of the prenatal package could also be an extremely inexpensive format for some of these discussions with partners.