Hey there and welcome. Thank you so much for joining us for this podcast, this episode of parenting in the first three years. Today, we are talking about navigating childbirth with confidence. And I have an amazing guest with me today, Gina Munday, the author of A Parent’s Guide to Safer Childbirth.

She’s an attorney who specializes in childbirth cases. She has 20 plus years of investigating and analyzing these cases and talking with all of the people involved. And she has made it her mission to help you understand how you might avoid some of these complications and problems just by simply being informed about what might be happening when you have your baby.

I can’t wait to have this conversation. Thank you so much for joining me, Gina.  Thanks Ann, for having me. I am so excited for our conversation today. Me too. So why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself as a mom?

Oh, the mom part. So that’s my favorite job out of all my, all my jobs. I’m a mom of three. I have two older daughters. One is just turned 20. One’s about to turn 16. And then I have my little man who is nine about to turn 10. So, yeah, so it’s, it’s been a busy, you know, past 20 years. And, uh, yes, and I’ve been married for 21 years. Which is about the same amount of time I, I’ve been an attorney specializing in childbirth cases.

But, you know, when I got hired in to my firm, it was just right out of law school first, just trying to get my first job. Cause they don’t teach you about this in law school. I didn’t know this profession even existed, but having a baby was on my radar, i. e. my 20 year old. So yeah, I wanted to like stay in this profession to figure out, Oh my goodness, let’s see what, what can happen during childbirth.

So yeah, but now I’ve got a busy life. My son loves his sports. If you want to communicate with him, you have to throw a football, you have to catch his pitches, or play basketball.  That’s fun. It gives you great ways to communicate with other parents and, uh, you know, enjoy being outside and stuff. I always really loved sports with my kids, even though it can get a little bit, a lot. Oh, yeah. He’s only nine. So, and he’s a fanatic already.

Yeah, we’re going to talk about several different things as we talk about navigating childbirth. But I know that one of the things that you’re offering to our listeners is access to the first chapter of your book in that chapter is called “Knowledge is Power”.

So we’re going to just take this whole idea of knowledge and apply it to how to get ready to have a baby. And then also we’re going to talk about it in terms of just parenting in general. So how do you help parents who are either thinking about getting pregnant or pregnant? How do you help them avoid the common mistakes and complications that might happen in childbirth?

That is an excellent question. So chapter one that you just talked about, I love that chapter. And it’s on, like you said, it’s on my website. It’s free. It’s always been free on my website because it’s such an important chapter because it goes through the lessons from the baby cases as a lesson. We can learn from it to help prevent it from happening, you know, in the future, but you know, lesson number one. 

It’s parents must prepare and get ready for childbirth. You do that in order to make good decisions. You do that in order to have good communication with your delivery team. You know, sometimes in the cases, there’s a breakdown in communication or sometimes, you know, families are so, they’re just so close to having, you know, a healthy baby. 

It’s like, they’re just there. Decision or minutes away. So it’s like anything in life. If you get ready for it, if you prepare for it, you’re going to make better decisions, you’re going to have a better experience, even if it’s down to expectations, you’re going to know what to expect, but what that chapter does is.

It goes through each lesson. Each lesson then is a subsequent chapter of the book. So lesson one, like I just said, you got to learn about labor and delivery. Well, I don’t just tell you, okay, go, go take this course, you know, go do this. I, then you go to chapter two, and that’s gonna be everything that I find important about childbirth from my perspective as a childbirth attorney. 

So when I get a case in, for instance, and I have to look at the new case, And I got to figure out, is this good care that mom received or is this bad care? This is kind of what I rely on. These are the things about childbirth I rely on to figure that out. And why it’s important for parents is it’ll give them a good foundation to make those good decisions. 

Again, make sure they can like have this streamlined communication with, you know, their delivery team about something. Because if you roll up to labor and delivery and you’re not ready. I mean, they have to start from square one and those important details, because a lot of times when you’re in labor, you know, they’ll give you options. 

