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Navigating the "High Risk" label in your pregnancy and Hypnobirthing journey

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

"High risk" doesn't equate to risky. You are still in control of your journey to having a positive birth story

pregnant women in hospital with nurse
Why does being in a labour ward increase risk of intervention?

In the ever-evolving landscape of pregnancy and childbirth, it's becoming increasingly common for expectant mothers to find themselves labeled as 'high risk.' While the reasons behind this shift are multifaceted, including factors such as the trend of women starting pregnancy at an older age or with underlying health conditions, changing criteria for conditions like Gestational Diabetes, high BMI, and the rising number of c-sections for first pregnancies, one question remains at the forefront: Does being labeled 'high risk' increase the likelihood of medical intervention during childbirth?

Are labour wards the safe option?

When the 'risky' label is applied to your pregnancy, it naturally alters your approach to the impending birth. The primary focus shifts towards reducing risk, not only for the medical professionals caring for you but for you as well. This shift can give rise to feelings of anxiety about the birthing process and a strong desire to make it as safe as possible. As a result, 'high risk' pregnancies often lead to giving birth on a labour ward – a precautionary measure. However, here's where it gets intriguing: Research indicates that merely being on the labour ward elevates the likelihood of interventions such as c-sections, instrumental births, epidural use, and labour augmentation. But why does this occur in labour wards?

The environment plays a significant role. Brightly lit rooms with beeping machines and oversized beds aren't necessarily conducive to the natural birthing process. Additionally, when interventions are readily available, they tend to be utilised more frequently.

So, if you find yourself labelled as 'high risk' during your pregnancy, what steps can you take?

First and foremost, it's essential to grasp what this label genuinely means for you. The way 'risk' is portrayed can significantly impact how you perceive it. You should also seek a clear understanding of the actual odds of complications and the research that informs these statistics. Remember, you have choices, even if it initially seems that a labour ward is your only option. You can discuss your birthing place options with a consultant midwife or contemplate crafting a personalised 'out of guidelines care plan' in consultation with your healthcare team.

If a labour ward still feels like the right choice for you, don't assume that you're limited to a bed with machines. There are ways to ensure a positive experience there. Using all the tools in your Hypnobirthing kit, especially your decision making tools (Use your B.R.A.I.N) and your tools to control your environment can support you in feeling empowered, prepared and autonomous. Even if you opt for an induction or a caesarean, these can be positive choices when you feel you have chosen them, rather than them being dictated to you

pregnant hypnobirth women feeling confidnet
You have the power to choose your care

You are in control

Remember, 'high risk' doesn't equate to 'risky,' and it shouldn't stand in the way of the positive birth experience you deserve. Embrace your options and make informed choices that align with your vision for the birthing journey you truly want. Your hypnobirth experience can be both empowering and positive, regardless of the label applied to your pregnancy.

Finding your local Hypnobirth Coach

If you've been given the "High Risk" label you may need the tools and techniques from Hypnobirthing more than most. Prioritising your care and rights to choose will help you feel empowered about the journey ahead of you. Choosing a coach that gives you all the tools you need and a thorough understanding of your options will be most important to you. Your Birth Story, Hypnobirth Programmes offer a comprehensive guide, with practical tools, steeped heavily in science and evidence to equip you and your birthing partner with everything you need. Find out more here

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