Decision Free Birthing empowers expectant women.

Every year about 130 million women give birth, under widely different circumstances, but each with her personal thoughts, feelings, wishes and expectations concerning the birthing process. Birthing aims will vary widely, but each and every woman will be empowered if she achieves her own. The odds, however, are against her. If only because the system is not set up to help her.

The literature provides transparent substantiations that nature’s generic birthing aim is ‘a safe and non-traumatic birthing experience, maximally contributing to the well-being of the baby and the mother — both short and long term — and aiding in providing the best possible conditions for the baby to thrive in its environment’. Literature also teaches that nature is extremely likely to achieve this aim when favourable birthing conditions are in place, and that this is the case in more than 95% of all births. The only thing that nature wants from us, the one aspect that nature needs our help with, is to ensure the mother can give birth in an environment that doesn’t cause her stress.

Stress is the single most important factor impeding nature’s birthing process. Stress is what shuts birthing down, pausing the birthing process until the danger has passed, allowing the mother to flee. Stress which can be caused by fear of pain, of the unknown, of  ‘something’ happening to the baby. Stress can be caused by frequent disturbances, unfamiliar faces, strange noises, bright lights and low temperatures. Stress can be caused by being asked to make decisions when hours or labour have already exhausted you. Stress can be caused by others making decisions for you, making you feel you have no say over your own birthing experience.

The starting point is a clear description of what kind of a birthing experience the expectant mother is hoping for. Then the caregiver (e.g. midwife or doula) is to be identified who is able to help her achieve it. This caregiver is to make a birthing plan, which the expectant mother is to approve of once this birth plan is made fully transparent to her. During birthing itself any proposed action or intervention is to be substantiated  against the expectant mother’s desired birthing experience.

None of which happens in practice. Decisions are made from beginning to end, and despite the good care, the expertise, and the desire caregivers have to help expectant mothers to  feel at ease, special, wonderful and empowered, giving birth  turns into a traumatic experience for too many too easily.

Decision Free Birthing (DFB) is a method aimed at empowering expectant women in achieving their personal birthing aim. DFB is the result of applying the approach of Decision Free Solutions to the birthing process (from the earliest considerations given to birthing until mother and baby can commence to develop their routine).

DFB can help the expectant mother in achieving her personal birthing aim in the following ways:

  • By helping the expectant woman to define her personal birthing aim.
  • By helping the expectant woman to determine whether caregivers utilise their expertise to help her achieve her personal birthing aim.
  • By instructing caregivers how to optimally utilise their expertise in support of the expectant mother.
  • By helping the birthing partner understand how to actively support the expectant mother.
  • By directing new policies and protocols towards achieving the aim of the expectant mother.
  • By providing a rationale to counter the further medicalisation of the birthing process for as far as it is not in line with the expectant mother’s personal birthing aim.

You can read about DF Birthing put in practice in this case description.

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The approach of Decision Free Solutions uses four steps (DICE), five principles (TONNNO) and the role of the Decision Free Leader (DFL) to achieve this. An introduction to the approach of Decision Free Solutions is provided in a short article you will find here.

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Explaining the Fundamentals of Decision Free Solutions

The alternative to decision making is transparency.

Decisions are conclusions reached after consideration. When something needs to be considered it means it is not transparent. Create transparency and what follows are not decisions but approvals (e.g. Decision Free Management).

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Decision Free Birthing empowers expectant women.

Decision Free Solutions is a generic approach. It can be applied in any field. Decision Free Birthing is a method to empower expectant women to get the birthing experience they want. It requires changes to the practices prevalent today.

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Understanding that decisions increase risk impacts all.

Decisions are conclusions or resolutions reached after consideration. When something needs to be considered it is not transparent. When a decision is made when something isn’t transparent risk increases. With every decision it becomes less likely the aim will be achieved. How do decisions manifest themselves, what types of decision making are there? How will the approach of Decision Free Solutions avoid them?

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That decisions increase risk is not semantics, it is logic.

That decisions increase risk follows from the dictionary definition and use of logic. Few experience decisions in this way, for various obvious reasons. Many unsubstantiated choices are made based on experience or are educated guesses. We get a lot of decisions right. When the risk does occur, usually much later, we often fail to make the link with the decision. What is more, making decisions often makes us feel good. But the risk is still for real.

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Everybody can manage risk, only few can minimise it.

In every organisation there are both identified and unidentified risks. Unidentified risks occur e.g. when aims are not clearly understood, when it is unclear whether the right expertise is available, or used appropriately. All of which results in decision making. To manage identified risks is straightforward, to minimise risk you must avoid decision making. Which is what an expert does. But what does it take to become an expert?

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Decision Free Birthing empowers expectant women.

Decision Free Solutions is a generic approach. It can be applied in any field. As a demonstration of this Decision Free Birthing has been developed. DF Birthing is a method to empower expectant women to get the birthing experience they want. For this to happen today’s prevalent practices need to be changed. For example, a woman should not write her own birth plan, an expert should. Until the woman fully understands and approves it. Decision Free Birthing has been put in practice too.

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The alternative to decision making is transparency.

Decisions are conclusions or resolutions reached after consideration (the Oxford dictionary definition of ‘decision’). When something needs to be considered it means it is not transparent. Create transparency and what follows are not decisions but ‘the logical next step’. When something is transparent you don’t have to think. Transparency allows decisions to be replaced by approvals.

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