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Your Path to an Empowered Birth

Dein Weg zur selbstbestimmten Geburt

Photo by Rebekah Vos on Unsplash

Childbirth is one of the most intense experiences that life has to offer. It's a moment that will change you and your life forever. A moment that requires strength, courage, and dedication. A moment that encapsulates both beauty and challenge. That's why it's so crucial that this moment unfolds exactly how you envision it - in complete self-determination.

In our society, childbirth is often portrayed as a medical emergency that needs to be strictly controlled and managed. But I believe in a different truth. I believe that childbirth is a natural, powerful process that leads us women deep into the essence of our femininity. I believe that every woman has the right to shape her childbirth the way she sees fit. And I believe that we would all benefit, as individuals and as a society, from more self-determination in childbirth.

What is a self-determined birth? A self-determined birth is one where the mother actively makes decisions about her birthing process, including the place, the presence of medical personnel, pain management, and other aspects. It is based on trust in the natural childbirth process and the belief that every woman has the right and the ability to determine her own childbirth experience.

In this post, we'll show you the benefits of a self-determined birth and how you can plan for one.

Judes Baby and mother after birth Cesarean Self-determined birth

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Self-Determined Birth: What Exactly Is It?

A self-determined birth is more than just a term. It's a philosophy, an approach to life, and a strong desire for autonomy and self-determination. But what exactly does this mean in practice? Let's delve deeper into this definition.

The Right to Make Decisions

A self-determined birth means, above all, that you have the right to make decisions about your body and your birthing experience. You can decide where and how you want to give birth to your child and who should support you. Whether in a hospital, a birth center or at home; whether with medical assistance or in a natural way; whether with a doctor, a midwife, or alone - the decision is yours.

Trust in the Natural Birthing Process

A central aspect of self-determined birth is the trust in the natural birthing process. This does not mean that medical interventions are rejected outright, but rather that they are only used when they are truly necessary. It means viewing the birthing process as something natural and powerful, which should not be controlled but supported and respected.

Active Participation

A self-determined birth also means actively participating in your birth, rather than experiencing it passively. It means treating your birth as an event in which you play the leading role - not as a spectator, but as an active creator of your own story.

The Benefits of a Self-Determined Birth

A self-determined birth can have many advantages. Studies have shown that women who have self-determined births often have a more positive birthing experience and feel physically and emotionally better after giving birth. They report a higher sense of control, less fear and stress, a stronger bond with their baby, and improved self-esteem.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of a self-determined birth is that it gives you the freedom to write your own story. It allows you to forge your own path, make your own decisions, and discover your own strength. And that is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

How Do I Plan My Self-Determined Birth?

Shaping a self-determined birth is an intense and fulfilling process that requires a lot of courage, openness, and self-reflection. However, there are some steps that can help you successfully navigate this process.

Get Informed

Knowledge is power, and this is especially true when it comes to preparing for childbirth. The more you know about the childbirth process and the different options for shaping your birth, the better you can make informed decisions. Read books, attend workshops, talk to other mothers and experts. Utilize all the information sources available to you.

Consciously Choose Your Place of Birth and Birth Attendants

The place where you give birth and the people who support you can have a significant impact on your birthing experience. Whether it’s a hospital, a birth center, or a home birth; whether with a doctor, a midwife, or a doula - the choice is yours. Consider where and with whom you would feel most comfortable and secure.

Develop a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a document that outlines your desires and expectations for the birth. It can be a useful tool for communication to ensure that everyone involved - including your partner and medical staff - understands and respects your wishes and needs. Remember that a birth plan should be flexible and may change depending on how the birth progresses.

Almost one-third of all births in Germany are now cesarean sections (Source: Statistisches Bundesamt). However, the World Health Organization WHO states that a cesarean section rate of only ten percent is medically necessary (Source: Statista). Cesarean sections can save lives but should only be used in emergencies. A birth plan can help you stick to your plan during childbirth.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care

Mindfulness and self-care can help you prepare for birth and turn it into a positive experience. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques can help you connect with your body and your baby, let go of fears and worries, and build confidence in your abilities.

Continue Your Education and Seek Support

There are many resources available to help you prepare for a self-determined birth, from childbirth classes to online communities, support groups, and counseling services. Don’t hesitate to seek help and support when you need it.

Planning a self-determined birth means taking responsibility for your own well-being and that of your baby. It's a journey of empowerment, trust, and love. And it's a journey worth taking. Because at the end, the greatest gift awaits you: the experience of bringing your child into the world in your own, unique way.

Judes Baby naked black and white Self-determined birth

Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

Elements of Self-Determined Birth - What Can I Decide?

