I created a pregnancy game, Down the Canal – the Game of Birth for a fun way to learn about birth options. There are so many books to read and so many websites to visit, it can be overwhelming for expectant parents. How do they really know which sources are promoting the best available evidence? Down the Canal was created for easy access to the information, and to inspire further inquiry into the birth process.
The goal is for people to play the pregnancy game and learn they have more questions.
It challenges individual player to explore their own beliefs about birth. It is an inquiry into the self, as much as it is an inquiry into birth.
For over twenty five years I have been an advocate for normal birth; birth with little or no intervention when mother is healthy and has no underlying medical issues. The question that continually arises is “Why aren’t more women taking a stand for themselves in birth?” Discussions with colleagues have often led to “How can we educate women and families about all their birthing options before they choose their doctor or midwife?”
The choice of care provider is one of the first choices to make, usually within the first three months of pregnancy.
Many women choose their care provider based on recommendations from well-meaning friends and family members, without asking questions about how they view and treat birth.
Women can ask questions of a doctor or midwife to find out their philosophy on birth and how they treat certain situations. For example, she can ask her doctor how often they induce labor. They could ask what the cesarean section rate is in their practice. Women can ask their homebirth midwife how often they transport to the hospital. Answers to these and many more can guide a woman and her family in choosing the provider that is right for them.
A lot of women fear birth. This fear is what drives the choices they make, regarding their care and the care of their baby. These choices made from a place of fear may be very different from choices made from a place of power through knowledge.
It is my intention for people to play Down the Canal and gain a better understanding of the maternity care system in the United States.
With that, women and families will make informed decisions about their care during pregnancy, birth, and beyond. This will then lead to creating confident, healthy parents and babies. It will lead to a demand for normal birth, whether it takes place at home, a birth center, or in the hospital.