There is much to do in preparation for the delivery of your precious baby. Being prepared is essential. First on the agenda is deciding what kind of birth you would like to try for, “try” being the operative word. Just because you have a birth plan in mind does not mean that things will go the way you plan. (In fact, it usually doesn’t. Life has a funny way of doing that to you).
Outlined below are the different types of births women have.
1) NATURAL CHILDBIRTH: Vaginal birth with no pain medication.
Benefits: Shorter labor, healthier for mom and baby (no exposure to medications), shorter recovery time.
2) MEDICATED CHILDBIRTH: Vaginal birth with pain medication such as an epidural and spinal blocks.
3) CESAREAN SECTION: A cesarean section is when the baby is surgically removed from your womb. A C-section should only be done when there is a medical need.
4) HOME BIRTH: Giving birth in your home.
Benefits: More privacy, moms feel more in control of their birth process.
5) WATER BIRTH: Giving birth in a birthing tub filled with water.
Antenatal classes are a very important part of your path to preparedness for your birth experience. Childbirth classes give you a complete background on things to expect (starting from your labor and delivery to teaching you how to breastfeed and take care of your newborn). There are numerous approaches with differing philosophies and you need to select one that suits you and your baby’s needs.
It is advisable to begin your classes when you are around the seven-month mark.
Lamaze courses give expectant moms the facts. They maintain neutral perspectives on medical intervention during labor and delivery. Lamaze focuses on comprehensively informing you about labor and delivery so that you can make your best-informed decision on the kind of birth you want to try for. The full course of a Lamaze class will usually add up to around twelve hours of instruction on labor, birth and postpartum care. Classes will also cover natural pain management methods and different breathing techniques during labor. Breastfeeding will also be discussed.
The Bradley Method
The main principle of the Bradley method is a natural birth with the baby's father as the birth coach. Expectant dads are trained on how to be a support system for moms-to-be. The course also covers nutrition, pain management techniques, postpartum care, breastfeeding and how to avoid cesarean birth.
The Mongan method (or HypnoBirthing) is about calm and natural childbirth through self-hypnosis techniques. Teachers try to get their students to connect to their natural mother’s instinct for a safer and easier birthing experience, the importance of pre-birth parenting and developing the consciousness of the pre-born baby.
Non-Recumbent Birthing position
You do not have to deliver your baby lying down. Non-Recumbent birthing positions, such as squatting, are encouraged as it is much easier on the mother’s body and imposes less stress on the baby.
FACT: You do not have to have a medicated birth. Epidurals are not an essential part of the birth process.
FACT:You do not have to have an episiotomy. Episiotomies take longer to heal and women are able to birth babies without major tears. You just need to prepare your body and your mind.
MUST WATCH: The Business of Being Born is a documentary every pregnant woman should see.
TIP: Take a tour of the hospital maternity ward where you will be giving birth and ask them all the questions you have regarding their policies that may have an effect on the type of birth you want to aim for.
This article was adapted from Amanda’s Chapter 1: Pregnancy in Project Mom (book available at porjectmombook.com)