There are few things that intrude upon my mind like the misinformation given to pregnant people that does nothing more than undermine their confidence to birth their baby.
Several times now I’ve been left scratching my head after visits with clients and hearing updates about their visits with their care providers. When they are faced with a new circumstance or “complication” I am quick to dive into the books and research to best understand what my client could be facing. More often than not I find that their fears have been inflamed by convenient mistruths and sometimes flat-out lies. It’s like doing a sound-check before a Big Show…Is she listening?
So let’s talk anatomy for a moment… We have a pelvis (bone) and a vaginal canal (soft tissue) right?
We know that an infant’s skull bones are unfused and able to overlap, as well as soft and moldable yes?
We know that said pelvis is mobile and expandable (15%-18%!) unless there has been previous injury or medical complications.
Got it? Okay good, pretty easy stuff.
Please stop telling Women they have a “narrow vaginal canal” during a prenatal pelvic assessment.
Pelvic assessments are not predictors of vaginal birth success. Telling a Woman that her vagina is narrow and that she may have a difficult vaginal birth is absolutely absurd. The walls of the vagina have microfolds and is meant to expand and accommodate. Telling someone this about their body is like greasing the pan for an induction of labor. Once you throw in the inaccuracy of ultrasounds at guestimating fetal weight during late pregnancy (hello “big” baby) the stage has been set for a cascade of interventions.
It is so important to remember that our Care Providers have the ability to enhance our confidence or undermine it. We don’t need hands in our vaginas to get our babies out…and quite often it inhibits the process, even during pregnancy. Trust your body, trust your baby, trust in birth…and holy-hell runaway if you are told you have a “small” vagina, and seek another provider.