Over the years many people have asked me the question; what do you think helps prepare couples to have a natural birth?
I would have to say that there are five main points that should be considered.
1. Get educated.
Birth information and education used to be given and handed down from our mothers and the elders of the village, if you like. Today in our society we rely on classes to educate women and their partners through the birth and early parenting process. Most hospitals offer classes and groups but they can be over crowed and biased. There are a variety of excellent independent childbirth education organisations or individual childbirth & parenting educators. Seek them out.
2. Prepare your body and mind.
Labour and birth can be a marathon and it is good to do regular gentle exercise, eat well, and drink plenty of water during pregnancy. Make time to visualise a positive birth experience, make a regular time to relax and just be present to your baby and the pregnancy, every day. See a Chiropractor or Osteopath regularly to make sure your body is in good alignment. Focusing on nothing else but your breath for a period of time each day, is relaxing and grounding and you can recall this skill and use it in your labour.
3. Hire a Doula.
A doula is a professional support person who cares for the birthing woman and her partner before, during and after the birth of their baby. They offer information, guidance and emotional support to both mum and dad. Doulas help parents to be, navigate the hospital and provide continuity of care. Research proves that having a doula increases birth satisfaction and lowers intervention rates.
4. Make a birth plan or wish list.
Having a wish list or idea of what you want, is a great way for you to clarify your birth vision for yourself, your partner, support people and care providers. It’s an opportunity to gather as much information as you can in order to make informed decisions that are right for you and your family. Keep your birth plan to one page; so its an easy read and be concise and clear in what it is you want. This is your baby’s birthday and it’s your birth experience, take charge!
5. Engage the services of a supportive caregiver.
I am always perplexed by the amount of women who do not research their obstetrician, midwife, and or hospital. This is really important to do at the beginning of your pregnancy. Some people discover late in the pregnancy that they have accidentally engaged the services of a care provider who does not match their birth philosophy. Be aware!