Human physiology hasn't yet adapted to how we do birth in this culture. And the results are not what was expected - skyrocketing rates of surgery, excessive interventions putting both mother and baby at risk, high rates of trauma, and PTSD.
A traumatic birth changes everything. It changes how you feel about yourself, your ability to give birth, your relationships, and whom you trust. Birthing after a previous traumatic experience isn't the same as planning your first birth or birthing after a happy experience. It's fraught with tension, fear, and sometimes dread.
New choices need to be made. That might mean planning a c-section with people you know and trust at the time they will be available. It might mean changing providers, changing the planned location for the birth, or even forgoing the usual suite of maternity services or a care provider altogether.
Part of this new preparation is regaining your confidence in yourself. What happened last time wasn't what you wanted or expected and it may have challenged your confidence in your ability to make good decisions and to know what is safe and what isn't.
A family that has already experienced a traumatic birth, or a mother who has already seen too many tragedies in her life, deserves a thoughtful, sensitive, and trauma-informed education that understands that "going with the flow", "don't get tied to your birth plan", "just call them preferences", and "stay flexible" are often code words for "this will make our jobs easier". They want to know what options they have to ensure their rights and their dignity will be respected.
This childbirth education workshop is the result of over 30 years experience in working with birthing families and years of research into the science of safe birth, physiology, routines and interventions, birth trauma, PTSD, and healing after trauma.
This information-packed, science-based workshop will educate and equip you with the knowledge and the critical thinking that will build on your resilience, fuel your hope, and grow your self-empowerment as you decide what you need for your body, your baby, your family, and your future. It's one more step in building a life after trauma where you matter.
"I can’t recommend this workshop enough. It led to a life changing birth experience which gave me the control back after 2 shit show births,1 of which broke me." ~ JM
The workshop covers:
1. Is birth safe?
Maternal, fetal, and neonatal mortality dropped dramatically in the last century. You’ll discover why maternal mortality was so high to begin with. Why do mothers die today and how does prenatal care and hospital birth impact this outcome? You’ll learn what the leading cause of maternal and neonatal mortality is today and how this impacts you and the choices you make. What we know today about protecting the lives of mothers and babies is quite different than what you’ve been told. It’s about knowing what contributes to worse outcomes and taking preventive actions, problem solving, and getting the right help when warranted.
2. The science of food and supplements
“Take your vitamins for a healthy pregnancy” is a common recommendation. You’ll be surprised by what the research actually says about supplements in pregnancy. Some are good, some are benign, and some are downright dangerous. One of the most commonly prescribed supplements may actually contribute to gestational diabetes, growth restriction, and preterm birth! Healthy mothers need healthy food to grow healthy babies. You’ll learn what the science has proven to be “healthy food” and how it lessens the potential for pregnancy-related health problems.
3. Pregnancy and prenatal care
It’s widely assumed that every mother needs prenatal care by a health care professional. Pregnancy is an important time to take care of yourself. However, too much of a good thing can actually turn into something harmful. We’ll explore the research regarding prenatal care, testing, treatments, and options that point to a healthier outcome. We talk in-depth about pregnancy wellness from a research-based perspective, including community care, gestational diabetes, group B strep, low iron and anaemia, and the value of ultrasounds. You’ll discover when prenatal care becomes a risk for you and your baby and what you can do to ensure the choices you make are safe, evidence-based, and right for you. You'll learn strategies for dealing with coercion when it comes to prenatal care that doesn't match your needs.
4. Preparing for birth
Birth is a chemical process that results in a physical experience! Birth is the result of a finely tuned concert of hormones that is coordinated between the mother and baby and involves brain signals, messages from the placenta, information from the baby’s lungs and more. You’ll learn about the role of progesterone, relaxin, oxytocin, surfactants, prolactin, epinephrine, endorphins, and catecholamines. This is important information as it helps us understand how birth unfolds and to gain insight into those things that interfere with this process, thereby adding risk, and when it’s beneficial to interrupt this process to reduce risk. We talk about the tired but tried-and-true "dead baby" threat and how to deal with it.
