Learn what NORMAL birth looks, feels, and sounds like. Many families have fears surrounding birth and some of the physical, psychological, and emotional changes that happen during birth can make a family more fearful of an experience that is unfolding in a totally normal way. Take a comprehensive childbirth education course like Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis.
Discuss boundaries with your partner, provider, family and friends. Many experiences are sabotaged with doubt expressed by those who may have had exposure to difficult birthing situations or are fearful in general about birth and maybe do not know much about birth in general. Sharing your personal goals for birth and establishing boundaries & roles can communicate your needs while decreasing the ability for others to influence your birth in a negative way. A doula can help you with communicating with family and friends and advocating for you with your Midwife or OB.
In addition to receiving prenatal care with your midwife or doctor, establish self care with an acupuncture/Chinese medicine provider, chiropractor, and/or massage therapist. These providers can enhance your comfort level and optimize your health to decrease the need for medical intervention as your pregnancy advances.
Choose a supportive environment to birth your baby. It's important that you feel safe & calm during your birth. Choose a place that makes you feel this way when you are deciding where to have your baby. Birthing centers and home birth providers are safe and effective for low-risk pregnancy and enhancing a birth experience, with less interventions.
Discuss the benefits of Evening Primrose Oil, 6 daily Dates, and Red Raspberry Leaf tea with your provider during the last month of pregnancy. Evaluate if the benefits of these supplements is right for you. Use these supplements early in the day to avoid causing extra night time Braxton Hicks Contractions and enhance nightly rest.
Be patient with yourself at the end. Many parents are SO eager to meet the little ones they have been growing for almost 10 months. In reality - pregnancy more than 40 weeks is totally normal, and healthy in a low risk woman. Know that induction increases risk factors for cesarean births by 50% and that waiting an extra couple of days can increase your chances of having a low or no intervention birth by going into labor spontaneously.
Optimize baby position. Upright positions that maintain natural spinal alignment in the last couple of weeks are super helpful in getting baby into the best position for birth. Head down facing. your back is the way you want your baby to be - visualize it. In addition, if. your. baby isn't optimally positioned, check out the Spinning Babies website for ways to line your baby up.
Use a Peanut Ball for sleep the last few weeks and during your birthing time. A peanut ball between your legs, while side-lying for sleep and rest will optimize pelvic opening and allow the strained muscles of the pelvic floor and back to rest after a busy day. This will allow optimal rest, and comfort in late pregnancy and during your birth.
Rest, rest, rest. The number one contributing factor to intervention in birth is exhaustion. I have found that if a mom is resting during her early birthing time (Up until 6 cm) she has the stamina and reserves to work through active birth. This resting period can be hours and even a day or two - and is considered normal in the natural birth process. Activity to "get things going" is not going to help and will contribute to exhaustion and interventions.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate - with electrolytes. The number 2 contributing factor for interventions in birth is dehydration. All those birthing muscles are using electrolytes as they work the baby down, and the increased work on the body is utilizing water at an exceptional rate. Drink 4oz of electrolyte replacement hourly during your birthing time. You may even want to try refreshing electrolyte popsicles to keep you cool, and hydrated.
BONUS : Doula support!!! Doulas decrease c-section rate by 50%, length of birthing time by 25%, and use of pitocin by 40%, and epidural requests by 60%. We decrease anxiety, increase birth satisfaction and actually enhance birth partner participation in birth.