What would you do if your doctor suggested you yoga your way through labour instead of calling for drugs? Or if your partner offered to massage you when a contraction hit instead of passing you the gas nozzle? Before you roll your eyes and dismiss the whole natural birth thing as hippie hype, you might want to take a look at this.
A new Australian study has found women who use natural therapies, including yoga, massage and breathing techniques, have shorter labours, less medical interventions and better outcomes for their babies.
The Australian research compared 176 couples at two different Sydney public hospitals, and the dramatic differences were just published in the British Medical Journal.
One group of expectant mums attended the standard hospital childbirth education program, while the other group was shown special yoga poses to open the pelvis, breathing and massage techniques, acupressure and active partner involvement.
Improvements included a drop in epidural rates to 23 per cent for the alternative group, compared to 69 per cent in the other group, and a cut to the average length of the second stage of labour by 32 minutes – now that’s a lifetime when you’re in the delivery room.
University of Western Sydney’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine researchers also noted that in the alternative group, there were less caesareans, inductions, perineal trauma and babies requiring oxygen resuscitation at birth.
Royal Hospital for Women director of obstetrics Dr Andrew Bisits tells The Daily Telegraph this study is the first time he has seen such dramatic improvements in any birth study.
“This study proves that we can help women navigate and receive individualised care within our very busy medical systems,” Dr Bisits says.
Another study involving Australian researchers developed a new blood test that can now detect a pregnant woman’s risk of having a premature birth from 18 weeks gestation.
(via The Daily Telegraph)