planning for the Birth of your baby
lots of childbirth options, many of which may help you towards an easier and
possibly shorter labour and birth.
|Fear in childbirth -
It is usual for new parents to feel
nervous and a little apprehensive about the birth of a new baby but there
are many ways you can feel more in control and empowered to make decisions
alongside your Midwife to plan
for your birth.
Overcoming the fear factor
of childbirth comes with confidence in you ability to birth, having the
information and support you need to make relevant decisions during your
labour. Learning how to control our level of fear can be helpful by
using simple techniques of relaxation,
and making the most of our birth
The fear response is a
natural reaction we have to a dangerous or unknown situation. When
we are in labour it tells us it is not safe to have our baby...more often
than not our fear level rise when we change environment or have strangers
in attendance and our labour slows down or stops until we feel 'safe' and
comfortable with our environment again. Despite this being a safely
mechanism for labour, if mum is feeling very anxious about the event, her
environment or the people with her, her labour may progress slowly and in
an irregular way which can lead to medical intervention
By using relaxation
techniques and breathing
we give our body a change to stay calm and let the labour progress in a
beautiful and natural way, empowering mum and giving her more energy
aswell as a calmer more positive experience.
|Who will be my Birth
Your birth supporter will be there for
you throughout much of your labour and birth so it is important for them
to understand what you expect of them and for them to know what they may
experience in the birthing room.
Most women would like the comfort of
their partner in attendance and many partners will be willing to be there.
However there are many men who feel unsure about their role and ability to
provide what their partner needs at such an intense and womanly time.
You may want to discuss the
of your supporter and having a second supporter at your birth to
support both you and your partner or to relieve
your partner during a long labour for refreshment breaks or sleep.
Mum rarely wants to be alone and in a hospital birth the midwife probably
won't be with you all the time.
Often women feel secure and confident
having another woman or 'mother' at the birth. Someone who can
reassure and empathise throughout the birth, helping to maintain a calm and
relaxed environment, seeing to you and your partners practical and
emotional needs at such an important time. If you don't have anyone
you could call on, you might consider employing a birth supporter or 'Doula'
to help enhance your birth experience.
|Upright positions in
There are many benefits to using
positions for your birth
Staying mobile in
labour can help you to deal with the discomfort of contractions, relieving
the pressure in your pelvis or lower back with movement.
Use of upright
positions in labour can open the pelvis and create 30% more room for
Upright positions make
the most of gravity and can help reduce the length of both first and
second stages of labour
Reduces need for pain
Keeps you in control of
your body and choice of position for birth
|Where will I have my baby?
Choosing where to have your baby is
often straightforward and most people look toward the nearest Maternity
unit for their birth.
If you are booking a
it will normally be your local community midwife that provides your
care. Alternatively you can employ an Independent
midwife of you choose to.
You can choose which unit you have your
baby at locally and the best way to decide where you would like to go is
to visit all the units early in your pregnancy and get a 'feel' for them
and then tell your midwife your preferences. In most areas there is
an option of Consultant or Midwife led units along with birth centres or
homebirth options. You have the option to change your mind at
|A comfortable birth
Wherever you decide to have your baby
your comfort is paramount. The more comfortable you feel the more
relaxed you will become and the easier you may manage your labour and
birth. You need to feel free to move around, use the bathroom, bath
or shower and have access to food to maintain your stamina. Many
women choose to stay at home as long as they can because of the extra comfort
and security related to their home.
When you do arrive at hospital you can
make that environment your own, and there are many things you can do to
make your self more comfortable:
- Take your duvet from home for comfort
- Take food and drinks with you
- Take a flask of crushed ice to drink
- lower the lighting in the room, using
the overhead lamp directed toward the wall
- Take your
ball with you
- Remember to stay mobile and raise the
bed to lean over, not lay on
- Make sure your room is private...ask
people to knock on entry
- Use aromatherapy to comfort and
remove 'hospital' smells
- Play music - almost all rooms have CD
- wear your own clothes in labour - not
a hospital gown.
The use of water to ease pain in childbirth has been known for
centuries. Many midwives have been encouraging women to get into baths for
pain relief. The idea of relaxing in a pool of warm water, in tranquil
surroundings, is very appealing to many women.
According to Janet Balaskas, in her book Water Birth, there are legends
of South Pacific islanders who gave birth in shallow sea water and of
Egyptian pharaohs born in water. At the First International Home Birth
Conference at Wembley in 1988 a woman from Guyana, South America,
described how the women in her home town go down to a favoured spot in the
local river to give birth to their babies. http://www.aims.org.uk/choosewater.htm