Using the Birth Without Fear Method- Agnieszka and Magnus’ Birth Story
Agnieszka, Mother & Obstetrician
My pregnancy was low risk and uncomplicated and I remained physically active. However, I was plagued by anxiety since my early pregnancy scan due to the nature of my work and experiences on the labour ward, as well as the uncertainty and lack of control that can be felt during a first pregnancy. Antenatal preparation both mental and physical was especially important to me.
I was first introduced to Birth Without Fear antenatal preparation through a local antenatal program. I read the book and it struck me as a physiologically based, reassuring and positive approach which went beyond routine antenatal classes I had attended. I had tried a hypnobirthing class which was helpful in teaching breathing techniques but I didn’t feel it empowered my partner, nor did it address my anxiety.
I took part in a Birth Without Fear antenatal session by a trained practitioner. Although it did not teach me anything I didn’t already know about the anatomical and physiological aspects of birth, it did touch on emotional and mental preparation for what is a challenging event. My partner was involved as much as possible, enabled us to practice the four tools antenatally, and brought us closer as a couple. We felt prepared no matter what the outcome.
I was augmented with syntocinon and advanced into active labour using TENs machine and Entonox. I used 3 out of the 4 tools described by the program to support and enhance our birth experience. The techniques made me feel empowered, and in control and this had a calming effect. Due to the position of our son, we were delivered by emergency caesarean section but it did not deter me from my positive labour experience. The 37 hours had been enriched by the methods we learnt and I felt I had been as relaxed and confident as I could be and did not leave hospital with feelings of trauma or regret.
Magnus (birth partner):
As a partner, I found the method very helpful. It is not entirely intuitive how to calm your partner when she feels she is unable to go on or when anxiety sets in, but the method taught me such things as the value of simple words, “yes, slow, heavy”, etc which worked remarkably well. Practicing the tools beforehand made this flow naturally during labour. We had to spend a greater part of the labour than we would have liked in a hospital setting, but knowing the importance of feeling safe and secure in familiar surroundings, we were well prepared and brought music, aromatherapy, lights and made it feel like our own room. This helped maintain the feeling of safety around us and keep anxiety at bay as much as possible. Overall, I feel that the birth would have been a much more stressful process had we not known about the Birth Without Fear method.