By Renee Adair

It can be so easy to get bogged down with all the well-meaning does and don’ts that are thrown your way when you find yourself pregnant for the first time. There is an ocean of information that you no doubt find your self-drowning in and a list of products as tall as an Empire State building that you are led to believe you need. I like to simplify some of that for parents by offering my five top tips on how to have a better birth and remind them that all their newborn needs are them.

Certainly, getting educated and doing some research gathering is key to any new venture. Having a baby is by far one of the biggest transitions in our lives but I see strangely that some soon to be parents do more research on the latest pram on the market than they do their birthing options and preparation for parenting. Now, I know there are never any guarantees on how a labour and birth might go, however, you can put some things in place to ensure your journey into parenthood is not as overwhelming as it looks and stays a tad more in charge of your birth journey.

 

  1. Get educated

Birth information and education used to be given and handed down from our mothers and the elders of the village if you like. Today in our society we rely on classes to educate women and their partners through the birth and early parenting process. Most hospitals offer classes and groups but they can be overcrowded, basic and biased. If there is an independent organisation or childbirth educator, seek them out.

 

  1. Prepare your body and mind.

Labour and birth can be a marathon and it is good to do regular gentle exercise, eat well, and drink plenty of water during pregnancy. Make time to visualise a positive birth experience, make a regular time to relax and just be every day and focus on nothing else but your breathing. You can recall this skill and use it in your labour.

 

  1. Hire a Doula.

A doula is a professional support person who cares for the birthing woman and her partner before, during and after the birth of their baby. They offer information, guidance and emotional support.

Research proves that having a doula increases birth satisfaction and lowers intervention rates.

 

  1. Make a birth plan or wish list.

It is a great idea to clarify your birth vision for yourself, your partner, support people and care providers. Gather as much information as you can in order to make informed decisions. Keep your birth plan on one page; be concise and clear in what it is you want. This is your birth experience, take charge!

 

  1. Engage the services of a supportive caregiver.

I am always perplexed by the number of women who do not research their obstetrician, midwife, and or hospital. This is really important to do at the beginning of your pregnancy. You may accidentally engage the services of a care provider who does not match your birth philosophy.

 

Never stop asking questions and remember this is your baby’s’ birthday, a major event you will hold close to your heart for the rest of your life.  No matter which road you travel to bring your baby into your arms, you are deserving of good education, love, support and nurturing.  Happy Birthing!

 

You may also like to read:

Why I wrote a ‘birth preference’ list instead of a birth plan

20 empowering affirmations to help you rock your birth

My Birth Story