Active Birth has been an incredible experience for thousands of women. Janet Balaskas, the founder of Active Birth, shares 10 things that make Active Birth great:
- First, an Active Birth means that you have freedom of movement. This means that instead of being confined to bed during labour, you are free to follow your body and choose the most comfortable positions, such as kneeling, standing and walking or sitting on a birth ball.
- When you are upright, gravity helps your baby to descend downwards into the pelvis. This softens the cervix, helps it to be absorbed upwards, encouraging dilation and may shorten labour.
- This allows more space in your pelvis so it can adjust to the shape and size of your baby’s head as it descends in labour, and open to its widest when you give birth.
- Your uterus is designed to tilt forward during contractions which makes them more efficient and less painful. Any upright position where you lean slightly forward will have this effect, for example kneeling over a ball or standing and leaning onto a wall or partner.
- There is a better blood flow to and from the uterus. The large blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart run behind the uterus. Blood flows much more easily when you lean forward a little and reduce pressure on these blood vessels.
- Better blood flow means more oxygen is carried to the baby and more of the main birth hormone oxytocin (which is also carried in the blood) to the uterus and makes it contract.
- Birth is a hormonal process. An active birth facilitates high levels of these ‘love hormones’, which make the uterus contract, gives natural pain relief throughout and help you to bond with your baby after the birth and promotes breastfeeding.
- Research demonstrates that using upright positions such as kneeling forward, makes giving birth to your baby in the final stages easier, more efficient and more comfortable.
- A spontaneous natural birth is more likely as the need for interventions for pain relief is reduced and the help of gravity reduces the need for interventions during the birth.
- An Active Birth is empowering, rewarding and pleasurable. Both you and your baby are transfused with ‘love hormones’ after the birth enabling you to welcome your baby with love and joy.
What if plans need to change?
I always say, “Have a strong intention to have an Active Birth – and keep an open mind.”
You will be doing everything you can to facilitate the most likely outcome – a spontaneous natural birth. However sometimes circumstances arise that mean that interventions are needed. In this case relax and accept the help, knowing you have done your best and made wise decisions, benefiting from the help and skills of your birth attendants.
Do you want to have an Active Birth?
Janet offers two online courses – the Active Birth Workshop in which you can learn all the essentials in one day , or Hypnobirthing for Active Birth, which includes a comprehensive introduction to Hypnobirthing and Active Birth, plus four practice sessions.