Well, if you’re starting from square one, not to mention you’re in labor, so you’re in a different state of mind, you know, you’re supposed to be focusing on baby. So, you know, they have to give you every single detail and they have to start teaching you at the vet side. It’s really hard to make, you know, those good decisions with your delivery team and mom, oh, it has to remember, you know, mom, you’re the decision maker when your delivery team’s telling you something, they’re advising you, you are ultimately the decision maker during labor and delivery.

So again, being ready, I just cannot emphasize enough. And I’ll tell you, I mean, unfortunately, this is a lesson from the families. They come to labor and delivery and they just simply rely on the delivery team to safely deliver their baby. And I can tell you, when I talk to these families in the aftermath of something going wrong, they know so much more about childbirth.

I always think I’m like, if they only would have known this going into childbirth. So like that’s lesson one, there’s a total of, I believe, 13 lessons. But there’s other things like understanding your delivery team, picking the good doctor, you know, having somebody to, you know, a support person with you.

There’s just a bunch of different lessons. And then again, each chapter would then elaborate a little bit more on, okay, well, what does it mean to be, you know, pick a good doctor because I’ve analyzed OBGYNs for 21 years. It’s a huge part of what I do. So I’m like, here’s my attorney analysis. Now you got to do your mommy analysis and, you know, make sure, cause they had your delivery team, your delivery team’s ultimately responsible for bringing your baby safely into this world. 

Right. And one of the things that you say in that chapter is that doctors disagree, which, you know, puts the patient in a very vulnerable spot because, you know, you’re, you’re trusting them to advise and to know what to do. So that’s, that’s tricky.  I will tell you, it was one of the most shocking parts of my job when I first started was the completely different opinions of doctors.

All across the board. Yes, medicine, especially when it comes to labor delivery can be very, very gray. It is, is not like a, not like breaking your finger or something where maybe they can x ray it, they cast it. They know what, because babies think about it though too. I mean, every patient’s different, but baby is also inside mom.

 And because when mom goes into labor, there’s two patients, there’s mom and there’s baby. Mom’s easy. Mom can communicate and that, you know, they’re much easier. Baby is inside mom. So it just, it leaves this huge, you know, I mean, just the different opinions. It’s unbelievable. I mean, I retain expert witnesses on my cases.

 So experts are the doctors, you know, for labor and delivery will be a doctor who delivers babies, OBGYN. I’ll retain two of those experts, so they’re not involved in the labor. They’re coming in and they’re looking at the medical records, sometimes deposition testimony, and they have to tell me if it’s good care or bad care.

And I will have doctor number one tell me everything was done wrong. Everything like this is the worst care ever. This is why baby, you know, did not do well. And then I have another expert and they’ll be like, everything was done perfectly. This is just, you know, nature taking its course, Gina. And I’m like, how is this pot like all the time?

 So it’s very important as. You know, that you realize different doctors, different opinions, because, and that also too, let’s say you disagree with your doctor, you guys just may not have the same views. You may doctor down the hall, you and, you and that doctor may, you know, agree on everything. So yes, so incredibly important to pick a good one.

You know, my daughter just had a baby six weeks ago. And so all of these things are kind of fresh on my mind. I’ve heard the whole big stories. They, they live out of state. So it wasn’t there at the time of her birth, but the way that they’re the practice works where she, you know, where she had her baby through the whole pregnancy she was rotating doctors so that whoever she landed when she went into labor, she would be familiar with that doctor. And so it was a really nice way of building relationship with other people besides just this one person, which is what I experienced as a mom. You know, I just had one OB GYN and fortunately she was available when I went into labor.

But yeah, I think that’s, that’s a really interesting thing to know, to ask about. You also talk a lot about just your birth plan and. Fetal monitoring and having an advocate there for you, all of the various, those are all. Yes. Again, knowledge is power. And like we just talked about, you know, I love that chapter on fetal monitoring. 

The medical community has really wanted to keep fetal monitoring like to themselves. And me as child birth attorney is like, uh, no, you know, this is, this is very important information. Like we just talked about babies inside of mom. So it’s very hard to figure out how baby’s doing. The best way to know how your baby is doing during labor is their heart rate. 

