This is a topic close to my heart…. As labor nurse and a mom who had 3 natural deliveries in a hospital, I get it! (My 4th baby was an induction with an epidural, and I love him just as much as I love the others, and that birthing experience was just as beautiful and powerful as the others)
We all want to feel in control of our birth, respected and heard, regardless of our personal choices. All women fantasize about what their birth will be like… what will labor feel like? How will I cope? How will dad cope? What will our baby look like….? This is a normal and natural process we go through to mentally and emotionally prepare for this life changing event.
If you are a low risk mother, planning a natural birth, meaning a delivery without medical interventions, or medications, but you also want the safety, and reassurance of the expert medical care a hospital can provide in case of an emergency, this blog is for you!
Personally, I had always planned for an all-natural, un-medicated birth in a hospital setting. The idea of a home birth sounded so romantic and personal but my youngest brother was born via emergency C-section for a prolapsed umbilical cord, so the fact that emergencies can happen without warning was a reality I had grown up with and I couldn’t live with myself if an emergency happened and we were delayed by even minutes, waiting to get to the hospital. But that is only my personal fears, feelings and perceptions. It is important that you acknowledge your own (and your partners) personal fears, feeling and perceptions. Your birth is YOUR birth and you should never be made to feel guilty or bad about whatever you choose.
If you are planning to deliver naturally in the hospital you need to be prepared for a natural delivery. This isn’t something you can or should enter without preparation; just as running a marathon requires preparation.
- Find a doctor or midwife who supports your decision, and with whom you have a connection. Interview your obstetrician or midwife the same as you will your pediatrician. Finding the right fit is important. We need to be able to trust that our provider understands our goals but also has the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our baby as a priority.
- Do your homework… take classes, read books and get as prepared as you can for labor, birth and breastfeeding. All these natural processes benefit from preparation, dedication and an understanding of the processes. SMH offers numerous classes to help you prepare; go to smh.com to review the classes offered and register.
- Write a birth plan. This is your chance to discuss openly with your partner and provider what you hope for, want and need. Be positive, list what you want, rather than what you don’t want.
- Decide on a support team. You may want to hire a doula or birth attendant. Someone whose sole purpose is to provide comfort and support through your labor and delivery, who is connected yet removed for the birth in a way dad, family and friends often are not. The nurses will guide and support you with experience and expertise and at SMH we actively match up the patient and nurse with the skill set and passion for each individual situation.
- Bring comfort items! For some its music, aroma therapy, massage or yoga…. What brings you comfort? Move! Practice all the breathing and stretching you learned in childbirth classes. Actively participating in helping the baby move through your birth canal will also help you cope with the pain.
- Review you birth plan with your nurse during the admission process. Being clear about your plans in a positive way will make your birth team more cohesive in achieving your goals.
- Firmly refuse pain medications. Ask that it not be offered to you and only provided, if you ask for it. As a family member that cares for you or a staff member that is caring for you, it can be hard to watch someone in pain, and often those that care for you want to fix it. It can be a challenge to cope with pain and reassure your loved ones that you’re okay at the same time.
- Remember that the ultimate goal of everyone should be a healthy and safe delivery for mom and baby. Do not resist intervention if it can prevent harm to you or your baby.
This may only be a day in a lifetime of days, but it is a day and a memory that will stay with you forever. Take lots of pictures, discuss your plans, perceptions and intentions with all involved, and ask questions. Knowledge is power! We all have the same goal, a healthy and happy mom and a healthy and happy baby.
Happy BIRTH day!