Any midwives around? or anyone who knows about cultural adjustments in childbirth? I have a few questions...

(37 Posts)
birthingoptions Wed 31-Aug-16 13:34:01

I have NC for this as I don't think it's very common and don't want to be linked via search engines to all my waffling on grin

Basically I am a baptised Sikh and will have a few additional needs at the birth of my dc. None are the be all and end all but I don't know how to approach it or what is acceptable or not.

The main one is I wear 5 items 24/7 - in laymans terms they are a knife, a wooden comb, an iron bracelet, white shorts and my hair. I don't live in a very diverse area so this is really new to a lot of people (which I understand) but it's personally important that these remain on me as much as possible in labour etc. (With regards to hair I don't remove any body hair and would like to try and stick to that unless required to remove some for stitches etc). Also generally when having procedures such as smear test I keep my "shorts" on one leg and would like to do this unless obviously an emergency arose or they were disrupting something.
Would this be acceptable? I know many people who have had no issues but I am still a little worried.

Also I would love to be able to play some religious music (low volume) in the room - would this be ok?

Growingbeanno2 Wed 31-Aug-16 20:26:58

Bumping for you as I'm intrigued for you and for my personal interest, I hope that's ok.

Roseformeplease Wed 31-Aug-16 20:33:11

I don't know but I had stitches after labour and no one tried to shave me. I also think that, for most of the time, you can do / have what you want.

I even wore knickers until the final bit so shorts on one leg don't sound a problem.

What did your Mum / female relatives do?

pontificationcentral Wed 31-Aug-16 20:36:43

I can't help you with the items, but can reassure you on the body hair front. Three kids later and I've not shaved a thing - the only thing they had to do was shave a narrow strip for my CS cut prior to the surgery. A normal VB requires no shaving, whatever the mn jury will tell you about tidying the lady-garden...

CinderellaFant Wed 31-Aug-16 20:43:32

I would imagine the sorts around one leg would be fine. For my c-section I just had to get a small patch shaved, definitely not all.

HaPPy8 Wed 31-Aug-16 20:44:21

If you needed to have a c section they would ask to shave the top part of your pubic hair and you would be asked to remove the shorts and any items with metal. For a normal delivery there would be no reason to have to do this - you could put the shorts on one leg, although do bear in mind they may not stay very clean.

HaPPy8 Wed 31-Aug-16 20:44:51

Music would be fine.

3littlebadgers Wed 31-Aug-16 20:49:58

A little bump for you, in the hopes you get your answers.

Five births here, and the midwives were very respectful about personal choices etc. I am sure they will be in your case too.

Are the items quite secure, and if not can they be made secure? I felt quite flustered during my labours and needed everything to be off. Even my bra annoyed me and I hate having my bra off. Granted we are all different though so hopefully you will feel more comfortable than I did.

With the white shorts, sorry I am not familiar with the tradition so I'm sorry if I ask the wrong thing, but would it be possible to have a few pairs to take? Once your water goes with every contraction a little more will come out. Having a few pairs may help you to feel more comfortable.

DropYourSword Wed 31-Aug-16 20:53:00

I used to work as a midwife in UK 8 years ago, so my information might be slightly dated, but:
1. The music in the room won't be a problem at all. Just check with your birth suite that there is a music player
2. Body hair isn't an issue during a normal labour and birth. No one will have any issue with this. However, if you need a caesarean any body hair on your stomach will be clipped- we go really low so will also include pubic hair. I don't think it's possible to avoid this - would that be acceptable to you in an emergency. Also, if you have a vaginal birth and need stitches sometimes we trim the area where we are stitching to ensure hair does not get caught in the wound. Again, would that be ok to you
3. The 5 items: you might have to ask whether you could take a knife with you. I personally wouldn't have a problem with this if it was for religious/ cultural reasons but it might be a bit of an issue in some birth centres. The wooden comb should not be any problem. The bracelet will be fine unless you need a caesarean- it would have to be removed then. If you had a c/s you may also have to wear a theatre hat over your hair. The white shorts - well they are certainly going to get messy, but if your preference is to keep them in one leg, for a vaginal birth that's certainly possible, but again for a c/a it wouldn't be. Would you maybe be able to hold them, against your chest perhaps.

As you can see a lot depends on your method of birth. It would be a good idea to speak to the birth suite (before you're in labour) but a lot of what you'd like is completely reasonable and midwives and doctors should be happy to facilitate your requests where possible.

