Here are some tips to help as you plan your child’s birth. And if you are planning to prepare for a natural childbirth this list will help you. It may seem like childbirth is a natural experience and the only thing you need to have is a desire and a little bit of determination. But that isn’t necessarily true for all people. It often takes more than a just a desire to have a natural childbirth. It takes commitment from both parents and a lot of preparation. You have to do your research, make wise choices and even then something may go wrong that will lead you away from your birth plan.
Here are some tips I found during my research as I prepare for baby number two’s arrival.
1. Take a childbirth class
- Don’t take a class provided by a hospital
- Classes provided by the hospital are taught by someone who at minimum are getting paid by the hospital. They will claim to be an advocate for you, but they are part of the hospital staff. The best classes without bias are ones done by independent childbirth educators.
- Find an independent childbirth class
- They work directly for you and have no influence of where you are delivering.
- Consider differences between Bradley Method and Lamaze
- A lot of people, including myself pretty much thought Bradley and Lamaze were the same thing. Just a different way of getting to the end result. Bradley is very different. It also has so much good science and information behind it to help you meet your natural childbirth goal.
2. Make sure you have a supportive coach
- In most cases this should be your spouse, but sometimes that isn’t an option.
- Husbands (coaches) play a key role in supporting your throughout childbirth
- Having a supportive husband (coach) that is educated and willing to help you with the childbirth process is invaluable. You will need support to labor through the contractions or support when you start to doubt yourself. Your coach will help you when you can’t remember why you choose the natural childbirth option.
3. Consider hiring a Doula
- What a doula is
- A woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born
- What a doula does
- With my first child I hired a doula at the last minute after taking an independent childbirth class and learning enough to realize it would be nice to have the extra support. This time we hired a doula early on and she has provided so much more support than I ever expected.
- Why it is worth the investment to hire a doula
- My current doula has been in contact with me since our first meeting and after having issues with my baby measuring too big, she was able to give me advice and help me stand strong in my convictions
- My current doula has also met with my husband and I twice (3 times total) to get to know us and to give us tips and advice. She also gave me two books to brush up my natural childbirth knowledge, another one for my husband on coaching and a booklet full of information
- During my son’s birth my doula was there to step in if my husband needed a break and was able to give suggestions on positions and helped as an advocate for me in the hospital.
- Doulas are a great source of knowledge and support. I think every woman can benefit from having a doula’s support and they are also a great help to the husband/coach.
4. Pick the right doctor/midwife
- Not all doctors are created equal
- My friend who was planning a natural childbirth with her first child found out that her doctor was known as the cutter because at the first opportunity she would recommend a cesarean and had a very high cesarean rate. This was a sign she needed to find a new doctor and ended up switching to a birthing center instead of a hospital.
- Know what your doctor’s thoughts on various procedures are
- Cesarean, episiotomy, induction, laboring and delivery positions
- Know what medical training provides vs. a midwife or nurse-midwife
- For my first son I had a nurse-midwife. She was able to get me off my back for delivery and attempted to remove Pitocin so I could labor naturally after the induction started. For my next son’s birth I am planning to deliver at a midwifery.
5. Pick the right location
- Know what your hospital’s procedures are
- When I delivered my son I was at a military hospital which meant I got whatever doctor was on call, but working with the midwife gave me a little more control.
- Know what your freedom will be
- Does the place you are giving birth allow, water labor, water birth, are you confined to the bed, do you have to get an iv. There are so many questions to ask no matter where you are delivering. If you need help with specific questions comment below or email me.
- Look into other options (midwifery, home)
- A hospital isn’t the only option for delivery. You can choose a birthing center, a midwifery or at home. All these options can work for you to help you have the most positive outcome. My midwifery is a few miles from a great hospital in case complications arise. I love the personalized care I get with each visit. I am not a number I am a person.
Hopefully, these tips can help you as you plan your childbirth journey. Even if you plan to have a medicated birth some of these tips are worth asking about as you prepare for your little ones arrival. It is your birth story and you have control and the more educated you are the more likely things will progress the way you want them too, but always remember sometimes things don’t go as planned. Many of us are blessed to live where there are great doctors and resources to help us in the event things don’t go as smoothly as we hope. I know I was blessed by the doctors and nurses for my first delivery.
What tips would you give moms who are about to have a baby?