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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Maslow's heirarchy of needs-social needs

3. Social Needs
This has to do with our interactions with people. This includes the need for friends and belonging. It also involves our ability to give and receive love.

This is something that is very unique to each woman and should really be addressed to help a woman explored who she feels she may need at her birth. Something that is important to distinguish, is people that you like and like to have around, and people that may truly be helpful. A problem I have seen happen is that women will often invite family members or friends whom they want to share an experience with, but who are not very helpful(and sometimes hurtful) while a woman is in labor.

Some examples I've seen: a lady I took care of had some very good friends of hers whom she invited to her birth because she really loved them and wanted them to share this experience with them. This isn't necessarily bad, but during this particular birth, her friends were unsure of how to act during the birth(which was natural). This lady began noticing this and felt bad for them and became very self conscious of how she was acting and behaving. Her anxiety then increased and really made it more difficult for her to work through contractions.

In order to help in a situation like this, it might be helpful to discuss what a natural birth looks like before hand with the friends or family who are going to be there. It also may become necessary to re-evaluate the list of people you would like to invite. A good question to ask is if you feel comfortable looking and behaving your worst in front of someone.

Another key relationship is between the woman and her spouse. I have seen relationships grow quite a bit during labor. A spouse often becomes a strong hold for the woman to hold onto. I really like to encourage this, but again, not all men feel comfortable acting in this capacity. This is something that should be explored beforehand also.

A key component of the social environment is if a woman feels safe, and loved where she is at. During labor we can continually assess this to make sure these components are met. If there is tension between anyone in the room, efforts should be made to decrease it. Some people may need to leave the room, but sometimes all we have to do is give them something to do. Food can be brought in. More blankets or drinks can be helpful also. A bathtub could be started. All these things may help other people in the room feel like they are able to do something and decrease their own stress and tension.

Tension may also be coming from other healthcare providers. If there is a discussion going on that could take place outside the room, it might be prudent to have them step outside the room to finish it. If the woman is feeling unable to understand or discuss things with her chosen care provider than we could help facilitate communication. Sometimes it helps to question how much time a decision needs to be made. If there is ample time, then just allowing the woman time to digest and understand the implications of a decision might be useful to help decrease the tension.

It is also a good idea to decrease the amount of people that are coming and going from a room. A good post to look at is one I did on keeping out disturbances.

Again, every woman is going to be different and may need different people there at her birth. These needs may be different than at other times in her life. This is something that should be addressed beforehand so we can make sure that these needs are met.

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.