This Child-Birth Expert Dispels Fears & Taboos Related to Pregnancy
By: WE Staff
Swapnil Kaushik, Founder, Mom’s Preg-Ladder is a qualified child-birth and pregnancy coach. She educates women to make their pregnancy journey more wholesome and positive, steering away from the stereotypical thinking of society that only focusses around fear and taboos related with pregnancy.
A woman’s journey through pregnancy, child-birth and early motherhood is certainly no cake-walk. While the process has been romanticised in pop-culture, yet a large chunk of Indian women face challenges either with fertility, child-birth or child-rearing.
The missing link is the presence of a trusted professional who can guide and hand-hold women and families through this transformative journey.
Women Entrepreneur India magazine spoke to Swapnil Kaushik, an Internationally acclaimed Childbirth Educator and Certified Pregnancy Health Coach about the major challenges faced by Indian women with motherhood and how professionals such as herself can make the journey easier.
Swapnil was earlier striving hard to become a lawyer. However, she always felt the desire to help women improve their lives through her expertise. A complicated pregnancy propelled Swapnil to explore the field of childbirth education. She eventually founded Mom’s Preg-Ladder in order to impart education on pre-pregnancy, early-pregnancy, labour management, newborn care, breastfeeding, and post-partum fitness.
Swapnil is also a trained Garbhsanskar and prenatal yoga coach, and the Government of India recognizes her as an expert Maternal & Child Nutrition Coach, apart from practicing at Nestling Hospital, Gurugram.
Read on to delve deep into the most common challenges women in India face pertaining to fertility and child-birth. Swapnil also tells us how child-birth experts can aid families in making the right choices based on information.
Q. What led you to take up childbirth education? Did any personal experiences prompt you to shift you focus areas as a professional? If yes, please elaborate.
A. Yes definitely, my own pregnancy journey. I had a High-Risk pregnancy, and it felt more like a disease than anything. Coping up and dealing with it during the peak COVID months was one of the most challenging things I faced. Since COVID isolated us from everyone, having less support, less social interaction, and definitely least knowledge about what is going on aggravated my fears and anxieties. Also, being a mother can be so isolating, difficult and overwhelming. When I personally enrolled into a child birth class, and gained the right knowledge regarding what our bodies are capable of, and met fellow moms, I felt much more positive & confident about myself.
With all the sleepless nights, recovering, healing, and managing a whole new life within 24 months, I not only completed my course, and cleared my exam as an Internationally Certified Child Birth Educator, but also started my business (practice) as Mom’s Preg-Ladder.
Mom’s Preg-Ladder empowers, encourages and educates every woman to make their pregnancy journey more wholesome and positive, steering away from the stereotypical thinking of society that only focusses around fear and taboos related with pregnancy. We help create a strong and supportive ecosystem for every couple so that they can take informed decisions, and embark on this beautiful journey together with confidence. It was tough to leave behind my career and restart afresh, but I would not change a thing.
Q. Can you tell us about some of the most common challenges women face in terms of conception and pregnancy?
A. Infertility due to age- women are born with a limited egg reserve. Conception & Pregnancy both are natural processes, but with age, the number and quality of eggs start depleting. It is the predominant reason for infertility in women.
Lifestyle- the most common issue. In today’s time, the sedentary lifestyles, long hours of sitting for work, poor eating habits, consumption of alcohol and over stimulation of the brain due to screen time and lack of sleep, can create havoc for the woman’s body.
Lack of Knowledge- understanding when you’re ovulating, when to have sexual intercourse under the right conditions, and by determining the length of your menstrual cycle, can improve the odds of conceiving. Not to mention that the couple, and in fact even women do not properly understand their own anatomy.
Lack of Planning- it is crucial for couples to have open and honest conversations about conception and pregnancy, and not because they are under any societal pressure or stress, but because they both are willing to become happy parents.
Stress- it can be caused by one or a combination of all the above mentioned. Research has shown that women with a history of depression or who are constantly under stress are twice as likely to experience infertility. Prolonged anxiety and stress interferes with the woman’s ability to get pregnant.
Q. Child birth and early-child care is often a difficult time for many Indian women who at times lack the right information and resources. Can you throw some light on the key difficulties faced by Indian women during the early days of motherhood?
A. The answer lies in the question itself. Rightly said, to quote “lack the right information and resources”. One fact we all know is that, the more you know, the less you fear. There are so many unknowns regarding birth and postpartum, our childbirth and new born care classes empower every expectant couple to experience birth positively. To experience labour smarter, and not harder. In today’s time where a couple thrives in a nuclear setup, getting the right support is tough, Gynaecologists have no time to counsel or educate couples and also the old wives tales are not backed by evidence or science.
Research shows, if you take CBE (Childbirth Educator) classes, parents are more relaxed, better prepared, better partners to each other, father’s role is played well, communication is better, awareness is more, breastfeeding journey is better. You will surely realize that you’re meant to give birth, it is your ability to do so, and not your anxiety of fear.
Q. How can child birth educators such as you help women through the pregnancy, child birth and early days of motherhood?
A. Like I mentioned in my previous answer about the importance of CBE classes, creating a team that aligns with your birth plan does not just mean team players. The preparation, coach, tools or uniform, advocating your desires or needs, are all important to play and win a sport, similarly, we as a team know what a couple wants. Holding their hands, imparting evidence-based knowledge from conception and till the end of pregnancy. Furthermore, we assist in the post-partum phase which includes breastfeeding, new-born care, right pelvic floor exercises for core rehabilitation, and lastly on when and how to introduce solids to your child. We stand true to our tagline- ‘pregnancy, birth & beyond’.
Q. Do you also work with fathers to be? If yes, please elaborate.
A. Yes, we definitely do. It starts from setting their intention right during pregnancy and after birth. Once you have the intention, after that it is all about learning as much as one can about the pregnancy, birth, and their role as a support system, i.e. participating in the entire process as much as you can. A study was published in the journal of women’s health that women who do not get fundamental support, are more likely to face anxiety and depression. In our classes we teach and educate how the father (birth partner) can be the best advocate during the labour and birth, being emotionally involved, and financially supportive. We encourage fathers to have open communication as to what their partner’s need during each stage of pregnancy, we educate them about what’s happening in their partner’s changing body, how it may affect their emotional and physical states, and what challenges they are facing. These are all the areas that should be on a father’s radar.
Q. How do you foresee the pregnancy and child birth education landscape evolving in the near future? Do you see more women and families opening up to seeking the right help?
A. There is massive potential in the pregnancy and childbirth education domain, and the reasons are multi fold. The fact that new age couples are professionally more driven and lacking the support systems due to the nuclear way of living, it becomes imperative that they seek the right guidance from us educators to make the process efficient and fruitful at the end. Add to this the fact that doctors do not have the time and bandwidth to educate on such matters, the role of an educator becomes that of a support system that one cannot (and should not) do without for a healthy pregnancy experience. With the impact of social media and the fact that couples are more aware than what they were 2 decades ago, the growth for us educators seem to be rest assured in the time to come.
It will always be work in progress, and more efforts will go in breaking the stereotypes, encouraging and educating not only an individual woman, but an entire community together. All this will be in the best interest of the couple at the end of the day.