The 5 Ps to normal labour and birth

By: Kiwi Families  05-Apr-2012

Traditionally childbirth has been described as consisting of three “mechanisms”:

Powers – The forceful strength of co-ordinated contractions
Passage – The birth canal anatomy, including the size and shape of the woman’s bony pelvis, and resistance of her soft tissue
Passenger – The baby, particularly its lie and position of its head

These three “P”s are then superimposed as such, over a plotted half-century-old labour standards called the Friedman curve, to ensure “Failure to Progress” does not dictate the need for caesarean-section.

Refreshingly more recently, textbooks are finally beginning to mention the fourth “P”, termed Psyche. That is, the woman’s expectations of the birthing process, and how her anxiety can lengthen labour. It is the rather belated acknowledgement that empowered knowledgeable confidence in her own body’s ability; the positive support of caring birth assistants; a calm holistic labour room environment; and receptive approachable midwifery-obstetric healthcare staff, are collectively and fundamentally extremely influential on reducing a woman’s overwhelming fears which can negatively interfere in labour progress.

However, there is a fifth “P” which needs mention. And that is, Preparation. Yes, without doubt it is possible to prepare positively in every way feasible, and still result in a highly interventionalised labour with surgical delivery. Yes, you could “do everything right”, and it still “go all wrong” … the difference is, with preparation, it’s simply more likely, it will “go all right”.

So if you wish to improve your chances of natural birth, then – without project managing your own pregnancy to the point of stressful obsession – it’s about embracing the holistic mindset from the get-go. However, if you’re only 10 weeks pregnant and already adamant an Epidural is the only option you’ll consider, then we’d say either do so and do it guilt-free (this is your labour, and you must do what is right for you); or fully investigate the multiple other options to ensure your decisions are genuinely informed.

It’s about getting pro-active. It’s about lining up all your ducks-in-a-row to give the best chance possible of experiencing a non-interventionalised normal natural birth – knowing this too, is also actually best for your baby. It’s about knowing you did everything in your power, so later no mother-guilt need ever persist, regardless of the delivery outcome. Or, it’s about standing your ground that your perception of such preparation is bohemian mother-earth hippy claptrap, and not for you, and you’re okay with that, full-stop.

The thing you need to avoid – like the plague – is an unintended lack of preparation, resulting in enabling an aching, decaying cavity of regret to ever be able to form. It’s about protecting your spirit.

Other news and updates from Kiwi Families


Water Safety - Kiwi Families

Safekids New Zealand is the injury prevention service of Starship Children’s Health and a member of SAFE KIDS Worldwide, with the mission to reduce the incidence and severity of unintentional injuries to New Zealand’s children aged 0 – 14 years. Drowning is the second leading cause of death with preschoolers, making up 70% of childhood drownings, and 64% of hospitalisations for non-fatal drownings.


Healthy lunches - Kiwi Families

Although, if you have young children in tow, this can be hard to do as they do need feeding at regular intervals to ensure the ‘wheels do not fall off’. Food choices at lunch time should have a good balance of both protein and carbohydrate as this helps to ensure they are filling and satisfying. Young children need about 500-600ml of milk a day, so if they do get lots of milk at other times milk may not be necessary at lunch time.


How to succeed at essay writing

For nearly 20 years, in both course work and examinations, I had counselled everyone from 17-year-old ‘newbies’ to 40-year-old career changers with their essay writing. Even a short plan is better than no plan at all, and will start to give the writer a feeling that completing an essay on that topic is well within their grasp.