While there isn’t one perfect potion for having a positive birth experience, ensuring you’ve covered each of these key aspects will increase the likelihood that the story you tell about your child’s birth will conjure up feelings of positivity and joy.
1. Set some goals.
Just as you wouldn’t expect to be dropped off on a trail in the middle of the wilderness without a map to find your way out, ideally you don’t want to go into birth without some sort of goal. Knowing your boundaries and communicating those effectively with your care team will make sure they understand what your expectations are. It helps make their job easier! Going through this process of developing your birth philosophy during your pregnancy will allow you to go into labor and spend more time focusing and less time worrying about what decision you’ll have to make next.
2. Hire a provider who supports your birth philosophy.
Once you’ve put together a general plan of action for your birth, you’ll want to look into hiring a provider who will support your philosophy while also ensuring your health and the your baby’s health is top priority. Do they feel comfortable with VBAC? Water Birth? Vacuum delivery? Your desire for an induction? Whatever your philosophy may be (and we support all of them!), it’s important to ask key questions of various providers to see who will be a good fit for your birth experience.
3. A supportive birth location.
Just as your care provider plays a vital role in how your birth philosophy manifests during labor, you want to choose a location that will also be conducive to the type of birth you want. This could mean choosing a high-risk hospital, an in-hospital birth center, a even a stand-alone birth center. Whatever that decision may be, it’s important to find out if the location of your choosing is compatible with your birth philosophy and the type of medical care you need.
4. Quality childbirth education.
This could be placed before #1, as much of your birth philosophy will develop with the more education you receive. There is nothing quite like spending time with a professional instructor, developing that relationship, and spending time with other expecting parents who are going through much of what you’re experiencing. The more you learn and process, the more you’ll feel confident and secure going into the birth process.
5. Professional birth support.
Of course we couldn’t leave this out! Non medical, non judgmental support from a trained professional has profound impacts on your birth experience. There’s something comforting about having someone in the room who isn’t a family member and who isn’t focused solely on the medical health of you and baby. The support of a professional such as a birth doula will help you to feel supported in your birth goals, enhance the role of your partner during this unfamiliar time, and often leaves women feeling much more positive about their birth experience (even making for an easier transition into the postpartum period), regardless of what that birth looked like. The collaborative care between your medical team and trained birth doula will enhance your overall experience and make you feel cared for in all aspects of your birth (medically, emotionally, informationally, and physically).
What do all of these things have in common? Positive birth experiences aren’t at all dictated by the specific things that happen during labor! It comes from having a team that cares for you, helping you feel like an active participant in the birth of your baby, and lack of judgment for the choices you make.
What other things do you think could contribute to helping you have a positive birth experience?
Authored by: Lacey Bauer