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8 Reasons to Catch Your Own Baby

During birth, when your baby crowns - reach down to welcome them. You won't regret it.

By Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)Published about a year ago 4 min read
Image credit: @amyphilpphotography on Instagram

Reaching down to touch your baby's head

If the thought of catching your own baby is a little daunting, consider instead just reaching down to feel their head. This is a wonderful moment, and you'll be poised to catch them if that feels right. (In water, it's effortless!)

When the time comes, just reach down, stroke their hair (if they have any). (Are you getting a lot of heartburn?) Maybe you will feel a little ear, or a squishy nose. See how you feel in that moment. Perhaps they will be born into your own hands, or you might prefer your midwife or your partner to do the actual catch.

I know some feel squeamish about this. I get it - I was too! But please believe me, it is so beneficial! I don't know any mother who tried this and didn't love the unique moment, even if she felt hesitant about it ahead of time.

I rarely advise women. I give you information, not advice. But for this, I do advise you. I urge you in the strongest terms to try this if you possibly can. I cannot overstate how much it helps. Circumstances don't always allow for it, but if they do, you are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity. Please don't waste it!

Here are 8 reasons to catch your baby - or at the very least, reach down to welcome them as they emerge:

1. It feels utterly weird and incredible to touch your baby as they hover between worlds. I can't describe it, you just have to experience it for yourself! You will remember it all your life, I promise you.

2. At the end of labour, if you feel tired (quite possible!) this will give you an amazing lift, a boost of energy. You will go from "heck, I am not sure I can do this", to "I AM DOING THIS!!! I am so close! I am nearly there! YESSSS!!" You will be flooded with a sense of strength and capability at a really crucial time.

3. You will be able to shield sensitive areas and support your own tissues as they stretch to accommodate your baby.

4. Every woman I have seen try this, has (without prompting) released any tension they may have been holding prior to that point. They melt open even more easily - often, the rest of the baby follows so, so smoothly, like a baby-shaped pat of butter.

5. Your baby recognises your touch. They recognise it during pregnancy. I don't know how, but they do. They also recognise it during birth. How wonderful, then, for your baby, if YOUR touch is the first they feel? That the one they already know, the one they are living to meet... is the one to welcome them, to reassure them that you love them - and you are waiting to scoop them into your arms?

6. This is only anecdotal, but of the women I know who tried this, almost all needed no stitches. I believe even the simple act of reaching down to say "hi" to your baby can massively reduce the chance of tears and significant tears. It should be discussed with all women antenatally, and everyone should be supported or reminded to do this if they choose it.

7. I do not know of a single woman regretted it. When I hear them tell and re-tell the tale of their baby's emergence, this detail is always included. Their faces light up and their eyes shine at the memory. It has a terrific impact on how they feel about it. They are more likely to feel happy and satisfied afterwards.

8. The act of catching your own baby is empowering in the truest sense of the world. Women say things like, "and then I caught him myself..." or "She was born into my own hands..." They feel capable and strong at a time when many feel vulnerable, overwhelmed or even traumatised. This feeling is no small thing - it is a significant asset to begin motherhood that way. When you have a new little person to care for. When your hormones are probably playing silly buggers. When your mental health is likely to be a little wobbly.

Positioning

If you'd like to catch your own baby, you're best in an upright position rather than leaning back. Practise some positioning antenatally. Visualise the moment your baby emerges, and imagine lifting them to your chest. What position are you in when this plays out in your own mind? Antenatal classes are a very good way to practise.

Dad

If you're not ready to bring your baby to your chest straight away, that's OK. It's normal. Giving birth is monumental, and it's typical to feel a little overwhelm or shock for a moment. If your baby's father is going to be present, how does he feel about Catching instead?

It's becoming quite popular for dads to cut the cord, but the cord is quite... well, gristly and tough. It isn't like snipping a ribbon to open a new supermarket. This moment is, to my mind, simpler, easier, and sweeter. Have a think about it.

If the Catch is daunting, I suggest guiding baby down to a soft landing and allowing you to pick your baby up when you are ready.

Water birth

If you give birth in water, the water does the Catch for you. Your midwife will prompt you to pick up your baby. It's a lovely way to give birth!

What do you think?

Will you catch your baby?

Will you reach down to feel their head as they crown?

Have you already done this?

What was your experience?

If you are not a Vocal member, come and find me on Facebook.

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Recommended reading: Unhurrying The Moment of Birth

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About the Creator

Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)

Childbirth Eductator since 2011

Building a resource for mothers-to-be to feel informed and confident about their choices

You can find me on Facebook or book classes with me

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Comments (1)

  • Salman siddique8 months ago

    very informative do womens read this?

Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)Written by Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)

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