Birthing certainly can be an amazing, empowering, beautiful, magical experience, It can also be very painful, long or traumatic in some instances. I highly recommend reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth if you can get a copy, and if you are planning to birth vaginally to watch birthing videos – there are heaps on you-tube – to help prepare mentally for the task ahead!
Some things to consider with birthing are – You may want to include your preferences in a “Birth Plan/Guide”
- Who will be attending the birth? Do you want just the father or other parent of your baby present, would you like a close friend, relative, or your own mother there as well. Having two support people can be good for your support people to support each other (for bathroom or snack breaks, or to take turns holding you up in a position you feel most comfortable, or applying pressure to your back) . You may also wish to hire a Doula as a support person.
- What positions do you think you might want to birth in? It might sound silly but have a think and practise in different birthing positions, find how you feel most comfortable. Consider also the assistance of gravity in birthing – laying on your back may not be the easiest way to birth, consider on your knees with your arms supporting you on a bed, chair or birthing ball. You might want to use a birthing chair to squat and push down. Some women push while standing and then lower themselves to the floor to birth. You might want to birth in a birthing pool. Be open and flexible to what your body tells you, but if you feel comfortable discuss how to think you might want to labour and birth with your birthing support person(s).
- What are your personal boundaries? If you are birthing in a hospital environment you may want to consider your own personal boundaries, around things like who and how someone touches you, when and why your Care Provider does an internal examination, think about how you feel about having additional people in the room observing you birthing (example – in a training hospital) Be clear with your Care Providers about what you feel comfortable with and open up that discussion early on in your pregnancy and also discuss with your Birth Support Partner(s).
- What are your expectations post-birth? In the moments immediately after your baby is born you might have a strong feeling about what you would like to take place – for me it was if baby was born healthy and there was no emergencies she was to be placed wet and naked onto my chest immediately and the cord was not to be clamped or cut until my say-so and that I would wait until the cord stopped pulsating before the cord was cut. You may be offered a syntocinon injection to induce contractions to speed up the delivery of the placenta. You may also wish to see or take home your placenta after you have birthed it. I clearly stated that my baby was to remain with me at all times unless there was an emergency and in which case I would be informed where she was taken and why. Unfortunately this does not always go without saying and sometimes healthy babies are taken into another room away from their mother to be cleaned, weighed, measured and receive their Vit K and Hep B injections. So I suggest being very clear about your expectations as they may be different to your hospitals standard procedure.
- Are you having a c-section? You might want to consider leading up to your baby’s birth setting up your home to avoid having to bend or reach for baby items – have all your nappies, and changes of clothes, wipes, dummies, wash clothes, nappy creams etc at about table height to make coming home with baby a bit easier on you. Consider how you will get around for the weeks following your baby’s birth as driving is not recommended for 6 weeks post c-section. A lot of mothers find high-top “granny panties” most comfortable to wear post birth until the scar heals. Also consider your expectations post-birth the same as for a vaginal birth, where will baby be while you are sewn up, are you particular about who holds baby while you are recovering.