Millennials have more options readily available to them when having a baby than any generation of women before them. Everything from the location of the birth to pain management is in the soon-to-be-mother's control. Once on the fringe of the medical community, these alternate birth plans are very mainstream and wholly acceptable.
1. Acupuncture: The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture is finally moving into popular culture. The Mayo Clinic states the thin needles used in this centuries old practice stimulates nerves and increases blood flow which, in turn, can increase the body's natural pain killers and stimulate labor.
2. Acupressure: Similar to acupuncture, acupressure uses points along the body to stimulate the flow of energy and blood. The difference is in the method of stimulation; acupressure uses the practitioner's hands to apply pressure to the individual points. This 5,000 year old practice is often embraced by millennials looking for a different method of pain management during labor.
3. Midwife: Having a midwife oversee the entire pregnancy, labor, and birth is a popular choice for many moms. Like a doctor, a midwife is a trained medical professional. Unlike a doctor, midwifes are more in tune with the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. Furthermore, a midwife will assist the delivery in the location of the mother's choosing, from the hospital to home.
4. Doula: Many people get confused with the difference between a midwife and a doula. While a doula has to abide by many state regulations and certifications, a doula is not a medical professional. Think of a doula as a personal cheerleader. Someone who is experienced in birth and is there to cheer you on and move you forward through the process. A doula will also speak up for you and ensure that your needs are being met throughout the labor and delivery.
5. Water Birth: Initially, the idea of water birth may seem bizarre, but it is actually a very natural transition for the baby. An infant has spent the last several months floating in amniotic fluid; transitioning gently into a pool of warm water is less stressful than a traditional birth. The warm water also acts as a stress reliever for laboring mothers and may encourage the production of pain killing endorphins.
6. Home Birth: At one point in time, everyone was born at home. With the advent of modern medicine, the natural process of birth moved to sterile hospital rooms with heavy medical intervention. While this is helpful and medically necessary for many at-risk moms and babies, some millennials prefer to move the birth back home. Generally, this does not mean that your standard OB-GYN will be driving over to your house, but rather that you will be employing a midwife or a nurse-midwife to supervise the process in your home. Anyone having a healthy and low-risk pregnancy can plan to have the birth at home.
7. Hypnosis: Using hypnosis during labor and delivery is not as strange as it sounds. No one clucks like a chicken. In fact, the mom learns to place herself in a mild hypnotic state through visualization and deep breathing, much like the Lamaze method. Many women take the hypnosis route to avoid the need for pain medications during labor. While it works for some, it is important to remember that no method is fool-proof and no two labor and deliveries are the same.
For more information, contact Wooster OB-GYN Inc.