- Do not listen to the “horror” birth stories. Ask friends, family, and strangers to refrain from sharing negative experiences. Instead, read about positive birth stories, there’s plenty out there! (ex. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth- there’s numerous positive birth stories inside the book)
- Become Educated. Learn as much as you possibly can and make sure that it is evidence based research. Read about the risks and benefits to different procedures, medications, and ways to birth your baby!
- Make sure your care provider supports the birth you have envisioned. If they are not supportive, speak to other care providers and see if it is possible to transfer your care.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and visualizations. These will be vital during your labour.
- Create a birth plan. Knowing your options and voicing your wishes is so important to make you feel like you are in control of your birth!
- Be flexible. Although you have created a birth plan, understand that things may change and do NOT feel defeated if things do not go according to plan. No matter how you birth your baby, you are still a rockstar and an amazing mother!
- Learn to trust your body. “My body knows how to birth this baby, just as my body knew how to grow this baby”
- Stay active throughout your pregnancy. Exercise increases endorphins and serotonin, which helps to reduce anxiety and pain during pregnancy and birth. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the fitness level of an expecting mother can result in a shorter labour, fewer medical interventions, and less exhaustion during labour. The more active you are, the less fear you should have!
- Surround yourself with a positive support network. This includes your partner, your family, and your close friends. Do not be afraid to ask them for help!
- Hire a doula! A doula is a compassionate and professional support person who will come alongside you and your partner to provide you with emotional, physical, and informational support during your pregnancy and birth. She can help to reduce the anxiety that can sometimes be associated with childbirth.
Establishing your birth team will be one of the must crucial steps as you plan the birth of your baby! Whether you decide to have a midwife, family doctor, or OB, it is important for them to support the way you wish to birth your baby. Research shows that having continuous labor support clinically benefits both women, infants, resulting in less use of medications, interventions, and caesarean sections. It has also been proven that women with a doula in attendance tend to have shorter births, higher rates of breastfeeding, improved mother-infant bonding, shorter hospital stays, and an overall better birth experience!
Chatham-Kent Birth Services offers continuous labour support to both women and their partners! We work together with partners to help them comfort mom and to teach them techniques to help with natural pain management.