I get asked this question all. the. time. “How can I have a more positive birth”.
Every birth is different, every body is different. But I believe there are a few things you can do to prepare your mind and heart for your birth.
So here they are, the top 5 ways to have a positive birth experience, from the eyes of a birth professional:
- Don’t be afraid to educate — I am not sure why, but we are scared to research. Probably because we are afraid of the answers we will find. But education is one of the strongest tools we have. It is important to know WHAT you believe, and WHY you believe it. Birth doesn’t always go as planned, but its helpful to know what your options are, what the risks are, the benefits, the alternatives… Then proceed forward with the choices that are best for you and your baby. Your baby deserves for you to take the time to research your choices, and women feel more peaceful about their births when they understood the decisions and choices being made. A good, unbiased place to start is: http://evidencebasedbirth.com/
”If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.” ~ Diana Korte
- Birth Plan — I know, most people scoff this off. “birth is unpredictable, why plan?” There are a few different ways to approach a birth plan. The first step, is to acknowledge the way we hope it will go, the “ideal situation”. Then begin to talk about possibilities, what would I do should this situation arise? It’s helpful to know what you would like to do if the unexpected happens. More often than not, babies are born completely healthy, and exactly as planned. But be prepared, make a transfer to hospital plan (if you are planning a homebirth), make a cesarean birth plan. Consider the choices: delayed cord clamping, water birth, coping techniques/alternatives, pain medication or not, induction or not…
- Positive vs Negative — Guys, this is pretty easy. Stop listening to the negative, horror birth stories. Just stop, right now. And friends, stop sharing them. When we are consistently told that birth is scary and negative, we will begin to believe birth is scary and negative.
“Believe me, if you are told that some experience is going to hurt, it will. Most pain is in the mind, and when a woman absorbs the idea that the act of birth is excruciatingly painful- when she gets this information from her mother, her sister, her married friends and her physician- that woman has been prepared to feel great agony.” – Steven King (who had seven children, born at home.)
When we tell woman that their birth is going to be horrible, they will believe it. Instead, absorb positive, encouraging, uplifting energy regarding your birth, and let go of the rest. Some great, positive birth stories to read are: Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin and Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
- Birth Affirmations — This is probably one of my favorite ways to prepare for a birth. Birth affirmations are simple, truths you speak and choose to believe for your birth. These can be what ever resonates with you, speaks highly to you, and can be as specific as you wish. This can be achieved in a number of ways, cards written and placed around a birth space. Strung up on fabric and hung across the room. You can write them, or have close friends write them over you. They can be quotes, declarations, prayers, letters… what ever encourages you most, do it.
- Hire a Doula — Why? Because you deserve it. You deserve to be surrounded by people who encourage and believe in you. You deserve to have someone on your side, holding the faith and supporting you. According to Evidence Based Birth, birth’s that have a doula present have
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
And lastly, believe in yourself girl, you deserve it.
“We have a secret in our culture, it’s not that birth is painful, it’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe Harm