You’re pregnant! You’re excited! And…. you might be a little overwhelmed with all the information you need to obtain before giving birth!
Don’t worry, I got your back!
Here are 9 things you might not know about giving birth that will help you feel better prepared and more in control.
Number 1: You don't have to give birth in the hospital.
Giving birth at home or in a birth center often provides a more relaxed and intimate setting for the birth of your baby. It gives you more control over your birthing process and provides a more personalized experience. This option is safe for low-risk pregnancies and generally always has the better outcome of empowering and having respect for moms in labor.
This option has become increasingly popular in the wake of COVID restrictions becoming oppressive and frankly frightening in hospital settings. If you are a person who wants to have your voice heard, your feelings and needs respected, and birth on your terms, out of hospital birth may very well be for you!
2: Epidurals are not usually a necessary form of pain relief for labor.
Epidurals are a common form of pain relief during labor if you give birth in a hospital, but they are not the only option available.
When you birth at home, there are a plethora of natural options available; including hypnobirthing, acupuncture, massage, warm water... All of these can be highly effective ways to help mothers progress through labor without the concern for the side-effects that may come through the use of pharmaceutical drugs. These options allow mothers to stay present and active in the labor process so that they can full enjoy the first moments of their baby’s entrance to the world!
Question for your provider: “What is your favorite pain management method (besides epidural) for moms in labor?”
*Here's one of my favorite hypnobirthing classes
3: You can use music to help you during labor.
I love to dance when I feel excited or hopeful or happy or just silly. Early labor is a great time to turn on your favorite tunes and shake out your sillies and excitement that your baby is ON THE WAY!!!
And then, you can turn on something calm and just try to relax until labor gets more intense.
Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions. It can help create a calm and soothing environment for you during labor. Many moms create playlists for their births so that they are fully in control of the atmosphere their child is born into!
4: Birthing pools are amazing for helping you feel more comfortable and relaxed during labor.
Let me tell you something about water in labor... for some women, it is absolute bliss.
I'll be honest, my first birth, I thought I could get in at transition and feel 100x better. That is not how reality went and I was offended by it. HOWEVER, I had been using the shower most of my labor and getting a good deal of comfort from *that* water.
But in many cases, warm water can help ease the discomfort of contractions, and it can allow you to move around more easily. This can help the baby move down the birth canal. Birthing pools can also provide a sense of privacy and intimacy during labor, or just help you relax.
5 :You will probably poop during labor (and no one will be surprised or bothered by it!)
So many of us mamas get to the point of no return and want to hold back because we suddenly feel the prairie dog at the back door. Baby, let it go. Motherhood will do one big thing for you over and over and over: it will rid you of that kind of shame.
Look, no one likes to feel like they are pooping in front of people they don't want smelling it. But also, birth workers have seen and probably done this themselves at some point so we are all fully comfortable with the right of passage most mothers go through. When you are at this point, your baby is coming, so do your best to put your focus there!
6: Learn about Birthing positions - your body will know exactly how to get your baby out!
Gravity is your friend in labor. Use it! Stand up, sit on your birth ball, get on your hands and knees, lay on your side... find what feels right! Your body just KNOWS. She will know intuitively exactly what position to take to get your baby earthside most efficiently!
In my own home births, I have delivered in the birth pool, curled forward while holding my knees up and supported from behind by my husband. I have delivered on a bed on hands and knees. And I have taken the “runners stance” (one leg up, one knee on the floor) in the birth pool to deliver my third. The last was by far my favorite stance as it was most comfortable and efficient for my body!
One thing you will realize is that if you allow it, your body will instinctively guide you into the best position for your delivery, depending on the position of your baby in the birth canal!
Question for your provider: “What’s your favorite position to see moms give birth in?”
7: Doulas are literally the best thing since sliced bread!
A doula is a professional trained to provide emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period. A doula can help you with relaxation techniques, provide emotional support, and help you advocate for your wishes during birth. They are one of THE most important keys to having the birth that you want to have, no matter where you choose to give birth. Doulas don’t magically make your birth go how you want it to go - you have to do the work to get your desired outcomes. HOWEVER, doulas are a treasure trove of knowledge and helpful tools to walk alongside you and help you think through each decision you’ll need to make to help you get there.
And if you haven’t prepared for your postpartum period yet, let me tell you - life after childbirth is a whooooole adventure. And that is true EVERY. TIME. YOU GIVE BIRTH.
Do your future self a favor and tell your friends to skip diaper caddies for your shower, and set up a gofundme so you can have a postpartum doula. These marvelous humans help with laundry, light cooking and cleaning, and generally helping you keep your life somewhat functioning after giving birth puts you in bed for 6 weeks (as it should).
Question for your provider: "Do you work with doulas often? Are there any you recommend?"
8: You NEED to eat and drink during labor, if you want to.
Labor is a huge marathon and requires a lot of energy for your body to complete. It’s extremely important to keep her happy throughout such a big process! It's nice to have a good mix of light and hearty/ protein-filled snacks on hand to help you get through the day(s). And of course, keep plenty of water on hand. Even designate someone who's job it will be to help you remember to drink water!
9: Childbirth Education can help you learn incredible techniques for relaxing during labor!
For me, taking childbirth education classes has been a HUGE help in preparing for my births. They gave me a good idea what to expect for my body to go through, and gave me tools for handling each curve ball birth had for me. Even better, they gave MY HUSBAND tools for helping me get through each contraction so that he could be the incredible rock I needed to successfully birth each of my babies at home!
I have also LOVED seeing my clients who have learned to labor using hypnobirthing techniques. There is something profound about training your mind to properly frame the experience of labor which helps women to birth in the way that they were designed to!
Question for your provider: What are your favorite childbirth education classes for your clients to take?
So, there you have it, mama. You're armed with some new information that will hopefully help you feel more confident and excited about your birth!
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