I’m guessing that when you think about the upcoming birth of your baby there is some anxiety, or even fear? Your friends and family are all telling you how horrible labour is, and you are starting to realise that there is a whole lot of labour and birth ‘stuff’ that you don’t know about. You may be wondering about the pain, or your recovery afterward and the changes to your relationship.
Well, as a Midwife I can tell you that you can actually have a calm and positive birth experience, one that you can share with your newly pregnant friends that actually gets them excited for their own labour and birth! How great would that be? I am passionate about spreading the word of positive birth so that women just like yourself can actually look forward your birth experience. Emerging from your birth feeling emotionally satisfied and happy will give you a great start on your journey into motherhood. Here are my top 5 tips for achieving a positive labour and birth.
- Prepare – Preparation is absolutely key! You wouldn’t run a marathon without some physical and mental preparation and expect a good outcome would you? The same goes for your birth. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about labour and birth, the more prepared you will feel. As Diana Korte said, ‘If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.’ Read and research as much as you possibly can. There is much more to labour and birth than just contractions, dilating and inductions. There ARE options and you do have choices, but you need to know your options in order to explore them.
- Support – Good support during labour is something that is often undervalued. You need to know that your birth partner, obstetrician and midwives are 100% there for you during this time, and that they respect your choices and decisions regarding yourself and your baby. Surround yourself with people who will advocate for you, and make sure that you discuss how you would like to be supported with them. Your care providers should make you feel safe, valued and cared for. If your current care provider isn’t making you feel this way you can always consider finding another one. For extra support you could even look into hiring a doula if you feel that this is right for you.
- A Positive Mindset – Try not to focus on those horror stories that you are no doubt hearing on a frequent basis! Your birth will not be like anyone else’s. Each and every birth that I attend is different, just as every woman and baby is unique. Spend time reading positive birth stories online, or perhaps even watch a couple of positive birth videos so that you can see that birth can be a beautiful event in your life.
- A Birth Plan – Birth plans can have a bad reputation but I think they have many benefits as long as they are flexible. It is important to consider the ‘what ifs’ and to make a plan for different scenarios. Your birth plan could be a few dot points or 2 pages long, whatever is right for you. The beauty of a personalised birth plan is that it ensures that you have researched your options, discussed them with your partner and caregiver, and made informed decisions that you are happy with.
- Relax – Once you have put the previous steps into place its time to relax and let your body get on with what it is designed to do. Birthing is an instinctual part of our physiology, and we need to trust that when the time comes our body will know what to do. There is an element of releasing and letting go to the process of labour that is essential to having a positive birth experience. There is always going to be aspects of your labour and birth that you can’t control, so its important that you make peace with this and know that you will calmly meet whatever turn your birthing path takes.
No matter how your baby is born, you will always know that you did your absolute best with the circumstances you were given. Above all, remember that birth can be a truly beautiful experience, where you feel supported, empowered and calm as you bring your baby into the world. Who doesn’t want that?
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.” ~ Jane Weideman
Click here to learn more about Adelaide Hypnobirthing and how they can help you achieve a positive birth experience and also how you can join Hannah’s upcoming Childbirth Preparation classes.