I’ve had doctors testify, and I included the testimony in the book. Gina, not testify, literally Gina, the only way a baby can talk to me during labor is through their heart rate. Which means if you can read their heart rate, you can understand kind of what your baby is saying during labor. Whether they’re tolerating it or, you know, making sure, are they good?

You can, you can literally know by looking at their heart rate. So again, that’s a huge lesson. And as an attorney specializing in childbirth cases, it was the first thing I learned how to do was read the baby’s heart rate. So, yeah, that, that is a, and let’s say you have to make some really important decisions during childbirth, I’m telling you almost always it stems from the baby’s heart rate.

Typically what happens is there’s a concern for some reason, and then there might be tests or interventions and whatnot, but it all stems from the baby’s heart rate. So just under having a good understanding of it and listen, don’t let it freak you out or don’t be like, what is this understand you’re going to look at it and for a good hour and a half, two hours, but it’s going to be, oh my goodness, such a huge, you will feel so much better going into labor, having an, you know, an understanding and then, you know, with respect to baby advocate, having, you know, A support person, having your husband, grandmas, grandmas make great support people, best friends, aunts, whoever, doulas.

If you can hire a doula, doulas are great. I’ve never had a doula in a childbirth case, which is good. And 21 years and neither have my colleagues. That speaks to it, doesn’t it? It really does. Like having a doula is huge, but you know what? If you can’t, that’s not your route or whatever. There’s a chapter on, Hey, have a second set of eyes on you because you know, there’s a chapter in my book.

It’s chapter 11 and it has the common mistakes and the common issues in the childbirth cases. And one of those, for instance, is a busy labor and delivery unit, meaning these delivery teams, they just, they could, they can get swamped pretty quick. Think about it. Babies come when babies want to come, so they get really busy.

 So to have a second set of eyes on mom is so incredibly important. I cannot stress that enough. And so then I go through, you know, can like, okay, designate your baby advocate.  Now they have a new job. Here’s their training. These are the five things that they need to know, you know, just to be a good advocate.

 But I’ll tell you, one of the things they need to know is how to read the baby’s heart rate.  That’s really interesting. When I went into labor for our, with our third child, it was one of those nights where there was, It’s like literally people were laboring in the hallway of the unit. I was lucky I got a labor room, but  it was just a really busy night.

 You can’t predict those things, right? No, you can’t. So it’s very, that’s why, you know, doing that. And then even, you know, you had mentioned too, having a plan, I’ll tell you, you know, as an attorney. Specializing childbirth cases, I definitely have a different spin on a birth plan. It’s not so much the plan in and of itself.

 It’s not so much. It’s the act of preparing the plan, right? Marinating in those decisions, thinking things, okay, well, what if I have to make this decision and just kind of thinking and going through all of that in the comfort of your own home where you can Google things or whatnot. And I also had a doctor testify was, you know, I didn’t put too much testimony in the book. I didn’t want to bore everybody. Well, I think it’s interesting, you know, people may not. So, but I did have a doctor testify that when mom does go into labor, she does enter a different state of mind and she should be given all of her options before labor. Which is impossible, but I like, I like his thought.

I think he would counsel his patients extensively, which I really like, but that’s, you know, since labor is so unpredictable, another reason you need a plan. So yeah, just getting ready that way is huge.

So another thing I think that’s an important part of this conversation about navigating childbirth with confidence is how do you suggest people manage the knowledge of what might happen with the fear that can just, it comes naturally for us anyways, the minute we see that, you know, we learned that we’re going to be giving birth, but just the fears that are Normal and natural and not heightening them to the point of becoming just really upset and kind of immobilized by him  Yeah, no, that’s excellent.

So I think also a part of fear is also the unknown  So the way you can help conquer fear is, you know, again learning about childbirth getting ready for your big day actually It’s just the weirdest story ever. It’s actually chapter six of my book is have a plan. And I go through what I just went through that doctor, even the doctor’s testimony.

