As a mom who has birthed 4 children and attended more than 1,000 births with women in the Hudson Valley as a Registered Nurse/Doula, I have noticed four trends that strongly affect satisfaction of everyone’s birth experience. Read on for my expert advice in creating the best labor and delivery experience possible. You can walk away from your birth completely empowered and confident in your new found strength as a mother.
We all spend the months leading up to meeting our baby dwelling on that day. What will it be like? Can I do it? HOW will it actually happen? Here’s how to design the ultimate experience.
1. When you imagine your birth, imagine it in FULL detail. Imagine all of the best outcomes that you desire. Imagine having the best support team in place. The majority of the time you will spend time with your birth partner and nurse – as well as a doula if you choose to hire one. Your doctor or midwife will oversee your medical needs for your birth and the time spent with them will be limited in comparison. Think about your birth partner and the role you expect them to fill. Are they your primary support? Do they know what you are expecting them to do – beyond “just being there to support you”. Most birth partners do not know what this experience will be like – and they don’t know what they don’t know. Imagine the perfect nurse for what you need during this amazing day. Imagine the day or night that you are going to birth this baby, create in your mind all the details and focus on the best outcome.
Here’s why: Your body cannot do one single thing without permission from the mind. The information that you dwell on most in your thoughts about your birth will literally create your birth experience. All of the negative advice, criticism and terrifying birth stories that people feed pregnant women have to be stopped immediately. You can literally create your birth with your mind using positive information. I’m not naive to knowing that negative things happen during birth. However, allowing the negative stories to rule your mind provides what avenues to create your birth? Focus on the positive outcomes for your mind to effectively give you exactly what you want for your baby’s birth. Your body was designed to birth your baby – YOU CAN DO THIS! Do not let your mind get in your way.
2. Attend a childbirth class with your birth partner. Primarily, I recommend attending a class that is taught by a free standing childbirth educator. Attending a class taught at a birthing institution will allow you to learn how to give birth according to that hospital/birthing center’s policies and procedures. You aren’t given information on ways that may work effectively for you if they aren’t common practice at that particular institution. Remember you don’t know what you don’t know – educating yourselves about what to expect the day of your birth will help you both be more prepared. If you are looking for a birth experience that includes information on having a birth with medication or an epidural, a one-day intensive class like BirthPrep 101 at Waddle n Swaddle will be effective. If you have a strong desire to have a unmedicated, or natural birth experience, I highly recommend a class like Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis. Hypnobabies is very effective in providing a positive mind body connection, it gives birth partners effective tools in assisting mom with her pain eliminating childbirth hypnosis skills learned in class.
3. Consider having a doula, or at least a second support person at your birth. Many birth partners feel strongly that they want to be the only person with you during the birth. THEY want to be there to help you in any way that you need them, and are willing to do almost anything to get you through the birth with a healthy baby and mommy. However, many birth partners aren’t considering that birth is an average of 12-18 hours and sometimes many more hours. During that time, it’s important that the birth partner has the ability to get food/drink and a little sleep and maybe actually use the bathroom. I know you’re thinking that if you don’t get sleep why should he??? Well the answer to that is simple, who is helping the sleepless mama after this baby is born? The sleepless daddy? If you are BOTH sleep deprived, how is the immediate post-partum period going to go for your new family unit? Once the birth partner realizes the expectations that actually are present for them many realize that having another support person in the room is a great idea. It’s really important to consider that other support person be well versed on birth – a leading reason to hire a professional doula like the Hudson River Doulas (wink wink).
4. Make sure that your provider *doctor or midwife* is a good fit for you. Write down your questions for each visit and ask them. It’s important to realize that most doctor’s office only schedule an average of 7 minutes per patient. They want to get in to see you and then get out. Do not allow their rush to run you out of the office if you have questions. When they are written down, they can’t be forgotten during that whirlwind visit. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers you get to the questions you have then it may be evidence that you have the wrong provider working for you. Find a new one – seriously. During your birth is not the time for the aggravation of trying to do what you want to do with the interference of your doctor. This stress can actually prolong and intensify your birth. If you want to be able to move, and eat and do as you please during your birth, make sure your provider is on board by offering you an alternative to monitoring procedures, and writes the orders during your admission to the hospital to allow you the flexibility to do as you wish.
When you choose to do the things listed above you will enter your birthing time with a sense of confidence. You will feel empowered with the positive energy of a supportive birth partner who knows more about what his role in the birth is. You will have a doula to spend time working to gain advice for concerns on a holistic level. Your birth partner also will have an additional avenue of support with a doula. Your mind, body and spirit feel more connected which adds a sense of balance for pregnancy and birth. Your provider is there for any medical attention necessary without the fear that he/she will interfere in a way you aren’t comfortable with. You and your birth partner will have been educated as to what to expect in the birth process itself, which gives you the ability to work as a team.