7 Tips To Make Your Birthing Experience More Positive
It can be overwhelming giving birth for the first time; not knowing what to expect, both physically and mentally. Family, friends and even strangers in the supermarket begin telling you horror stories of what happened to them. Or worse, they tell you about a random cousin’s friend’s sister in-law.
So already, before even stepping into the hospital or birthing centre, you have a fear.
From my own personal and professional experience, and with tips from other new mothers, I have put together a list of things you can do to help your birthing experience move away from fear, to a more calm, controlled and positive event.
From one mumma to another, here are my personal tips to helping you make your birthing experience more positive.
Before your next midwife/consultant visit, make a list of all the big and not-so-big questions you have about giving birth. Chances are, no matter how small the question, your midwife has heard it and answered it before. Do not hesitate in asking, your midwife is there to look after you and provide you with reassurance.
Make A Birthing Plan
A birthing plan is a piece of paper that states what your preferences are during early and active labour: pain relief, labouring positions, feeding, cord clamping, placenta aftercare etc.
It can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. Even the act of writing out on paper what you would like to happen, gives a great sense of control – something that many of my new mums feel they lacked.
Disclaimer: although your birthing plan is what you would like to happen, be aware those babies decide otherwise! Your doctor will listen to your wishes, but at the end of the day, their job is to make sure baby and mum are happy and safe. Bear in mind that part of the birth plan may be put aside.Don't hesitate to ask the questions. Your midwife is there to look after and reassure you. #positivebirth @thenewbornnanny Click To Tweet
Go With The Flow
Now this sounds like a bit of a contradiction to the Birthing Plan. But believe me, if you can adapt quickly to decisions being made around you, it becomes a lot less overwhelming. Try not to become complacent or adamant that things MUST go the way you want it. Don’t be a martyr.
If you made it clear you wanted zero pain relief, but your body is crying out for gas and air, do not beat yourself up.
One way of helping you do this, is to have a mantra or saying that calms you down. “Everything happens for a reason’, or ‘if this helps me meet my baby sooner,’ or ‘I trust that you know best.’
Read More: How To Get Started As A Maternity Nurse
Sit back and focus on you. What triggers you to become upset? What calms you down? When do you feel at your most relaxed state? This seems like such a simple exercise, but it’s so important to understand YOU, so that you can help the people around you to make you feel more comfortable.
For example, if taking instructions annoys you, hypnobirthing may not be for you! One of my mums flung her iPhone against the hospital wall in the middle of a contraction because she didn’t like how the lady on the track was telling her to breathe! It may have been a small thing, but in the height of pain, everything intensifies!Although your birthing plan is what you would like to happen, be aware those babies decide otherwise! #positivebirth @thenewbornnanny Click To Tweet
Make Yourself At Home
Bringing in items from home or your ‘comfort zone’ can make you feel at ease. My favourite thing to bring into the hospital was my own pillow (the hospital ones aren’t great in Ireland anyway!).
It served two purposes – the obvious one being comfort, and the second reason was that it smelt like home. When I was enduring a tough contraction, that familiar smell made it that little bit easier. Some of my clients brought in some small photographs, fluffy hot water bottles and a diffuser from their front hall! Just make sure to run it by your midwife first!
Your Support System
Choosing the right birthing partner is key to helping you feel supported and in control. A couple of my clients told me that they wished they picked a better person to have next to them – due to selfishness (remember, it IS all about you and your needs), and personalities just not clicking in a highly intensive atmosphere.
If there is one thing I would not change, it would be choosing my husband as my birthing partner. He was quiet when I needed him to be, he listened and acted on my concerns, he massaged my lower back for what felt like hours without complaint, and he turned out to be my focus when I had to remember to breathe through contractions.
Select a birthing partner that gets you, and more importantly, won’t drive you up the wall!
What better way to get through your labour, then to imagine holding your little baby, knowing that your life is about to change for the better in a matter of hours/minutes.
Leave out your baby’s first outfit near where you are, and every time you feel fear or uncertainty, know that every contraction is bringing baby closer to being in your arms. Focus on the happiness that your baby will bring in to yours and your family’s lives.Select a birthing partner that gets you & who won’t drive you up the wall! #positivebirth @thenewbornnanny Click To Tweet
Read More: A Day In The Life Of A Pregnant Nanny
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that sometimes your baby will have a mind of it’s own – and for all the plans and preparations, you might not be able to experience the birth in the way you had originally planned. But don’t let that put you off! You will be able to make your birthing experience more positive simply by being connected with your baby and in the moment. Best of luck mummas!
Claire has a degree in Childcare with over 10 experience in the sector, and now is a practicing Postnatal Carer and educator. With two young children of her own (and another one on the way!) she takes experience from both her professional and personal life to provide great information and advice for new parents to be. You can find Claire sharing advice for new mummas and learn about her services on Facebook and Instagram.