7. Read only the best childbirth books.
Get these books, and read them cover-to-cover. Seriously, throw away “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and dive into these wonderful books instead.
- The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence, by Judith Lothian and Charlotte Devries (the book that inspired this blog!)
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer (Written in 1999, this book is due for a revision, but it’s still excellent information and routine procedures and hospital technology have not changed much since that time. Henci also runs a helpful Q&A forum on the Lamaze International web site, so you can ask the expert yourself.)
- Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience, by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein (they also offer a great web site and community)
8. Get your partner on board.
It’s hard to do this alone, you need support! Even with the best doula, your partner is still an integral part of your birth journey. Penny Simkin’s book “The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas and All Other Labor Companions” is a great place to start. Be sure your partner attends that independent childbirth class with you – sometimes partners benefit even more than moms from that information and support.
Read More: How to Prepare Dads for Labor and Delivery
9. Consider an out-of-hospital birth.
It’s possible, with the right support, to have a great first birth in the hospital – even a vaginal birth without pain medication. As a doula I see them fairly often, and you should definitely choose the hospital if that’s where you feel safest and most comfortable. The current cesarean rate in the United States is 32.9 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many studies have shown similar results, which makes out-of-hospital birth at least worth considering.
10. Believe in your body!
The cesarean rate for women who birth at The Farm in Tennessee is less than 2 percent. Many industrialized countries around the world have cesarean rates of 15 percent or less. Women have been doing this for millions of years! Your body works. Birth works, in all its complex and wonderful variations. Surround yourself with knowledgeable support, of course, in case you encounter any rare and unexpected complications. But truly… trust your body. Trust birth.
Lamaze International, www.lamaze.org, promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting practices. Lamaze serves as a resource for information, based on the most current medical advice, about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. Giving Birth with Confidence is the Lamaze blog written for and by real women and men on topics related to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. The Lamaze Push for Your Baby campaign provides expectant parents with the support and information needed to spot good maternity care and push for the safest, healthiest birth possible.