In order to have a positive birth experience, many new parents are deciding to “go with the flow,” believing that this will keep them relaxed and positive by remaining flexible. However, it’s still important to do some prep before birth! Getting educated about what happens during birth, asking questions, expressing any lingering fears/concerns to your birth team, and discussing higher level birth preferences with your partner will make the process a lot smoother. Like all big decisions, especially for coordinating birth, it’s important to do research. Here are a few tips to make sure you remain in YOUR flow:
When it comes to birth, many successful and outspoken moms-to-be surprisingly don’t ask questions. Not asking questions is like running a marathon without being prepared. To avoid being overwhelmed in any stage and quickly agreeing to unnecessary interventions, ask questions and know your options–ask as many questions as you can before as well as during the labor.
Consider Hiring a Doula
Hospitals are busy and overcrowded, so hiring a doula can facilitate the birth process. The doula can help ease the pressure on the birth partner and keep them fresh for the moments closer to birth. The doula can also help with little things like paperwork and the bigger things – like decisions that come up in the delivery room. A doula helps with preparation and relaxation for both you and your partner by providing information and keeping you aware. Some studies have shown that continuous support from doulas during childbirth may be associated with decreased use of pain relief medication during labor, incidences of C-sections, length of labor, and negative childbirth experiences.
Take a Childbirth Class
Attending a childbirth class will help to inform and prepare you for what to expect during labor and delivery. Learn more about baby’s development, warning signs that something may be wrong, breathing and realization techniques, and pain relief options during labor. Additionally, it will help you familiarize yourself with medical terms and common hospital protocol.
Look out for your own best interest
One major appeal of the “go with the flow” mentality is the stress-free aspect. However, the more information you have going into your birth and the more control you have during your birth, hopefully the more relaxed you will be and the better your birth will go. For example, educate yourself on the signs of labor and your options for how you can labor while you are in the hospital (i.e. -the fact that you can move around when you want to, or that you don’t have to lie down to give birth). With more knowledge, whether it be from a doula, a class, or personal research, you will feel more empowered throughout the birth experience. Birth is an amazing experience. Take it into your own hands and go through it at your flow.
Stephanie Heintzeler is a German educated midwife, US Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor. She owns The New York Doula Concierge with a team of 20 doulas. Find out more at www.thenewyorkdoula.com
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