5. Understanding oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain and is called ‘the love hormone’. This amazing hormone helps us to fall in love, trust others, calm our minds and hearts, digest our food, enjoy sex, and birth a baby. You’ll learn how it acts as a hormone and as a neuro-transmitter. Synthetic oxytocin that comes in an IV bag is chemically identical to the hormone of love that is made by our hypothalamus, but acts very differently in the human body. You’ll learn how to optimise this wonderful hormone to help it live up to the meaning of its Greek origin: “quick birth”.
6. Things to know before labour starts
Our technocratic model of birth places a great deal of significance on the cervix. What is it about this bit of tissue at the entrance to the uterus that gets medical folks wanting to check it so often? We’ll talk about the function of the cervix and what kind of information it can provide along with the research on the usefulness of that information. Those who are birthing after trauma will find this an empowering segment. We’ll also talk about the amniotic sac, amniotic fluid, and what it means when the water breaks before labour. And no discussion about birth would be complete without talking about poop. Everybody poops, including babies. What does the research say about meconium and when is it a concern? You’ll learn what you can do to lessen the potential for meconium becoming an issue.
7. Labour begins
The big moment is here. We’ll discuss the cascade of hormones that begins and completes the process of moving the baby from the womb to the waiting arms of its mother. And here we talk about all the scary things that can happen in birth and what the research says about the likelihood, the risks, the causes, strategies for prevention, and paths for solution and resolution.
8. The baby arrives
Now that baby is here, we continue to explore the ongoing chemical process that transitions the baby to breathing air, bonds mother to baby, expels the placenta, and prevents the mother from haemorrhaging. There are numerous built-in safety mechanisms for both mother and baby and understanding what these are and ensuring they are not sabotaged is one way of ensuring a safer birth experience. You’ll learn how the baby transitions from foetal respiration where the placenta does the work, to pulmonary respiration, where the lungs do the work. You will be introduced to neonatal resuscitation (only an introduction as this will not include any in-depth instructions or training). You’ll learn what the research says about the timing of cord clamping. For those who will be birthing outside a hospital, you’ll learn what the science says about safe management of the birth of the placenta as well as the role of oxytocin in preventing haemorrhage, along with other evidence-based strategies for haemorrhage prevention.
For those that choose a birth that isn't what their medical care providers would choose for themselves, we talk about medical ethics and oaths, dealing with professional/institutional hostility, threats to call CAS, violation of human and charter rights, and reporting a violation of professional ethics.
At the end of this workshop, you can expect to feel empowered, excited, equipped, and ready to make scientifically-sound choices for you and your baby. It helps to explain many of the routines and rituals of a technocratic birth that can interrupt the hormonal cascade of birth, oftentimes, contributing to the cascade of interventions. It dispels myths, particularly those that speak to the technocratic model as being the safest approach to all births. It lifts the veil and shows you what is behind the matrix. You’ll discover a process that has filled this planet with billions of people and you’ll discover what makes it safer and what puts you and your baby at risk - and how to take action to lessen those risks.
This science-based workshop provides a certificate of completion for 7 continuing education hours for doulas, childbirth educators, lactation counsellors, and other professionals upon request.
This one day in-person intensive is available for groups of 8-30 participants.
Each section is available virtually through screen sharing and interactive discussion. Contact us for availability and pricing per section.
""I can't recommend this enough!! I wouldn't have had the amazing birth I did without this workshop." ` YL
This is hosted in Kitchener, Ontario. Please contact us about hosting this in your location.
Payment plans available upon request. Receipts will be provided.
An e-transfer to info@birthtraumaontario secures your spot. Contact us if you would like more information or would like to discuss bringing this workshop to your location or are interested in virtual sessions.