In your pregnancy when you started thinking about your birth you visualised this ‘perfect’ birth of candles lit in the background, your favourite music playing, your partner holding your hand as you slowly breathe out your baby to the ‘I am strong’ mantra playing over and over in your head.
That’s how you prepared, that’s how you programmed your mind to think of that day and there is nothing wrong with that visualisation. You did everything from attending every prenatal yoga class to HypnoBirthing , to preparing a very detailed list of your birth preferences but then you went into labour by a trickle of a water with no sign of a contraction in sight. The hours pass by and nothing! And you get anxious and are mindful that you’re on a clock that in your mind feels like it’s ticking like a time bomb to have this baby.
So your birth ended being induced, the waves of contraction over contraction was too much to bare and you asked for much needed relief in an epidural which immobilised you so the active labour you dreamed of is a bit out of reach and then you end up with your legs in stirrups with a cheering squad going ‘push’ and you feel as though you’ve lost all control and give in to the powers at hand to get your baby out for you.
How did this cascade out of control you ask? How come your left holding this baby now and feeling like all the energy has been sucked away from you? Your mothering wasn’t supposed to start out like this!
You did everything you needed to prepare for this day! How did this birth turn out completely opposite to what you imagined? Well from my own experience in having a birth quite similar to this and from the countless women I have worked with I am here to tell you that this birthing journey may have been prevented or at least you could have mentally prepared yourself better for the day and the journey you were about to embark on.
I have been blessed to guide women through many birthing experiences, some very natural and some with quite high intervention. The common theme among them all is that they were able to walk away from their births recounting it as a positive memory rather than a traumatic day in their lives.
So what did they do to prepare for a Positive Birth? These are the 5 things that I recommend every women do prenatally to enable herself to have a Positive Birthing experience…
- Find a supportive care provider
A care provider will have a great deal of influence on how your birthing day plays out. Your medical care provider, whether that’s your OB or Midwife will be the one in charge of your care and he/she will have a major impact on what if any medical interventions you will need during your birth based on their policies. If you come to your care provider with your birth preferences and they seem uncomfortable with your choices for your birth, you then need to ask WHY? If their recommendation isn’t evidenced based then you need to question that! If you feel there are too many red flags in your way than you have the right to choose a care provider that better suits you and your choices. Do not think that on the day your care provider will suddenly be in line with what your wanting, as most likely that will not be the case.
- Get your partner educated on birth!
This is such an important aspect of your birth. You might think that because you’re the one birthing your baby that he doesn’t need to know the ins and outs of the birthing process, your birthing choices and the evidence behind common medical interventions but you are WRONG! Your partner has a HUGE part to play on your birthing day and if you include him fully and wholly in the process prenatally he will be your best advocate, your greatest support and your partner will feel at ease when you go into labour that they will be relaxed which in turn will make you relaxed.
- Get YOURSELF educated!!
Don’t just go with the flow attitude and expect your day to be bliss. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. Take the time and money to invest in childbirth education classes, just like you did in buying the flashiest pram on the market. You not only need to be educated on the physiology of your birth hormones so that you can enable them to aid you to progress in your labour, but also learn about what hinders those same hormones to give yourself the best chances of having a safer and easier birthing day. Childbirth education will also teach you how to relax the body prior to your birthing day so it’s a natural instinctual response when you go into labour. And one of the most important things you will learn in your classes is about your choices in birth because you have so many and unfortunately you are not told your evidenced based options if you don’t seek them out. If you are not aware of your choices than you don’t have any and that can completely change your birth!!
- Watch birthing videos with your partner.
Now I’m not talking about One born every minute type of videos. I am talking about birthing videos that depict what birth truly looks like. It will give you the confidence to see that many women have done this before you and that there is nothing different between their ability to birth their babies to you. It will also show you the difference between early labour to active labour and the way a woman vocalizes, moans and becomes very primal in her labour. This will show you and your partner that this is normal for these birth sounds to happen and will only enable you to release more for you and the baby.
- The most crucial component of having a positive birth is the way that you FEEL on your birthing day and to let go of the expectations that you’ve held for yourself.
Surround yourself with people that make you feel loved and cared for. Yes you’ve had it set in your mind that you wouldn’t get an epidural but there is NOTHING wrong if you did get one as long as it was an informed choice that you made and you didn’t feel like you were being pressured or stressed into anything. Remember this…This is YOUR BIRTH!
I remember that my biggest lesson that I learned during my first birth was that birth is a mental mind game and it doesn’t just take great physical endurance to get you through. You could be in the greatest physical shape but if your mind is not ready and prepared for this day than it will knock you down. Mental preparation is key to a good birthing experience.
Remember that you are strong and you are capable of making this a beautiful memory to hold on to but it is up to you to do that.
*** Great Resource to check out to tone your mind and body in preparation for pregnancy, birth and postpartum ….