Why I Created Down the Canal – The Game of Birth
There are so many books to read and so many websites to visit. It can be overwhelming for expectant parents. How do they know which sources are promoting the best available evidence?
Down the Canal is a pregnancy game, created for easy access to the information, and to inspire further inquiry into the birth process.
The goal is for people to play the game and learn they have more questions. It challenges the player to explore their own beliefs about birth. It is an inquiry into the self, as much as it is an inquiry into birth.
Since 1991 I have been an advocate for physiologic birth. Birth with little or no intervention when mother is healthy and has no underlying medical issues.
The question that continually arises is “Why aren’t more women taking a stand for themselves in birth?”
Discussions with colleagues have often led to “How can we educate women and families about all their birthing options before they choose their doctor or midwife?”
We have a maternity care crisis in the United States, which you can read more about in the article I wrote in the Journal of Mother Studies.
The choice of care provider is one of the first choices a woman will make, usually within the first three months of pregnancy.
Many women choose this provider based on recommendations from well-meaning friends and family members. And they don’t even ask questions about how they view and treat birth.
Models of Care
There are two very distinct models of care: the midwifery model and the medical model. I created 8 Pre-Game questions to guide pregnant women to their philosophy on birth. Knowing which model of care you subscribe to will serve you best as choices arise.
Many questions can be asked of a doctor or midwife to find out their philosophy on birth and how they treat certain situations.
For example, a woman can ask her doctor how often they induce labor. They could ask what the cesarean section rate is in their practice. Women can ask their homebirth midwife how often they transport to the hospital.
Answers to these and many more can guide a woman and her family in choosing the provider that is right for them.
For many women, birth is fear.
This fear is what drives the choices they make, regarding their care and the care of their baby.
These choices made from a place of fear may be very different from choices made from a place of love. Knowledge boosts confidence, which illuminates the power within, diminishing the fear.
It is my intention for people to play Down the Canal and gain a better understanding of the maternity care system in the United States. With that, women and families will make informed decisions about their care during pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
This will then lead to creating confident, healthy parents and thriving babies. It will lead to a demand for physiologic birth, whether it takes place at home, a birth center, or in the hospital.