So—What is #Optimal-Maternity-Care?

According to the systemic evidence reviews conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, Optimal Maternity Care can be distilled into six characteristics.

  • Labor begins spontaneously.
  • Women have freedom of movement during labor.
  • Interventions are medically justified rather than routine.
  • Women have continuous emotional and physical support.
  • Pushing occurs in any position but flat on the back.
  • Mother and baby are not separated.

Given simplistic nature of these characteristics, and the fact that this list has been in place for eleven years now—why are women still not receiving this type of care? Why are they not demanding it? Why are they settling?

The “bitter pill” to swallow is that if you want Optimal Maternity Care for yourself then you need to do as Jennifer Block instructed either find the right provider or start demanding better practices from the one you’ve got.

Yoga presents a third option—-you do it for yourself. Use the options, approaches and the information you will find in these pages.

The Yoga Sutras advise one to stop looking to the outside for relief from suffering and find your own relief inside yourself.

That’s the prescription so here’s the medicine:

  • you must say no to offers of early induction when offered for non-medical reasons and for non-valid "medical" reasons
  • you must get up and move UNLESS it is your choice to rest periodically
  • you must know the difference between medically justified and routine for a wide variety of interventions, then YOU determine what is the best course.
  • you hire a doula, train your birth partner, assemble your team
  • you flat out refuse to go flat on your back UNLESS it is by your choice for pushing and you are prepared to accept the consequences
  • you begin immediate skin to skin contact with your baby for the very minimum of one hour after birth, immediately beginning to breastfeed UNLESS you or your baby require immediate medically justified intervention.

Not easily accomplished but the benefits to you and your baby are enormous. Let’s get started.

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