Very best of luck!

birthingoptions Wed 31-Aug-16 20:53:52

Thanks for the replies smile

My mum isn't baptised so doesn't follow anything like this and I wasn't last time.

I'm Abit worried now that they will think I'm a loon and take everything off me - twice I've had to deal with grumpy nurses asking me "what's gonna happen??!" If I took off my shorts fully and one asked if I was in a car crash (I was wearing a turban sad)

DropYourSword Wed 31-Aug-16 20:57:37

Wow, they are extremely rude nurses! I would never have asked anything like that.
In fact, I would have loved to look after you, it's great to learn about other religions and culture!

3littlebadgers Wed 31-Aug-16 20:59:47

I'm sorry you had to deal with people's ignorance. flowers

I am not familiar with these traditions at all but wouldn't judge you, instead I'd be interested to find out more. In fact I am interested smile

Don't let it worry you about the birth, speak to your own midwives and see what they have to say, just to put your own mind at ease.

Good luck

Ishoos Wed 31-Aug-16 21:00:42

Would showing them this help? Or asking if there is a Sikh chaplain? www.covwarkpt.nhs.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n467.pdf&ver=579

birthingoptions Wed 31-Aug-16 21:01:18

Emergencies isn't a problem - I won't get told off grin

If there a way to cover metal items? Or have in a fabric bag "on" me?

I will definatly be taking a lot of the shorts (kachera) I know they will get messy gringrin

Just want to make sure I am prepared ... Thanks smile

FabFiveFreddie Wed 31-Aug-16 21:02:39

You've taken Amrit?

To be honest, I think keeping the 5 Ks on you during childbirth is taking things to an extreme which actually isn't in the spirit of Amrit. You do sound pretty relaxed, which is good, so I'm not having a pop. I just think that (1) when the time comes you probably will be focusing on other stuff (i.e. the baby) (2) once the baby's a bit older and you look back, you'll appreciate that not having had the panj piare with you 24/7 was no big deal. At all.

Good luck though - and congratulations!

Packergator Wed 31-Aug-16 21:02:50

Genuine question; intrigued so please don't think I'm being rude and feel free to not answer if you don't want to...but are more Sikh women wearing turbans now? I thought it was a traditionally male thing? More power to you if so! smile

birthingoptions Wed 31-Aug-16 21:03:37

Oh that link is amazing ! Even I'm learning something grin

DropYourSword Wed 31-Aug-16 21:04:45

You can cover small metal items like a ring or small warring by taping them. Don't think you could achieve that with a bracelet though. I think its to do with the diathermy used in theatre - it's definitely a safety issue so I don't think it would be possible to have it in a bag 'on' you.

birthingoptions Wed 31-Aug-16 21:10:28

Yeah I've taken Amrit. I'm relaxed in an emergency or if it's interfering with someone but if it's possible for me to carry on wearing them, I'd be happier to smile

Yeah more women are wearing them - we had a rough time in the past but now people are embracing the original concepts again with regards to equality - what's good for the goose is good for the gander grin there isn't a requirement, I know baptised ladies who don't wear anything on their head and no one cares but likewise if we want to, we can. Plus it's amazingly practical - I never bump my head getting into the car anymore for starters

DropYourSword Wed 31-Aug-16 21:10:29

Interesting link!
It mentions putting the bangle on the baby soon after birth. Would a reasonable compromise (of a c/s was needed) be to take the bangle in the babies cot so it was still 'with' you just not on you? That would definitely be something we'd be able to accommodate

birthingoptions Wed 31-Aug-16 21:12:35

Ah I thought I could cover things. I'll just stick whatever is taken off in my DHs pockets in that case - if I know now it'll avoid me in the throes of labour babbling on about religious entitlement or whatever blush

3littlebadgers Wed 31-Aug-16 21:14:30

Well I found that fascinating to read. Thanks Ishoos flowers

3littlebadgers Wed 31-Aug-16 21:15:35

How long do you have to go op?

LumpyMcBentface Wed 31-Aug-16 21:20:26

I'm so not religious but that link makes Sikhism seem very attractive. I'm going to look into it more.

FabFiveFreddie Wed 31-Aug-16 21:44:27

Sikhism is very attractive, technically.

As ever, it's the interpretation of the written word that can sometimes be problematic. Thankfully the main thrust of Sikhism is peace, equality, tolerance and kindness, so there's limited scope for extremism (and I'm NOT referring exclusively to Islam here, before anyone says anything). It's a bit like Buddhism: difficult to be extreme about pacifism in an offensive manner!

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