But I’m writing this chapter and I get like a random text message. This is actually all in the book because it was so crazy. Basically a mom. I don’t know this mom. She’s texting me from the labor and delivery unit and her, her doctor wants to do a C section. She doesn’t know what to do. I mean, I literally wrote these text messages in the book.

Like it’s so, it was so crazy that it was happening at that point in time.  The point of that story, so she, baby’s fine, everything’s fine. Um, the point of that story was, and the weird thing that she was texting me during that chapter of have a plan is because when her doctor said some words to her, she almost like went deer in the headlights, that element of surprise will make it really hard to focus.

 And she was, and I’ll tell you when she our conversation from when we started the conversation until the end was very different. I knew I could figure out reading between her lines with a doctor really was saying. So we went through everything. And again, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a medical person. I’m not.

 I don’t give people medical advice, but. You know, I mean, she was at a point where she’s, she’s the hunting down a childbirth attorney because she doesn’t know what to do. And, you know, we hashed it out. Everybody’s fine. It’s in the book. But I do think that element of surprise really just caught her off guard by not being prepared.

 You know, I think that’s half of it is the fear is the unknown. So getting ready will help you focus and whatnot, but then also, you know, again, having a really good support person there. You know, when I say support person, again, that’s baby advocate. It’s chapter seven of my book. One of the things that I say, Hey, baby advocate must know, and this is why is they must have an understanding of what your birth plan is, what are your expectations so they can be there protecting you, guiding you and you know, every, everything else.

 But I think if you know, You know, sometimes people have to understand, too, when you have a delivery team, those are typically, with the exception of your doctor, people scheduled to work that day. Right. You know, are you going to like them? Are you not? You know, we got to go again. I go through all of that in my, my thing.

 But if you have a support person there and you have, that you guys have gone through the plans, expectations, you guys are on the same page. If your partner or your baby advocate. It’s like, well, I don’t agree with this part of the plan. You guys have already hashed it out. This isn’t where you got to say, you know, you, they know what you want.

 They know what you’re thinking. And so I think that way you had no, you have the second set of eyes, especially if you walk into a busy labor and delivery unit, and that’s so important because it’s going to help you mentally. Focus on, on mentally and physically, you know, delivering your baby because you definitely want to stay away from being stressed out or fear or, you know, the fight or flight that’s just tenses you up and slows your, your labor down.

 So having a support person meditating, huge. Yeah, when our kids were little, there was a, and you know, I’m sure that this is happening all the time all over, but there was this, they did a fire safety unit at the schools every year, and these fire departments would come through and they had these, this trailer that was a fire house or something and would teach children how to get through the smoky room and, you know, with the firefighters and all of their gear and everything just to expose them to what it looks like, what it might feel like just in case there’s a fire and it seems like a very good idea, right? You know, to prepare children in this way, but one of my kids. It filled her with so much fear to know that our house might burn down.

And so we had really so much to do to help her navigate that fear and, and to understand that probably our house is not going to burn. And if it does, here’s our plan. You know, she had a ladder under her bed. She could drop it off the side of the window. We knew where we were going to meet outside. But the thing that I told her is the fact of the matter is I have been alive my whole life. You know, at that time, I think I was 40 something years old and all of the people I’ve ever known all of my relatives, all of my aunts and uncles and everybody, no one has ever had their house burned down. I only have one friend who had a house fire and it was only in his kitchen. 

Nobody was hurt. And the firefighters came and they got it out fast and they built their house new again. And it was okay. So probably it’s not going to happen. And so I think just that looking at the statistics, you know, of how many healthy births there are versus these times when things don’t go as well do go south is a really important thing to  keep top of mind to prevent yourself from going down this rabbit trail of becoming so filled with fear.

Oh, that was perfect. Perfectly said. I’m actually going to use that in future podcasts. Just so you know, you could not have said that better. But no, and it’s, I think it’s, you know, it’s important that people do realize, yeah, you know, these are definitely few and far between. 

