Preparing for a Beautiful Birth: Empowerment and Education
The birth of your child will be one of the most important and memorable experiences of your lifetime! It can be an empowering and amazing experience that sets the tone for your earliest days with your new baby so it is worth the time and effort to learn about all of your childbirth options.
Education Is Key
What kind of birth do you envision for yourself? What is most important to you? How will you feel best supported to move through this amazing and challenging journey?
Learning the details about your choices and options is the best way to start this journey into parenthood. So, start reading! Take a childbirth education course, enjoy prenatal yoga classes where you can connect with other new moms, take a breastfeeding course, watch documentaries.
The more information you have about pregnancy and the birthing process the more empowered and confident you will be to make the best choices for your body and your baby.
Find Your Team
Choosing a clinical provider and settling on your birth support team will be the most important decisions that you make. Clinical expertise and physical and emotional support are vital ingredients to a satisfying birth experience. Take the time to interview different doctors or midwives and go with professionals who come recommended. Don’t feel shy about switching from your regular Gynecologist to an Obstetrician who is a better fit. Ask lots of questions, go with your gut and find someone you feel comfortable with, confident in, and who you feel listens to your concerns and communicates clearly. Clinical skills are key, but finding a care provider who is also warm and supportive are necessary for the right birthing environment.
A doula is a fantastic and indispensable asset to many birthing scenarios. The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. She often works with women who want a “natural birth” (no epidural) but increasingly, many women hire a doula to help navigate the hospital protocols and ease the institutional clinical experience. Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily, and the rate of Cesarean births are much lower.
Plan your Birth Environment
Choosing the right birth environment is extremely important. Many hospitals have similar protocols, so the hospital is a secondary choice in relation to your care provider. The vast majority of women in the United States are birthing in hospitals. In addition, free-standing birth centers–not attached to a hospital–as well as, home births, are growing in popularity. Exploring these options can provide additional choices for women who are low-risk and have healthy pregnancies.
Birth doesn’t always go the way that we expect it to. Sometimes things take unexpected turns and we need to adjust accordingly and in the moment. Remaining flexible, educated, empowered and supported are the best ways to navigate any scenario that unfolds.
Finally, enjoy this special time as you experience the last weeks of pregnancy and prepare for the birthing process! They are sure to be memorable, exciting, scary and amazing days. Nurture yourself–both body and mind–to prepare for the role of a lifetime and to happily welcome your new addition!