Kochi: ‘‘One cannot actively help a woman give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily,” these words of Michel Odent, renowned French obstetrician and childbirth specialist, welcome one to Birth Village (BV) at Vyttila in Kochi. “Birth Village is the only authorised birthing centre led by midwives, which offers an alternative birthing solution,” says
Kochi: ‘‘One cannot actively help a woman give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily,” these words of Michel Odent, renowned French obstetrician and childbirth specialist, welcome one to Birth Village (BV) at Vyttila in Kochi. “Birth Village is the only authorised birthing centre led by midwives, which offers an alternative birthing solution,” says Priyanka Idicula, Co-Founder and Director of Birth Village.
Birth Village utilises gravity (by making women squat or stand) to help babies get into an optimal position to descend and come out. “Lying on the back with their legs in stirrups is the most commonly used position while giving birth,” says Priyanka.” At Birth Village, the expecting parents are the ones who decide what is the best suitable position for them. “People could even opt for a water birth. Sitting in a warm tub of water helps a woman in labour to relax and also provides a gentler exit for the baby, who has been in a fluid-filled amniotic sac for nine months,” she says. Simi, who opted to give birth at the Birth Village, says, “It was the most serene, wonderful and cherished experience of my life. Some of my cousins are getting inspired by my birthing at BV.”
“I strongly believe that women give birth comfortably at a place where they feel safe. Here, we encourage women to learn about their options and to be active participants in decision-making for themselves and their babies. It is this freedom which is so very important for a woman who is about to give birth,” says Priyanka.
The facility has an aesthetically pleasing labour room which smells of aromatic oils. It has a king-sized bed with colourful cushions, and at the foot of the bed there is a crescent-shaped birthing stool. Its hollow centre lets you give birth while remaining upright. There is also a tribal-inspired knotted batik fabric rope tied to a hook on the ceiling, which facilitates birthing in the squatting position. The oval-shaped water birth pool at the balcony is an inflated mini swimming pool, which is about 60 inches high and made of eco-friendly material. “It is a free environment in the pool where you can change positions,” says Priyanka. The warm temperature-controlled water is very soothing for the mother and baby.
Red Miller, Director of Birth Village, and a strong advocate of the Midwifery Model of Care, says: “I believe once women start demanding their right to give birth to their babies in love and respect, great positive shift will occur in every society.” Currently, the facility can accommodate 10 births a month. “My own birthing experience contributed to the decision to set up Birth Village,” says Priyanka. The centre situated at Vyttila will be shifted to Kakkanad soon.