I’ve been very blessed to have wonderful birth experiences in my life. I’m not here to tell these stories (unless you’d especially like to know! Please comment below) but I’d like to help others to have a positive outlook and to banish any blues they might be feeling in anticipation of birth.
First of all, I’d definitely recommend these two books:
>Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
>Stand and Deliver! And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth by Emma Mahony
Have a read and tell me what you think in the comments below.
The main concepts that have helped me (from the books and my own experience) are as follows:
- Birth is a natural process, your body is well adapted to deal with it. You don’t necessarily need doctors and a hospital to get through. (Please don’t get me wrong- hospitals and doctors are there to help if there are complications and also help to minimise infections at the time of birth but they’re not NECESSARY for a successful birth). I have used both for my natural births and am very grateful (in most cases) for the support and help I’ve received. I guess I want to highlight the fact that a lot of the time a mother-to-be will try to get to the hospital as soon as possible to be looked after by the midwives but I’d say try to stay at home as much as possible, keeping in mind you are well able to deal with the process (should it begin early) and it will set you in good stead for the rest of the birth.
- You’ll be able to ‘listen’ instinctively to your body’s signals more easily if you don’t accept drugs to numb the area. I mean the transition and pushing stage is so much easier.
- When the midwives/doctors decide to induce you to ‘quicken the process’ realise that this could be the beginning of a slippery slope towards a caesarean.
- A caesarean birth is ‘quicker’ on the day of birth (it is more and more common for a woman to be relieved if a caesarean has been planned) but it is still a MAJOR operation which takes weeks to recover from. It is more difficult to breastfeed after a caesarean and will take longer to get back to normal life than with a natural birth.
- I’m a firm believer that the MOST IMPORTANT factor to a positive birth is a positive mindset! Honestly, if you can manage that, you’re in for a beautiful and empowering ride.
- Hypno-birthing, Water- birth, Home-birth or the use of alternative medicine like essential oils can really enhance the labour experience and help you look forward to the big day.
- Choose a hands-on birth partner who wants to be there! This might sound obvious but these days many women feel that their husbands are present but useless, if you find this is the case do not hesitate to find a close girlfriend to help. Or, if it’s within your budget, consider hiring a doula. These are usually women who are not necessarily trained midwives, but assist the mother with everything during pregnancy and during and after the birth.
- Stay active and upright once the labour starts. Go outside for a long walk. Make sure you carry on eating and even sip from a high-glucose drink to keep energy levels up, Too many women don’t eat once labour begins and lose out of options when they run out of energy. Nap if you need to! The body is a funny old thing and you’ll find that in some situations labour can stop and start. Use the breaks to rest and eat and as long as you’re upright and stay active it should start off again pretty soon. See Ina May’s birth book for some exceptions to this rule.
- Keep in mind The Sphincter Rule: You have to be as relaxed as you would be if you were doing a poo in front of the people present in the room! See Ina May’s book for more details.
- Keep on repeating positive affirmations throughout pregnancy and labour. Some examples: I am strong and beautiful; My body knows what to do and I will trust God, the universe (or put in whatever you believe in here) and my body to get through this beautifully; I’m blessed to be able to meet my baby very soon…I’m sure you get the idea!
So, I hope you’ve found this post helpful! As always, please contact me if you have any comments or suggestions.
Peace and Love,