Birthing your baby is a life altering moment. You have had around nine months to prepare for this day. Planning YOUR birth space really is like planning your wedding venue. How will you make it CALM, SAFE and PRIVATE? What will your birth space look like? Where are you planning to birth your baby? Will it be at home with a private midwife, supported by your partner? Do you want your inner circle of close, supportive family and friends along side you and your partner? Are you wanting a water birth or to use water immersion in labour? Do you plan to birth in a birth centre with a midwife you have come to know and trust? Maybe you are planning to birth at a private hospital with your obstetrician present? Or maybe you’re going mainstream at your local public hospital and may or may not know the midwife who will be supporting you through your birth? You could be thinking welcoming your new little one via a planned caesarean. As you can see, there are many options on birth space and care provider.
Once you have thought about where your birth space may be, you can then start to think about and create how that space may look and feel. It’s a good idea to discuss with your partner and care provider what things you may like in this space so they can help facilitate these for you, to help create a CALM, SAFE, PRIVATE space for you to birth your baby. Here are some ideas for you to create a birth space that will help promote your birth hormones and “labour land”.
LIGHTING – Create a birth space with mood lighting. You can set up your home with low lighting for early labour to help induce oxytocin and melatonin to really help establish your labour. If its daytime, you may like to draw the curtains and create a darkened space with your mood lighting, much like a day spa where you would go to be pampered. Think scented candles for at home, battery operated candles for use in hospitals, fairy lights, lamps. Ideally warm yellow light gives off a calmer ambience, helping to induce a sense of relaxation where you can focus on the sensations happening within.
MUSIC – Choose music that is relaxing. Spa type music is often helpful, especially in the latent first stage of labour as there is no real beginning or end to the music. It is continuous, which helps you forget about time and allows you to focus on breathing through your contractions. There is generally no sudden change or talking in this style of music which may interrupt your “labour land”.
SMELL – Aromatherapy can be very useful during labour. You may like to diffuse essential oils like clary sage or lavender. These oils may assist in establishing your labour and help you to relax. You may like to put some of these oils on a cloth or your clothes so that you can smell them up close while you are labouring. You may also like a massage with scented oil. At home, you may have your favourite scented candles burning. If you are transferring to a birth centre or hospital, you may like to take your own pillow or something that has your partner’s smell on it that you love. Think aftershave, perfume, deodorant. These familiar smells help with oxytocin production which is important in establishing your labour and contractions.
VISUAL – When you begin to labour, you may find having visuals to focus on helpful. At home, you may have the nursery set up. Walk in there, look around, imagine your new baby sleeping in the cot, smell the freshly washed baby blanket that will soon be wrapped around your baby. Walk into the lounge room, sit on the lounge, soon you will be sitting there nursing your newborn. Have your favourite photos surround you. Maybe you may have word signs like love, family or your baby’s name placed around the house. You could have these lit up with fairy lights. You may like to have affirmations or favourite quotes placed around to help you focus and remind you what an amazing labour of love you are going through right now. Remember these can be taken with you if you are going to a birth centre or hospital. Maybe you could have a bouquet of flowers, the ones you picked out in your visualisation, in a prominent place in your home, a reminder of the changes unfolding and opening within.
Remember, be flexible. While it is fun to plan and create your ultimate birth space, every birth is unique. Some labours take time to establish and you will have time to create your birth space how you had planned, others may happen quickly and you may not have time to create your envisaged birth space, and that’s ok. However your birth unfolds, remember these three words for your birth space – CALM, SAFE and PRIVATE.