Having a great birth is nothing to do with luck!
What do you perceive to be a good birth?
Do you believe that women whose births were short or straightforward were just plain lucky?
Well in my role as a doula, I see all the time, that getting the birth you want has nothing to do with luck!
I know that there is a simple way to having a positive birth experience and it has everything to do with preparation!
I’m sure you are thinking that you are prepared, as of course there is lots to prepare for when it comes to having a baby.
We read books on pregnancy to help us find out about our babies growth and our changing bodies. We buy clothes and nappies and supplies that we learn about on pregnancy websites or in magazines. We join Facebook groups, buy apps, and perhaps even book extra scans to show us what our baby will look like.
We prepare a bedroom, we buy a cot, choose a buggy and a car seat, and some of us even change our car or move house!
But birth preparation is different to preparing for a baby’s arrival.
First there is mental preparation – Ridding yourself of fear and mistrust.
So many of our thoughts and feelings about birth are based on what we see in the media. We hear our friends tell us about traumatic stories of their birth experiences, or others they know. This cements our fear that birth can be dangerous, and leads us to follow the same path. We develop a deep mistrust of our bodies ability to give birth safely without medical assistance, when in fact the opposite is true.
Birth can be amazing and empowering and beautiful, leaving women feeling proud and strong. Learning more about how to support yourself through the process of birth will help you to overcome any fear you may have, and help you to have the best experience possible.
Booking onto an antenatal course or a 1-2-1 review session (for second timers), which you and your partner can attend together, will enable you to understand the importance of your individual roles. You will learn about all aspects of birth, so that no matter what type of birth you choose, you will know how to achieve that birth. Only when you understand what kinds of decisions you may need to make during that time, can you really know how to “own” the experience for yourselves.
Then there is physical preparation – Joining a pregnancy yoga class.
Learning breathing and relaxation skills is really important. Getting to grips with your growing body, and understanding how it works will support your ability to trust the birthing process. Classes that teach you about positions for pregnancy and birth, will enable you to know how to help your baby get into a good position for a quick labour. Having practiced many techniques during the classes, you will feel more able to relax. You will become more confident to allow your body to do it’s job, as you focus on your breathing. Your baby can then navigate the twists and turns of your pelvis far more smoothly during it’s journey to the outside world.
You should build your team – Working out who will support you at your birth.
Well of course i am going to say that you should have a doula, as i know what a difference having one present at your birth can make to each couple who choose to hire one. However for those of you who decide not to, make sure that whoever you choose to be with you, knows how best to support you and are aware of exactly what you want from your birth. (I would definitely recommend two birthing partners if possible, as you will need a couple of pairs of hands to support you best).
It is almost impossible to have a positive birth experience without the right person by your side supporting you through. To make sure you have chosen the right team, ask yourself this question – do my birth partners support my philosophy of birth, or do they have their own fears and mistrust? If the latter is true, then they will need to work through those in order to be able to be truly present for you during this time.
Next is about the baby! – Making a connection with your unborn child.
This is not easy for many of us, but we do our best. Each of us feels differently about being pregnant, but no matter what your feelings are about having a child, chances are, your baby already knows. Babies in the womb pick up on our emotions, and it is impossible to hide how we are feeling from them.
Making a connection with your baby during pregnancy is really helpful to establish bonding, however in those last weeks it is even more important, so that your baby feels it is safe to come out. Once they do, they will release a cocktail of hormones that triggers labour. They will know when it is time to be born, so allowing your baby the ability to decide when it’s ready is really important. Having a connection with them and being aware of their daily movements will make that time of waiting, easier to enjoy.
Lastly it’s all about Practical preparation – Getting your kit together.
Getting ready for the birth of your baby, means that you will no doubt have a long list of things that you have been told that you will need to bring with you when in labour. Sadly, I am pretty sure that 97% of whatever you take, will never come out of your birth bag.
Working out what you will need in advance is vital. Our top tips for success are:- A flannel – to be placed on your forehead when you are hot. A bendy straw – to go in your drink so that your partner can raise it to your mouth when you are tired. 5 point birth plan – a clear, specific, short list of your preferences that outline exactly what you want from your midwife and her team. Complimentary kits – if you decide to use homeopathy or aromatherapy (please remember to keep them away from each other), then these would be useful for you to have with you wherever you have chosen to give birth. Drinks and snacks – keeping up your energy levels is vital during labour.
Everything else can stay in the car! Even the babies clothes, so that you can enjoy some lovely skin to skin time before you have to worry about getting them dressed!
So make the most of the time you have been given in pregnancy to prepare for your baby’s birth.
You may only have this opportunity once or twice in your life, so make it the best experience it can be.
Image by:- www.littlebeanies.co.uk