Choose Your Lead Care Provider Carefully
There are many options when choosing who you would like to care for you. Many healthy women choose to have a midwife support them during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal time. There are options called ‘caseload’ or ‘continuity of care’ where the woman can have the same midwife care for her through her pregnancy and birth. You may like to hire an independent midwife that can care for you at home, birth centre or hospital. And of course, if there are risks, or if complications arise or surgery is required, then obstetricians are the specialists to turn to.
Know Your Options And Make Informed Decisions
Becoming aware of the options available within our mainstream maternity care is a good idea no matter where you plan to birth. Women who are involved in the decision-making process regarding their care report greater satisfaction levels. Parents don’t need to ‘know everything’ before labour but practising good communication skills will help you to feel heard.
If you need to make a decision about your care; consider using the acronym ‘BRAIN’ to help you.
B (Benefits)… What Are The Benefits? How Is This Helpful?
R (Risks)… What Are The Risks? Can Anything Go Wrong?
A (Alternatives)… Are There Any Alternatives? Can I Try Something Else?
I (Intuition)… What Is My Intuition Telling Me?
N (Nothing)… What If I Wait A Bit Longer To Decide Or Do Nothing?
Make Sure You Have Good Support
Birth companions can play a significant role in the mother’s experience of birth. Most women will go deep within themselves as they call on all their inner resources to birth their baby. Feeling safe and well supported enables this deepening and opening to be enriched and encourages the birthing journey to be as smooth as possible. If you don’t have a partner, consider asking your mother/sister/friend to support you or better yet, hire a skilled birth support person such as a doula. A doula provides emotional, physical and practical support as well as providing information/education (during pregnancy, birth and postpartum). Having continual support from a trained doula can make labour shorter and easier whilst decreasing the likelihood of interventions.
Know How To Create A Conducive Environment For Birth
For birth to proceed normally, the woman needs to activate the ‘mammalian’ part of her brain. For this part of the brain to effectively function; the birth space would ideally have dim lighting, quietness, warmth and privacy. Think about how you’d set up a space for massage or an intimate evening. This kind of environment is very conducive to labour flowing along nicely and all the right mix of hormones being released.
Know How Active Birth Helps
Keeping active in birth comes instinctively to a lot of women. Movement helps to reduce pain. It gives the mind a focus and disperses pain in the body. By moving around, this also helps the baby to find the best position (to press against the cervix and help it dilate and also to make its way into the pelvis and birth canal).
Try bouncing on a birth ball (yoga ball) or circling your hips. Belly dance is another great way to help your body open. Try large circles with your hips, figure eight movements or pelvic circling.
Walking and keeping upright are also great for helping labour establish and it keeps gravity on your side! Upright positions or hands and knees can increase the pelvis opening by up to 30% compared to lying your back. Amazing hey?
Find Your Voice
Many women find that vocalising during labour is very helpful. There is a strong relationship between our mouth and our cervix/yoni. Having a loose jaw and mouth means we are more likely able to open at birth.
A loose mouth and deep sounds will help you open beautifully. Try it with movement and bring focus to your breath and you’re well on your way to a more natural and enjoyable birthing experience!