At Esali Birth we believe in positive beautiful birth experiences. We believe that every mother and baby can have a positive empowering birth experience but respect our culture’s challenges that can make this difficult, which is also why we believe in the importance of perinatal (that is, complete – pregnancy through postpartum) education for this to occur. The following simplifies our stance on what we believe to be the most important aspects of the perinatal period.
Esali Birth believes in instinctual birth experiences. We believe every mother knows how to birth and if allowed to instinctually birth would take part in a beautiful and empowering experience. We believe providing knowledge to our students allows them to be removed of cultural stigmas and fear tactics placed on many of us by society. We believe in trusting birth for the normal process that it is and believe in the parent’s rights and abilities to make good decisions for their perinatal experience.
Responsibility & Education
First and foremost, we stress the importance of being responsible for your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience. We believe that because of the culture we live in, it is imperative to not only learn about the perinatal experience, but actively research information – even when provided in a classroom setting or from a trusted friend, professional, or care provider. Your education and understanding does not end with a small conversation about a topic. Only YOU can take responsibility to learn. Only YOU can research for yourself. YOU have the power to create a positive birth experience. We believe a mother should accept this wonderful gift to birth her baby with conscious choices creating the best scenario for her specific situation. Studies indicate when parents take an active role in education; they have better birth experiences and are more satisfied with their decisions and birth outcomes.
We believe that substances, emotions, and the complete prenatal experience directly affect the childbirth, postpartum, and parenting experience. Everything from type of conception (planned, un-planned, or through a course of natural or medicated family planning) to nutrition, stress, parental relationship, environment, and perspective of “traditional symptoms” of the prenatal period will affect your birth and your options for birth. We believe that nutrition is extremely important to staying low risk during pregnancy, and having a normal birth. We do not believe mothers are required to follow a specific prenatal diet, but strongly encourage understanding nutrients-related conditions throughout this period, and promote the Brewer Pregnancy Diet as a means of obtaining this understanding and an affective diet to follow.
We believe that every mother has the right to birth with the care provider of her choice. We strongly support the option of a midwifery model of care for normal births, which account for over 90% of all births, and using surgical care providers (obstetricians) for the other small percentage of high risk pregnancies. Additionally, we believe the optimal situation is created when a mother has a compatible care provider, and interviewing multiple providers is a part of the selection process. Furthermore, when selecting a low-risk provider, we also feel that it behooves the mother to interview and select a high-risk provider should that scenario arise. The provider industry works best when the skills and experience are respected, and responsible choices are made.
Birth location, somewhat more than care provider selection, will have an increased impact on your birth experience. We believe that every mother has the right to birth in a location of her choice. Home birth should be an option in every community, and we know this option to be as safe as, and often safer, than a hospital birth choice because of the reduction of unnecessary interventions. We believe the parents should research and choose the location that is most compatible with their situation and comfort level.
Ultrasounds & Prenatal Routines
We believe in the reduction of “routines” but the choice of utilizing options should the medical need arise. We strongly believe that simply because something is an option, does not conclude that it is always safe or should be used. We believe non-invasive routines can provide information without causing risks to the mother or baby; however, with any test and routine, a mother should ask herself “What will I do with the information obtained?” Furthermore, our stance on ultrasounds is that they are not an optimal choice for routine testing. They do provide risks (operating at a level approximately 10 times the frequency needed to break glass, and have the potential of reaching sound levels comparable to a subway train for the fetus). We follow ACOG’s recommendations in that ultrasounds should only be used when medically necessary (which does not include estimating an approximate birth date or determining fetal gender).
We believe that biological, otherwise known as “natural,” normal, or non-intervened vaginal, spontaneous birth is optimal. We believe options during the prenatal period, specifically nutrition and stress, directly affect the ability to birth normally. Everything from stripping the membranes, cervical ripening, induction (medical or otherwise), AROM, augmentation…etc. has a direct affect on the birth experience, the mother, and the baby. We believe mothers should have the option to birth biologically, even when they surpass an “overdue” date. We believe a positive approach to instinctive labor and birth will also affect the ability to birth biologically, including augmentation, labor positions, birth environment, support system, care provider, birth location, and many other factors. We believe that mothers should be able to choose the birth they desire after being fully informed of their options and alternatives. We also believe a birth guide (plan, wish list…etc) may help facilitate the wishes of the birthing mother, but should be utilized once her support system and birth location have been carefully chosen.
We believe in a just labor.just birth.just breathe™ experience.
We strongly support fathers being present in the birth experience, and the support of experienced professionals (doulas) for the birth experience, as long as they are promoting a positive atmosphere for the mother. We believe that a mother should be able to choose whomever she wishes to be present at her birth, including older siblings. We believe that those experiencing the birth have a direct affect on the mother, and the mother should choose only those that will promote a positive environment for her birth. Studies show that doula-attended births require less intervention, mothers request less pain medication, and parents are more satisfied with their experience. We believe the birth partner (father, or other significant other that has a close relationship to the birthing mother) has a tremendous emotional impact on the mother, even when not physically supporting the mother. The doula does not replace the father, nor does the doula replace the care provider; the doula acts as support for those individuals experiencing the birth, first and foremost the mother.
We believe the hour following birth is one of the most important times for the baby and mother and should not be interfered with unless medically indicated (no matter what type of birth the mother and baby experienced). We believe the baby should be with a parent, preferably the mother, unless medically indicated. The ability to have unrestricted bonding between the mother and baby affects uterine involution, breastfeeding, bonding, breathing, and many other vital factors in the mother and baby’s relationship, and the baby’s well-being. Cord clamping, vaccinations, circumcision, and other postpartum routines should be researched with as high regards as any other choice during this time. The postpartum period is a delicate time in a new family’s life, and positive support is important. The mother should choose wisely those that experience this postpartum time, and request support of caring friends and family that can assist with this transition. A postpartum doula can be an excellent, un-biased, option for making this transition equally beautiful and empowering. We promote the idea of a “babymoon” that allows the mother and father to bond closely with their new addition, and increases bonding and the respect and understanding of the newborn’s needs.
We believe that breastfeeding is the normal, natural, and optimal source of infant feeding for at least the first 6 months of life, and encourage extended breastfeeding until at least 2 years. We believe breastfeeding is a public health issue and that positive education and support is crucial to a mother’s successful breastfeeding experience, in this culture. We encourage attending La Leche League, and/or the MOV’s Breastfeeding Café as much as possible before, during, and after pregnancy for education and support.
We promote the WHO’s stance on infant feeding in the following order:
- Exclusive Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding w/ the Mother’s Expressed Supplements
- Exclusive Pumping
- Breastfeeding w/ Donated Expressed Supplements
- Exclusive Donated Expressed Supplements
- Breastfeeding w/ Artificial (formula) Supplements
- Artificial (Formula) Feeding
For more information on Esali Birth’s breastfeeding philosophy, visit the Breastfeeding Page.