When asked about their upcoming birth, some first-time moms respond with, “I’d like to go naturally, but I’m going to play it by ear.” As someone who said the same thing before my first birth, I get this.
We don’t want to commit to something when we’re utterly unsure of the process – what it will feel like, how we’ll respond, what might happen. In truth, we don’t commit because there’s a chance our plans might fail.
And with a first-time birth, the possibility of failure feels big. It’s not like you can practice being in labor!
For most of us, the notion of a home birth sounds a little scary—what if something goes wrong? We are so used to the idea of a hospitalized birth that doing it the old-fashioned way, at home with a midwife, seems, well, old-fashioned.
Aiming for an un-medicated or low-intervention labor and birth? You might want to stay home from the hospital as long as possible, especially if this is your first baby. That’s because the best strategies for achieving a “natural” labor—movement, hot water, deep relaxation and patience—are often easier to put into action at home than in the hospital.
When new moms post pictures of their newborn on Facebook, you don't always see the mother herself. It's usually just the little waterlogged wee one, swaddled in a striped hospital blankie, freshly eye-dropped eyes squinting at this strange new world. The mom stays out of the picture – maybe she thinks she looks too exhausted, too disheveled, too still-pregnant, not glam enough for social media.
Deciding between a home birth and a hospital birth is no easy decision: while hospitals might be safer for some women, there’s no place like home. Fortunately, a few hospitals are finding middle ground and taking a few pages from the home birth manual, which could help provide the best of both worlds.
While women have been giving birth in tubs for forever, water births have gained popularity in the last 30 years, even in hospitals, as women all over the world realize the benefits: Water reduces stress, relieves pain, and may help uterine muscles contract more efficiently. Besides, what’s not to love about a warm bath?
Women who see themselves as active participants in childbirth and seek a collaborative role with their health care providers are likely to prefer a home birth and a midwife’s care, according to a survey of women 18 to 40 who haven’t yet had a baby.
As we grow these little tiny beings in our bodies, we are always thinking about the big day when he/she will come out. "How will I be able to handle the pain?" we ask ourselves. "What can I do to prepare?" The truth of the matter is, there is a lot of pain, suffering and “uncomfortableness” around pregnancy, and leading up to the big day. If we condition ourselves to be “comfortable” with what we go through during pregnancy, we will have a solid foundation going into birth.
Here are eight ways you can prepare yourself and your body for a smooth labor and easier birth.
In today’s maternity care system, the care you receive may not always be based on current evidence, but may instead rely on outdated and potentially harmful practices. Unless you’re informed, you could miss out on options that can actually increase your chance of a safe and healthy birth.
Last weekend I hung out with a student just beginning her journey through nursing school. She’s planning on working in labor and delivery when she graduates and had a few questions. Not surprisingly, her questions are ones I’m asked a lot.