Over the past 40 years, Rhea Dempsey has attended more than a thousand births and worked with thousands more women as a birth educator, arming them with the skills for a natural birth. Through her workshops she has helped women and their partners prepare for the birth of their children and the physical pain and challenges that come with labour.
In Beyond the Birth Plan, Rhea offers her deep knowledge and insights into preparation for the complex emotional path to birth and motherhood. Through meticulous research and interviews with experts and women all around Australia, she explores the psychological and emotional experiences of birthing and motherhood alongside the physical experience.
Following on from her bestselling book Birth with Confidence (2013), Beyond the Birth Plan outlines this emotional preparation, drawing on brain science, psychology, midwifery research, and the personal stories of many women she has supported through the birth process and postnatal counselling.
Rhea offers research on the many postnatal challenges which stem from our prebaby life: our emotional history, life circumstances, relationships and even our own childhoods. Prenatal preparation that recognises this is crucial in helping protect new mothers from postnatal depression. It is also the kind of preparation Rhea has offered for years to women wanting the best chance of intervention-free birth in our current hospital system.
In Beyond the Birth Plan Rhea explores the unprecedented rise in medical intervention during birth in Australia and the ripple effects this can have on women in their early experience of motherhood.
In Australia, the induction rate is around 33% and caesarean rate is pushing 35% (with some hospitals above 50%). Approximately 75% of births involve some type of pain-relief (with an 87% rate in first births). Rhea concludes that very few mums and babies are getting through birth without some form of intervention.
She explores the increasingly popular option of homebirth, and breaks down the myths and misunderstandings surrounding this option, supported by evidence and the latest statistics of its success and emotional impact on babies and mothers following birth.
Beyond the Birth Plan is a profound exploration of modern birthing, shining a light for the first time on the emotional and psychological impact on all birthing women as they enter this lifechanging human experience.
About the author:
Rhea Dempsey is a childbirth educator, counsellor and doula with more than 40 years' experience. She offers birth support, prenatal workshops, postnatal counselling and doula training. Her insights into our maternity system and the dynamics of labour support made her first book Birth with Confidence a word-of-mouth classic. Over the years, Rhea has empowered thousands of women to prepare realistically for the birth they want.
Beyond the Birth Plan
Author: Rhea Dempsey