When we talk about self-determined birth, many people immediately think of choosing the place of birth or deciding for or against medical intervention. But there are many other aspects you can decide on that can greatly influence your birthing experience. Here are some of them:

Choosing the Place of Birth and Birth Team

As previously mentioned, the choice of the place of birth and the people who accompany you during the birth is an important decision. You can decide whether you want to give birth in a hospital, a birth center, or at home. You can also choose who should accompany you - whether it's a doctor, a midwife, a doula, or a loved one. Many think that giving birth outside of the hospital is risky. In fact, statistically speaking, giving birth in a birth center is just as safe as in a hospital.

Birth Positions

You can also decide in which position you would like to give birth. From movies, we are often familiar with only the supine position. However, there are many different birth positions, ranging from the traditional lying position to sitting, kneeling, or standing positions. Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Any position can be tried during birth and can affect your birthing experience in different ways.

Pain Management and Medical Interventions in Clinics

Medical interventions can be correct and necessary. However, the decision on how your birth should proceed initially rests with you. Therefore, it makes sense to be able to distinguish between necessary and optional interventions.

Medical interventions during childbirth and the rate of cesarean sections have greatly increased in recent decades. Nowadays, almost one-third of children in Germany are born by cesarean section, although the WHO considers cesareans medically necessary only in one-tenth of births. The reasons are manifold. For example, hospitals are incentivized to intervene in natural childbirth and even to prefer cesareans due to factors such as cost efficiency and often prevalent staff shortages. Additionally, clinics try to minimize their liability risks. Another reason involves intervention cascades, where an initial medical measure or intervention can trigger a series of further interventions that were not originally planned or intended (Source: Disruption of physiological labour; University of Bielefeld).

You have control over how you want to manage birthing pain and interventions. You can opt for medical pain relief such as a PDA or epidural anesthesia, or for natural pain management techniques such as breathing exercises, hypnobirthing, warmth, water, massage, and much more. As long as there is no real medical necessity, the choice of whether or not to have a medically induced labor also belongs to you.

Bonding After Birth

It is up to you to decide how the first moments and hours after birth will be designed. For example, you may wish for skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately following birth, to start breastfeeding right away, to allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before it's cut, or to perform the first cut of the umbilical cord yourself or have a loved one do it.

In particular, skin-to-skin contact can make a significant contribution to parent-child bonding in the first days and weeks. Research findings also show that skin-to-skin contact in the first hour after birth reduces post-traumatic stress in women with difficult birth experiences, lowers the risk of postnatal depression, and reduces anxieties in parents (Source: Skin-to-skin contact after birth).

Nutrition and Care of the Baby

You can make decisions regarding the nutrition and care of your baby, such as choosing between breastfeeding and bottle feeding, using cloth diapers or disposable diapers, the type of baby care, and much more.

It's important to understand that self-determined birth is not about making the "right" decisions, but those that are best for you and your baby. Every woman and every birth is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's about trusting your own intuition and finding your own path. And that is where the true power of a self-determined birth lies.

Judes Baby being diapered with inner diaper Self-determined after birth

Photo by @isabelplett

Self-Determined Even After Birth

The fact that you make decisions for yourself and your baby doesn't end with birth. You alone determine the conditions and environment in which your baby grows up. One of many decisions you have to make is choosing the right diapers. And this is where we come into play!

We at Judes have made it our mission to make diapering simple, healthy, and sustainable at the same time. To be more precise: we've developed a cloth diaper that's at least as easy to use as a disposable diaper. Our diapers are designed to perfectly fit your child's body, making them comfortable and absolutely leak-proof. Judes' system is particularly easy to use, consisting of a soft and absorbent inner diaper made of organic cotton and a waterproof cover.

But why should you choose cloth diapers?

Eco-Friendliness

Cloth diapers are reusable and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Disposable diapers are a significant environmental burden as they take hundreds of years to decompose. Here you can find an article about the sustainability of cloth diapers versus disposable diapers.

Cost Savings

Although the initial costs of cloth diapers may be higher, they can save money in the long run save money because they can be reused repeatedly. Disposable diapers are a continual expense for as long as your baby needs them.

Health and Comfort

Our cloth diapers are made from natural materials such as cotton, which are gentler on delicate baby skin. This can reduce skin irritations and diaper rash. Moreover, they allow the skin to breathe better, which can be particularly beneficial in warmer climates. Here you can read about the additional health benefits of cloth diapers.

Earlier Potty Training

Some studies suggest that children who wear cloth diapers tend to become potty trained earlier. This is because they feel the wetness more acutely, which can lead to a sooner desire to use the toilet. Here you can find a study we organized on the topic.

Do you have questions about our diapers or want to learn more? On our blog, you can find extensive information on the subject of cloth diapers. Here you can also take our quiz to find out if our diapers suit your needs and which set is right for your start.

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