11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Birth (#1)

Here in the beginnings of my blog, I thought it would make sense to “get back to basics” and help expectant parents think through some important things at the front end of the pregnancy.

I'm going to start a series of articles breaking down the following list that I drew up for a “Meet the Birth Pros” event for expectant parents in my community. We'll call it "11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Birth" and is compiled from not only my own experience and knowledge but also pulling from NYC’s own Choices in Childbirth and Lamaze’s Healthy Birth Practices

  1. Take some time to envision your ideal labor (below)
  2. Consider the birthplace best for your situation – hospital, birth center, or home
  3. Create your “dream birth team”
  4. Prepare your Body: Focus on Nutrition, Exercise & Bodywork
  5. Prepare your Mind: Get a realistic view of birth and understand it as a natural, healthy process
  6. Prepare your Mind & Body: Take a comprehensive childbirth education class that includes newborn care and breastfeeding
  7. Listen to & trust your body – it will guide you
  8. Allow labor to begin on its own & avoid interventions that are not medically necessary
  9. Avoid giving birth on your back, and follow your body’s urges to push
  10. Keep mother and baby together, and with lots of skin-to-skin – it’s best for mother, baby, and breastfeeding
  11. Postpartum: Arm yourself with support and resources (postpartum doula, lactation consultant, moms' groups, etc.)

Today we’ll cover:

1) Take some time to envision your ideal labor

It is very helpful and important toward a positive birth experience to consider what your “dream” birth would be if you were able to call all the shots. Some ways you could do this are:

  • Discuss with your beloved (my favorite word to use in class for spouse or partner), a friend, or family member
  • Create a “vision” board or collage, including images, quotes, words that resonate for you for birth
  • Sketch, paint, or sculpt
  • Write a song

Some questions to help guide this exploration:

  • Where am I?
  • What would my environment be like? Lighting? Aesthetics? Smells? Consider all your senses.
  • Would I have music playing?
  • Who is in the room with me? Be specific; think about how you feel when each of them enters the room.
  • What do those around me do or say, if anything?
  • What would I be doing?
  • What would I want to eat and drink?
  • How long would it last?
  • How do I feel?
  • What would I be thinking?
  • At the time of baby’s birth, what would I want to do in those moments?

Keep in mind that there is no one “right” birth vision – just as every woman is unique and brings her own life experiences to her birth, every woman will envision and prefer something different.

 

Also, as part of this exploration, you may also want to explore how you are feeling emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually presently—prenatally. How do you feel, what are you thinking, what is your mental state as you approach the day in which you will meet your baby? Do you feel confident, relaxed? Or do you feel apprehensive, scared? None of the above and other things? We will do a deeper exploration of this in a subsequent post on #4 – trusting birth as a healthy, natural, normal process.

 

Please know that I am not suggesting that your birth will look anything like what you envision. There are many pieces to the organic, 2-body puzzle of a process of birth that remove a great deal of control, so that it would be naïve to guarantee such a thing.  However, taking the time to consider these specifics can be a compelling exploration toward making intentional, critical choices for a better birth.

 

For further study: