The Importance of Birth Reflection & Debrief

Birth Reflection & Debrief

Even though most women having a baby will write a birth plan, very few will find that their birth goes exactly as they wanted it to. Some will find that very little on their birth plan actually happened because childbirth can be so unpredictable.

Birth can go in so many different ways. In terms of when it starts, how long it takes, where it happens and what interventions may be needed to keep mother and baby safe. Even if you have arranged an elective caesarean for medical or emotional reasons babies can still decide that they want to come earlier; as happened with two of my children.

Sometimes what happens during birth can be shocking, painful or terrifying.Some women need life saving measures during the course of their birth which can be extremely traumatic for them and their partner.

Casual remarks by health professionals can be inappropriate, offensive or just misunderstood. These comments can be remembered for years to come.Being able to discuss your birth with a health professional soon after it happens can prevent so much trauma for both you and your partner. If you understand why things happened as they did, how one thing led to another for example or what was meant by certain things that you heard it can go a long way towards acceptance and healing some of the trauma.

Understanding your birth can be especially important if it is likely to impact on any future pregnancies. For some women it can effect whether they even have another child. It is a good idea to ask for a birth debrief before you go home if the birth happened in hospital. If there isn't time to do it properly you should at least be told to how to go about arranging it.

If you get home and only then begin to realise how much you need one do get in touch with a Consultant Midwife at the hospital. If you had a homebirth do speak to your midwives during your postnatal care.

If your birth ended in medical assistance, a caesarean that was not planned or your baby required resuscitation or neonatal treatment do request a copy of your notes. This will help in the safe planning of future births but can also really help in a birth debrief. Most hospitals will run regular birth reflection clinics. Do ask!

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