An unmedicated childbirth is something you have to prepare for. I have written down my seven tips to help you succeed. Sure, there are surprise circumstances where labor progresses so rapidly you have no choice, but in general if you have a “traditional” labor that takes a bit of time you need to prepare to do it right!
Here are a few ways to help you prepare for childbirth:
Start in the first trimester-
Prep your body from the day you find out you are pregnant by taking care of it. Focus on your nutrition; limit your stress and things you can say no to, rest more, and prepare your heart and mind for your baby. Recognize stressors and things that give you anxiety:
- Can those things be eliminated prior to delivery?
- Could the tasks be completed prior to delivery?
- Can you ask for help in those pressing areas?
Enroll in a prenatal yoga class, ask for prenatal or postnatal massages as part of your registry. Practice personal time to clear the mental cobwebs. If you are able and have a healthy pregnancy, get walking. Walking in pregnancy helps breathing, relaxation, tensions, and flexibility.
Childbirth classes and education are amazing. They help a parent understand what is going to happen, and what you can do about it. You can learn it all at a birth class. Ask questions and get involved! These classes educate a mother and partner on what to expect during labor and delivery, what to expect hormonally, what happens after birth, and how to handle different interventions.
Choose your partner/team-
Where do you want to give birth? Who do you want in the room? Who is a part of your birthing team?
You can choose a midwife (at home or at a birthing center or hospital), or an OBGYN. Depending on the facility they have rules on how many people and the ages of who can be in the room during labor and delivery. Be thinking of your birth plan and who you want to be a part of this special day. Write a good detailed birth plan not a list of demands or desires. Help your partner prepare by attending the childbirth classes with you and by reading The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.
Doulas are a wonderful asset during this time. There have been multiple studies proving that Doulas help women during labor and delivery. With techniques employed they make the likelihood of a laboring mother needing medication or intervention less likely. Doulas are very effective in the birthing process.
Understand interventions during childbirth-
Understand what interventions your place of birth offers and what they are. If you need to choose one you know what that intervention is and why you or your baby needs it. Sometimes interventions are necessary, but this also allows you to be prepared if you do not want an intervention that is a SUGGESTION.
Athletes prepare for their big game mentally, so you can too! Get your feel-good vibes and music going. Have your game face and plan in place to spring into action when the time is right. Have your bag packed and be ready for your time! Visualize your birth and what you want and practice for just that.
Don’t go into the hospital too soon-
Wait. Wait until your contractions are 4 or 5 minutes a part if you are able. Your body responds best when it is in a comfortable personal environment. Once you get into the hospital (unless you are totally prepared) someone else is going to try to be in charge of your birth (you can’t always blame them, it is their job). At home you can move around more and eat to fuel your body which you won’t always be able to do otherwise.
Use your techniques and what you have learned-
When your baby’s birth day approaches, hit it with your best shot! Have your team, your music and smells, your rhythms and your relaxation techniques ready to go and USE THEM. It is so easy to get discouraged in labor or to be exhausted, have someone (partner or Doula) be there for you to cheer you on when these moments arise.
You can do it mama, if you want an unmedicated childbirth you can have it if you prepare well.