I often hear women express that even though they *want* to give birth freely at home, they would rather "be monitored just in case" and end up choosing a hospital, or a med-wife for their homebirth.
So, what does this allopathic monitoring actually look like? And does it really serve you?
In a normal hospital birth, being monitored looks like 30 minutes of continuous fetal monitoring by wearing a strap on your belly while laying in the bed. The strap is hooked up to the machine - the God of our culture. If you can't sit still [like a good girl] - it will take longer. This is so the machine can record your contractions and how the baby's heartbeat responds directly to them.
Often described as "making sure your baby can tolerate your labor". How insulting.
Here's the deal - even the American Academy of Obstetricians & Gynecologists recommends against electronic fetal monitoring and states that "continuous EFM has not improved birth outcomes in low-risk women". The Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada also shares that there is "no evidence to support the use of continuous fetal monitoring" for the average woman. (Side note for the "high-risk" women reading this - you probably aren't high risk.)
The circumstance where it IS warranted though, is when a woman is given Pitocin and other disturbances to her natural hormonal process. Why? Because when you disrupt the natural progression of hormones through literal hormone-blocking drugs, inducing fear/discomfort, or removing a woman from her nest, you put the baby at risk.
The *key* components of preserving a woman's natural hormonal progression (which is designed to support healthy oxygen flow to baby and protect the baby from heightened stress which causes heart decelerations) are:
🌼Remaining home, where you are most familiar & comfortable
🌼Not being/feeling watched
🌼Being surrounded only by those that deeply love you
Pitocin is the #1 cause for heart decelerations because it causes an unnatural constriction of the uterus that puts extreme stress on the baby, and completely stops the flow of oxytocin. And Pitocin is NEVER necessary.
So if you are planning to be home, without Pitocin and disturbances, why would you need to monitor your baby's heartbeat?
The other two forms of allopathic monitoring are cervical exams & doppler use for heart monitoring. These are the primary means of medical monitoring that homebirth midwives use, and are often required to use by their licensing agency.
In regards to these forms of "monitoring"...
See my previous post on cervical exams - they are 100% unnecessary, completely inaccurate, absolutely harmful, come with serious risk to you & baby, and quite frankly - they're super creepy & rape-y. There is no logical need to monitor your cervix, and it has been proven ineffective and useless. And, there is almost no escaping a cervical exam when a medical provider is present at your birth.
So we are left with doppler use. First of all, if you REALLY wanted to monitor your baby's heart rate with a doppler, you could buy one and use it at home. But here are some reasons you might not want to...
🌼It's horribly annoying in a heightened sensitivity state and feels gross - which can put your hormonal process at risk in & of itself.
🌼The US Food & Drug admin states that the effects of ultra-sound exposure are completely unknown and recommends against using ultra-sound radiation more than a few times during an entire pregnancy. Let alone once an hour during birth.
🌼Dopplers emit STRONGER ultra-sound waves than ultrasound machines, and have even less research than ultrasound machines.
🌼Studies on other mammals have shown clear evidence that ultrasound exposure damages fetal cells and leads to higher rates of miscarriage
🌼Studies on humans in China have shown statistically significant higher rates of miscarriage in women who use ultra-sound technology versus those that do not
🌼Fetoscopes are a safe alternative
🌼In an undisturbed home environment there is almost ZERO reason why your baby would ever have a heartbeat problem except for a pre-existing heart disease which can only be managed at a hospital *after* the birth, a seriously rare condition that no one has any control over.
🌼Baby's hearts are put at risk primarily by things that are done in medically managed environments
So, knowing that these are the ways a provider could "monitor you" in a medicalized birth setting, knowing their risks, knowing their trade-offs... Let me pose a question:
What if you are continuously monitored at home?
You have all the skills, abilities, and wisdom within yourself to monitor yourself throughout labor and *instantly* recognize if something is going wrong - in which case you will almost always have enough time to get to an ER.
When birth is left totally alone, you will be blessed with the *perfect* flow of catecholamine hormones which are designed for this purpose exactly: to give you the PERFECT amount of heightened awareness amidst your meditative birth state to know immediately if something is wrong, and to intuitively act in accordance.
What if you trusted that God was carefully monitoring & watching over you?
What if you knew that your baby is wise and knows exactly how to engage in the birth process - as long as they aren't disturbed with poking & prodding?
What if you trusted your body? To know that no one, no machine, needed to "monitor" you?
That your body is already perfectly designed to monitor itself?
What if the hospital / medicalized provider is *causing* the problems that "require" monitoring throughout birth? (Hint - they are!)
We wouldn't have made it this far as a species if we didn't have some ability to monitor ourselves in undisturbed childbirth. You are no different.
Exactly as you are, you can do it.
Don't sacrifice your dream birth for someone else's standard of monitoring. You don't need the continuous OR intermittent radiation. You don't need the hands in your vagina. You don't need the beeping machines or the drugs or the surgical table waiting in the next room.
You don't need any of it. Unless you set yourself up to need it.