I think though, too, it also helps. What I will help to is, you know, again, my chapter 11, it’s, it was one of the reasons I even wrote the book, but understanding like if there’s a mistake or if there’s a complication, these are the things that are involved. So you can be ready for it. It gives parents a heightened sense of awareness.

It helps them activate their intuition and whatnot. So even just knowing, okay, well, if something does go wrong, these are the circumstances where it typically happens, because I’ll tell you the cases, they’re reoccurring issues, reoccurring facts. Yeah, that’s really, and so just really good. Yeah, and I’ll tell you, you know, initially too, I was writing the book for my kids because I can tell you how I prepare, you know, them is a lot different than how probably a traditional family would prepare.

Yeah. But because I did prepare it, you know, in a way for my kids that you know, you have to solve every single problem. You can’t say. Okay. You, you might walk into a busy labor and delivery unit. Good luck. No, no, no. My kids would have a heart attack. That would be so panic inducing for my children. I don’t know if they’d have, you know, but anyway, I won’t go there.

 So, you know, some of us are more inclined to plan for the what ifs than others, you know? Yeah. Yeah. No, every, everything in that book, because I was really focused on not inducing, you know, any panic, but everything is, has an answer. Okay. If you walk in and the unit’s busy, this is what you need to make sure, you know, you do again.

 And then, you know, there’s other different, different things, you know, another, there’s one other, there’s two other ones that are super important. I love, I just love to get out there to the world, but you know, breaking your bag of water is a really big decision. So if something does go wrong, again, not likely, but if it did, it’s always after your water breaks.

 That’s a really important decision. And then, um, the number one most common, you know, issue in a case is the drug Pitocin. Then when complications and mistakes occur, Pitocin is almost always involved in the labor. So again, uh, do you ever see Pitocin induction? It’s in the book, but now you also know. That if there’s a complication or mistake, Pitocin is often involved.

 So what’s the opposite of that? A natural, spontaneous vaginal birth, those cases are few and far between. So I think it’s just knowing things like this that will help, you know, because yes, the chances of something going wrong, very, very small, but you can help to make sure it doesn’t happen to you by just knowing these like small, no small things, which I think are just so important.

 Um, Right. And everyone listening is listening because they are wanting to learn and know and inform themselves. And so this, this is a really great resource. I’m so glad that you’re here to share this with us as we kind of wrap up this conversation.

What would be a word of encouragement that you would like to leave with our listeners?

 You know, I’ll tell you the moment you hold your baby for the first time is such powerful  Life changing moment you never stop being a parent and I know for me I dreamt of that day since I was you know, a little girl playing with baby dolls. I mean I dreamt of it my whole life and You know, I felt kind of lucky to get my first job and understand the process a little bit more, but, you know, I can just tell you just getting ready for that big day, preparing like you would for, you know, your wedding, the rest of your life, financial vacations, you know, just, just understand that preparing for that, the chances that of you enjoying and having that most of that.

 Amazing day and it just being perfect like you’ve dreamed of your whole life. It’s just, it’s, it’s much better if you’re, if you’re ready. So just get ready to enjoy and then take baby home and rest of your life. Right. That’s when the real fun begins, huh?  Yeah. Well, thank you so much for, for sharing all these.

 Really insightful things about getting ready for your, your childbirth. And so how can people find you tell us your website and what’s next for people if they want to follow up with you? Uh, thanks. So always Gina Mundy. com. And that’s going to have everything on there we had talked about it earlier.

 There’s going, there’s the podcast will be released. I just started my own podcast called The Childbirth Attorney with Gina Mundy. Uh, it should, it’s going to be on all the big platforms. Instagram is been my social media of choice. So it’s at Gina Mundy and with my book, yeah, I get Amazon. And then if you put in the search bar, Gina Mundy, that’s just the best way to. 

Get the book.  It’s a simple way. Thank you so much. We will put all the links in the show notes. And I know that people are going to really appreciate all of the great resources that you have. Thank you, Gina, for being here. Oh, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.