Education is the key when you’re preparing to labour and birth. Without education and knowledge you may find it hard to speak your truth and advocate for what you desire throughout your labour and birth journey. This knowledge will give you the confidence to ask the questions you need to ask in order to then make informed choices.
Having a supportive care provider that you have built a relationship with is a great place to start when thinking about informed consent. You do have birth choices in the medical system – you just need to know what they are and how to ask for them.
Here are some questions you may want to consider asking yourself before you have your baby that will help empower you to make informed decisions.
Do you want a private or hospital funded midwife to provide you with continuity of care?
Do you want a private Dr to advocate for your needs and choices throughout your journey or do you feel comfortable receiving care from a different midwife or Dr each antenatal visit?
Are you prepared and open to and meeting someone new each time you need to attend an appointment.
These are the questions that need to be answered first so that you can feel safe and confident in your decision making process.
Ultimately the choice is yours and yours to own. Start really thinking about what you want out of your pregnancy experience and start planning for the labour and birth you desire. I hear so often in my daily practice “I thought that birth was this way… and this way only”. This comes from how birth is portrayed in the media and the way our culture has evolved. We can get incredibly skewed in our perception of labour and birth by the unrealistic stories told in movies, on TV and the stories we hear from others.”
It’s time to start preparing for your own unique journey in the best way that is possible for you and your partner. Think about your wellbeing in both mind and body.
- Are your daily thoughts positive?
- Are you fuelling yourself with the best food and fluids for optimising your health and wellbeing for yourself and your baby, if not the it’s time to do some research.
Here are some tips and tricks you can discuss with your care provider to assist you in normalising a medicalised labour and birth.
Learn about oxytocin. This hormone of love is the driving force of your contraction during labour and will provide you with the feeling of safety, connection and love.
Enhance oxytocin effectiveness? Stay close to your partner, practice the magic of light touch massage, consciously connect with each other as a couple preparing to start your family. Nipple stimulation in a warm shower can assist in the natural production of oxytocin as can an environment protected from bright lights, loud noises, unnecessary conversation and interruption.
Understand the function of prostaglandins in preparing the body to labour. Sperm has a naturally high concentration of prostaglandins utilise this natural source in the later stages of your pregnancy if possible.
Stay Upright and in active birth positions.
Considering acupuncture for birth preparation it is a great form of natural preparation.
Learn about Acupressure for labour and birth and how effective it can be for preparing your body and as a pain relief technique in labour and birth.
Hydrate yourself with water or coconut water, a dehydrated body doesn’t work as efficiently as a hydrated one.
Work with your body not against it.
Partner Support – Ensure your partner has been taught and knows how to best support you during pregnancy, birth and beyond.
When a woman in labour has an epidural for what ever reason, they lay in bed in a slightly reclined position and loose some function of their lower limbs. This position can have a dramatic effect of repositioning the baby in a not so optimal position due to the changed position of the pelvis.
Laying on your side once the epidural is effective when possible will encourage a more optimal position for your baby.
You can also use a peanut ball with an effective epidural. Place the ball between your knees when laying on your side to mimic a squatting position opening the outlet of the pelvis.
In the 2nd stage of labour if possible get into a more upright position on the bed like all 4’s. This will aid the natural decent of the baby with gravity on your side.
Use a cold wet washer for cooling comfort measures during the 2nd stage of labour.
Use a warm compress on your perineum during 2nd stage to aid the stretch of the tissue during birth.
Ask your care provider to assist with opening the pelvis using the hip press technique during 2nd stage to assist with opening your pelvic outlet.