10 TIPS FOR YOUR BEST BIRTH
Thoughtful Suggestions To Help You Along The Way
Here are some useful tips you can utilize to optimize your birth experience. If you still have something you’d like to know, feel free to contact me for more details. I want you to ensure you get all the information you need.
#1 DO YOUR RESEARCH
You know that old saying that when you know better you do better? Well, giving birth is where it is definitely true.
Consider what the evidence and research says
Consider your source. Is that book or article trying to lead you to their own conclusion?
Remember that feedback from family or friends will only reflect their experience and may not be typical or customary of the situation
Don't fall victim to stereotypes
Resource to check out: www.evidencebasedbirth.com
#2 TAKE A CLASS
After you have done your own research, take the opportunity to sit down with an educated and trained professional and ask questions that pertain to you and your birth.
Smaller class sizes will allow for more personal dialogue
Consider choosing a class that matches your birth plan:
If you are planning a hospital birth, you might be interested in taking more than one class. A class at the hospital might include a basic overview of labor and birth and may teach specific hospital practices.
Classes taught outside the hospital may equip you with in-depth information about coping skills, physiology of labor and birth, emotional aspects, and childbirth options
Don't forget to include your partner in class time. Partners report that when they better understood the process it helped them to better read and support their partner's needs.
Looking for a private or semi-private class tailored to your family's needs? Call The Midwife, LLC offers highly personalized classes in our Amherst office or in the comfort of your home
#3 CONSIDER A DOULA
A do-what? A Doula! A doula in a non-medical support and birth coach. This trained and skilled individual can help you execute your birth plan as well as support your partner through the process. Having a Doula helps ensure the support partner can care for the other children, take comfort and meal breaks without leaving the birthing woman under supported.
Doula's have been proven to reduce the need for pain medication
Doula's reduce the statical prevalence of surgical births
Can offer support at home in early labor; options for postpartum support as well.
Check out DoulaMatch.net to find a Doula in your area
Call The Midwife, LLC offers doula support services as well on a limited availability.
#4 NO NEGATIVE NELLIES
For some peculiar reason people love to share with pregnant women their "war stories" surrounding birth or the story they heard about from a friend of a friend where some bizarre complication arose or some strange fluke story they saw on the internet once about a scary birth. Or worse they try to rob you of your confidence when you reveal you are planning a natural low intervention birth. These people exist in all settings but their negativity can be harmful when preparing your mind for birth.
Learn the skill of not engaging in those conversations.
Don't fall victim to click bait
Fill your mind with positive affirmations
Read positive stories about capable women, such as Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth
Surround yourself with "Positive Pollys"
Hire a birth team that is unabashedly supportive of your birth plan
#5 PICK THE PLACE MINDFULLY
Don't just go wherever is closest geographically or where your friend went or where you think your mother-in-law wants you to give birth. This is YOUR birth and it should be where YOU are most comfortable. Women are all different and so the answer won't be the same for every birthing woman. Consider which options are important to you as this may narrow down your options
Are you interested in water-birth? This amazing tool many only be available in certain settings and some locations may offer tubs for labor with restrictions but may want you to get out at certain times per their policies, ask if your location has skilled waterbirth providers.
Consider all possible settings (city hospital, birth center and home) as well as the drawbacks and benefits of each of those.
Planning a hospital birth? With soaring s-sections rates it's important to know how your institution stacks up. Check out www.leapfroggroup.org to compare state & national averages.
Check out: Birth Your Way by Shiela Kitzinger or Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
Watch The Business of Being Born or Why not Home, a documentary
#6 PICK YOUR PERFECT PROVIDER
Just as all women are different and therefore we cannot take a one-size-fits-most approach to location we also want to be mindful that each woman needs to find a provider that she is comfortable with.
Focus on a provider that aligns well with your birth plan
If you are planning for a low-intervention birth, consider a midwife
Not all midwives are created equal: Ask if they are board certified by the American Certification Board of Midwifery. Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed to practice in all 50 states and can legally practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, birth centers and in the comfort of home.
If it's a group practice: Will you have an opportunity to get to know everyone? How will your wishes be communicated to every provider on staff? How will you feel if your provider is not the one on call for your birth?
If you prefer to know who will be at your birth consider a solo practice where that provider is committed to being on call for you and takes the time to develop a personal relationship with you.
#7 STAY HEALTHY!
It seems like this one should go without saying but it's all to easy to let pregnancy feel like a free pass to indulge in second helpings and a Netflix binge at the end of a tiring day but now more than ever you want to stay active and nourish your body to optimal health!
Daily walks outside to maintain a strong pelvic floor
Consider working with a Physical Therapist to address any underlying conditions that could be exacerbated by pregnancy (I personally recommend Oak PT in Amherst, NH).
Consider seeing a chiropractor regularly for healthy skeletal alignment and optimal fetal positioning .
Participate in regular exercise to maintain your cardiovascular health and gentle strength training to prevent injuries in pregnancy.
Consider prenatal yoga as way to bolster your mental and physical health at the same time.
Post positive affirmations where you will see them to fight off common pregnancy anxieties.
Maintain a healthy diet and strive to keep weight gain in line with your provider's recommendations as excessive weight gain is linked to greater interventions and a higher rate of surgical birth.
#8 BUILD YOUR TOOLBOX
Have a plan for how to cope in labor. Often the things that are comforting to you during times of stress can be of comfort during labor, such as music, massage, warm water and support from those closest to you.
Consider laboring in a birthing tub as it has been shown to both increase freedom of movement in labor as well as decrease the need for pain management medications.
Ask if your provider is a "spinning babies aware" provider
Check out spinningbabies.com
Ask about the use of birth balls and rebozo to support fetal positioning and decent as these are major contributors to surgical birth.
Remember that Doula I mentioned earlier? Think of her as a multifaceted tool in your toolbox.
#9 BUILD YOUR BIRTH PLAN
The first step to writing a birth plan is knowing what you want and having a clear discussion with our partners to discern what is really important to you and your family. Your healthcare provider doesn't realllllly need to know your wishes for your play list in labor as much as they should know how you feel about cord clamping and medications for example
Important data gets lost in lengthy or "flowery" birth plans
I highly recommend bullet point or visual birth plan.
Don't reinvent the wheel: check out mamanatural.com to download a free editable visual birth plan. This is also a helpful place to start if you are not sure what sort of things to include in a birth plan.
#10 REVIEW YOUR RIGHTS
When helping clients work through previous birth trauma I often hear phases such as "I wasn't allowed to...[fill in the blank]" or " I was told I had to...". It is important to know your rights as a childbearing woman. Here is a link to the rights of a childbearing woman. Read them and know them! No matter what the setting it is still your body and you have a right to ask why something is being recommended.
It is your right to ask for explanations for anything being recommended that you don't understand.
It is your right to ask for the reason for all interventions so that you may be an active informed participant in all aspects of your birth experience.
You have the right to change providers if you are not satisfied with your care.
#11 *BONUS TIP! KEEP A FLEXIBLE FRAME OF MIND
This one was too important to leave out. Have a fluid and flexible frame of mind when it comes to delivery day and give yourself GRACE then things don't go exactly as planned. Wait, didn't you just say to have a birth plan?! Yes, that is your clear communication tool to express your plan in an uncomplicated healthy birth but occasionally circumstances arise that require a plan B and that does't make your birth a "failure". There is no such thing as a "failed" out-of-hospital birth or "failed" VBAC, only those births that required a different set of tools.
Wishing you and your family your best most beautiful birth!