But let's back up a moment. Who wants to give birth on the defensive, guns a blazin, ready to beat off routine interventions with sticks? Not you? Not me either.
The best way around this scenario is to foresee it! Interview your care-provider about his/her use of interventions. What is routine? An IV? Just a saline-lock? What if you don't want either, then what? Who is induced? When? For what reasons? How often are episiotomies cut? What is the policy on monitoring? Intermittent? Continuous? Internal? What about Pitocin? How many birthing moms receive augmentation of any kind?
Many places will give lip service to a birth plan, but you can tell when you ask nitty gritty questions, such as, "What is your personal Cesarean rate?" whether your provider gets defensive, or is truly supportive of the kind of birth you desire.
I cannot stress this enough. Choose a provider and birth place that will be supportive of the birth you are planning. If you want a hospital birth, find one with a 25 percent (or lower!) C-section rate, not one with a 40 percent C-section rate. The highest indicator of whether it will happen to you is how often it happens to everyone else.
It is never too late to switch providers. You want to be comfortable with someone, to trust them. If you feel like you are planning to go into your birth at war with your provider, refusing every decision they try to make for you, why did you hire them in the first place?
Now, back to those interventions. So far, I've made it sound here like they are all terrible and anyone with half a brain should say no to all of it, but the truth is, many interventions have at least some reason why they became routine in the first place. The problem I see is when people research the risks without learning about what the intervention was meant to accomplish.
My first example will be routine IV fluids. Risks include possibly inflating the baby's birth weight, not to mention discomfort at the IV site. But, they also provide tons of hydration to the birthing mom which is tres important during labor. I have seen several mothers refuse a routine IV, but then not take the necessary steps to keep themselves well nourished and hydrated. If your birth plan says you will be eating and drinking throughout your labor, then you'd better do it! I encourage moms to sip on a beverage of their choice after every single contraction.
Another intervention that can become necessary is a catheter. This is rare in a natural birth (and required in a medicated one) BUT, if you aren't getting up to regularly empty your bladder, and the baby is coming down, but your bladder is filling up, it can get dicey. It's hard to fit a baby past a giant full water balloon. If you do not have an epidural, you need to get up and pee, at least once an hour. Not peeing can cause your labor to stall and interventions to be required.
The last intervention I'm going to discuss is actually a baby one, and that is the Vitamin K shot. This shot helps prevent baby from bleeding extensively in the first week or so of life before baby makes adequate amounts of his/her own Vitamin K. Many families refuse this shot, feeling that it is unlikely that baby will be injured or bleeding within a week of the birth. But then, at the same time, if those same families are planning a circumcision, you'd better believe that shot is necessary.
When you make your choices, sometimes other choices go hand-in-hand. There's no such thing as choosing an epidural but refusing IV fluid. So do your research, make sure you truly connect with and trust your care-provider and remember, when all else fails, "I do not consent!"