These days there is so much information around what you should and shouldn’t do to have a natural birth, and while there is usually plenty of great advice within these articles, the issue that I have is with the word should.
Should is a shaming word. It sets us up for a fall. What happens if labour does take an unexpected turn? Should we have done something differently?
As a birth trauma therapist and birth coach, I have found that by feeling confident and able to make informed decisions for yourself that whatever birth you have, will be the right one for you on the day.
So below are my top 3 tips to help you feel in control…
- Hypnobirthing – whether you subscribe to the alternative way of life or not, there’s a lot to be said for Hypnobirthing. While it may come across as rather hippie and not quite your cup of tea, it has it’s roots firmly in science. Aside from offering a full antenatal programme, using hypnobirthing techniques relaxes the mind and body. Allowing yourself to be in a calm state increases the bodies natural hormones oxytocin and endorphins, which act as natural pain relief, help regulate contractions and aid in bonding. So, all in all a technique that can be used both in and out of labour.
- Write a Birth Plan – There are a lot of different thoughts on how helpful a birth plan is but if you approach it in a way of writing down your ideals for the day, then it gives you something to focus on and stops you being interrupted when you’re in the zone. I like to plan for a number of scenarios, so when I had my youngest I had 3 different plans which stipulated my desires for a home birth, a hospital birth and an emergency c-section so that if things didn’t go the way I had initially wanted, I felt that I still had an element of input and control. There is an amazing visual plan you can create by downloading the templates at http://www.pinterandmartin.com/the-positive-birth-book-visual-birth-plan-free-download.html
- BRAIN – This acronym is one of my favourites. It can be used for almost any situation and allows you to truly understand your options and can also help your healthcare provider to think through why they may have suggested a certain treatment.
BENEFITS – What are the benefits of the care they are suggesting?
RISKS – What are the risks of the care they are suggesting?
ALTERNATIVES – Are there any alternatives?
INTUITION – Check in with yourselves, how do you feel about the situation?
NOTHING – What happens if we wait a little while and then reassess?
This acronym can be used for anything, I regularly use it to check in with myself with work, the kids and general life too.
I hope this helps to make things a little clearer for you in your birth planning. There are a huge amount of resources available to you and I highly recommend “The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks” by Milli Hill to all my clients as it’s such a straight talking, non-nonsense guide to birth options.