Hey there mama! So, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information (or lack thereof) about giving birth. But don’t worry, I’ve been there and have some tips for you!
Here are 10 things your doctor probably didn’t tell you about giving birth that will help you feel more prepared and in control.
(And hey, if these pique your interest, bring these up to your doctor at the next appointment!)
You don’t have to give birth in the hospital.
Giving birth at home or in a birth center can provide a more relaxed and intimate setting for the birth of your baby. It allows you to have more control over the birthing process and can provide a more personalized experience. This option is safe for low-risk pregnancies and has similar or better outcomes compared to hospital births. If you need some recommendations for some amazing home birth midwives or birth centers close to you, send me an email at email@example.com and I can get those to you!
Question for your doctor: Would he/she support you and work with a home birth midwife if you decided to go this route?
Epidurals are not the only form of pain relief available during labor.
Epidurals are a common form of pain relief during labor, but they are not the only option available. Other forms of pain relief include nitrous oxide, spinal blocks, and natural methods such as counterpressure, visualization, hydrotherapy, relaxation practices, acupuncture and massage. These options can provide a more natural and less invasive form of pain relief.
Question for your doctor: What other pain relief options do they see often that’s effective other than epidural?
You can bring your own music or sounds to the delivery room (and twinkle lights if that’s what you envision).
Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions, and it can help create a calm and soothing environment for you during labor. You can bring your own playlist, a sound machine, or even your own voice to help you relax and focus during labor.
Question for your doctor: Can I bring music and/or twinkle lights to the birthing room?
Birthing pools can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during labor.
Warm water can help ease the pain and discomfort of contractions, and it also allows you to move around more easily, which can help the baby move down the birth canal. Birthing pools can also provide a sense of privacy and intimacy during labor. It can also help to lower stress hormones and increase endorphins, which can make labor more manageable. Warm showers are also a great way in early labor to relax so your body is able to rest up for transition.
Question for your doctor: Are there birth pools at the hospital or another way I can use water to relax?
You will probably poop during labor (and that’s okay!).
It’s a normal and natural part of the birthing process, and your nurses and doctors are used to it. Don’t let this concern hold you back, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Birthing positions – there are many different positions that can help make the birthing process easier.
There are various birthing positions that can help make the birthing process easier, such as standing up while leaning over supported, squatting, on your hands and knees, in a lunge, even lying on your side or leaning back. Experiment with different positions to find what feels most comfortable for you.
Question for your doctor: In what positions are you willing to help me birth my baby?
I’ve birthed my babies in various positions and the one I ended in wasn’t always the one I started in. That’s why it is good to listen to your body and nice to be able to move around during baby’s decent if that’s what your body is telling you to do. I’ve supported and photographed mamas in various positions and locations for that matter.
Doulas are a great support and aren’t only used for birth.
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 advocate for your wishes during birth. I love being able to encourage, pray over and offer support for my mamas and their families when I’m hired as their birth doula and I know some great postpartum doulas!
Question for your doctor: Do you work with doulas often? Are there any you don’t recommend?
You can eat and drink during labor, if you want to.
It’s a good idea to have some protein when you first think you’re in labor. As you progress along you will not feel as hungry but it’s important to continue to have some protein and stay hydrated to help keep your energy levels up. It’s important to listen to your body during labor, and to make sure you are well hydrated and nourished.
Question for your doctor : Under what circumstances will I not be allowed to eat or drink in labor?
Cesarean sections are not as scary as they seem.
C-sections are a common form of delivery and can be planned or unplanned. Your doctor and nurses will take great care of you and your baby during the procedure. It’s important to remember that a c-section is a surgical procedure and there are risks associated with it, but it can also save the lives of both mother and baby in certain situations. If the baby and mama are still doing well, most often than not, a c-section is not medically necessary even with a long labor.
Question for your doctor: In what circumstances do you perform c-sections?
Birth Photography is an important aspect of the emotional recovery process.
Having the birth of your baby documented can play a vital role in how well you are able to processes your whole labor and birth. More often than not, I am told by my mamas that they didn’t even know about a lot of the things I was able to capture and document during their baby’s birth, and that having the photographs have helped them feel empowered, have closure and helped with bonding with their new baby.
Question for your doctor: Am I allowed to have a professionally trained birth photographer with me to help me process my birth experience?
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! And I’ve created a checklist for you to print out and take with you to your next appointment.
If you’re still looking for a La Mirada Birth Photographer or Birth Doula (I cover all of Orange County, Long Beach, Los Angeles County and parts of the IE), click here to see my portfolio of Birth images.
I hope reading Birth Beyond the Basics: 10 Secrets for a More Comfortable Delivery has given you some solid ideas.