The Birthing Room Online Antenatal Classes launch this week! And to celebrate we are letting you in on 10 easy steps you can take to begin a positive birth journey.
#1 Choose your lead maternity carer (LMC) wisely
Will your choice of midwife or doctor help you achieve a positive birth experience? Dr Sarah J. Buckley (author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering) explains in her book an easy test of an empowering health care practitioner:
- Do you come away from every appointment feeling even happier, or at the least less anxious? If so, this is a great sign of an positive birth partnership.
- Do you come away from every appointment feeling negative, more afraid or more anxious than before? If so, it maybe time to consider a change.
#2 Be careful what you read
Just as a sign of a great LMC is that you come away from each appointment feeling even happier and less afraid, a sign of great information about pregnancy and birth is that you come away feeling the same. This helps fill your whare tangata (the womb world of your baby) with the love hormone oxytocin, and keeps stress hormones low.
Many popular antenatal and newborn parenting books promote strict newborn routines, which undermine natural newborn attachment, health and well-being. Two recent research studies showed books such as these actually negatively impact maternal (mother) well-being and self confidence, and increase the likelihood of postnatal depression and feelings of stress. So choose carefully! Look for pregnancy books, movies or YouTube clips which empower you and do not make you feel afraid.
#3 Find your village
Imagine having a group of like-minded friends, who are having babies at the same time of life as you. Through every life stage (pregnancy, newborns, toddlers, choosing a preschool or kindergarten, starting school) they are right there with you, and know what you are going through. Essentially you are doing life together!
Unfortunately, finding these people isn't as easy as it sounds, especially if you are living in a rural area. That's why we've created online village groups just for you as part of our new Online Antenatal Classes! Not only will you find amazing like-minded parents-to-be to chat with and ask those questions that only they will understand, you'll also find a group of friends to do life with.
#4 Be knowledgeable about your baby's position
Sure your baby may be head down, but did you know that this is only a tiny bit of the big picture? Your baby's position at the end of pregnancy can influence if you go "post dates", how fast dilation occurs, the length and intensity of labour, how high your risk of complications and intervention and more! We think this is SO important for you to know that we have included OODLES of information on Optimal Foetal Positioning in our new Online Antenatal Classes.
#5 Make informed decisions
Your rights as a health consumer are very important for you to know. Just because they exist in NZ doesn’t necessarily mean they will be practiced. Research suggests “that women’s perceived control over decision-making in childbirth is surprisingly low and that maternity care providers’ (providers) understanding of women’s legal rights in maternity care is poor.” (Powell, Walker & Barrett, 2015). In order to make informed decisions, you need to know what your rights are, and the right information. Often expectant parents are loaded down with pamphlets and information sheets that contain medical terms and statistical data. Research shows most expectant parents can't make informed decisions out of this. You need information that is truthful, informative and makes sense to you. Making the best decisions that you can at the time with the information that you have, helps you feel more positive about your birth experience.
#6 Hire a doula
If you do not have the perfect support person to journey through birth with you and your partner, why not consider hiring a doula? A doula is a professional birth companion to helps you set up a positive birth atmosphere from the get go of labour. Research shows doulas:
- Reduce the need for medical pain relief
- Reduce the likelihood of medical intervention
- Help families have a more positive birth experience!
Not sure how to find a doula in your local area? Check out this list from Doula Lydia.
#7 Reduce your risk of complications
Although it is still possible to have a positive birth experience when complications arise, it's definitely easy when they don't! So if you are hoping to avoid any unnecessary complications, incorporate the following into your pregnancy:
- Regularly exercise
- Eat lots of REAL food (nutritionally dense, wholefoods!)
- Regular massage therapy... OK, so I don't have a lot of research to back that one up, but hey! There has to be some perks to growing a whole little human, right? Massage therapy does help you release oxytocin, and oxytocin helps your baby grow well, so that's got to count for something!
#8 Choose an empowering birth place
Remember the Tupperware Shape-O? If not, don't worry, you're about to become a parent. You'll soon be very familiar with it! The idea is to fit the right plastic shape into the right shape cut out. Choosing to birth in a place that does not match your birth philosophy and plans is like trying to get the triangle through the square. It might not be the right fit for your family. Choosing a place where you feel safe, secure and empowered can make all the difference to how you feel about your birth.
#9 Prepare spiritually and emotionally for birth
Families are often really good at preparing physically for birth, but birth is not just a physical event! It is a spiritual, emotional, cultural, family life event! Preparing for a baby can be compared to the whare (house) in the Māori health model Te Whare Tapa Whā. There are 4 pillars of wellness that make the house strong. They are physical, mental, spiritual and family health. So we've included information about emotional and spiritual preparation for birth and traditional Māori birth practices as part of our new Online Antenatal Classes to help make your birth as positive as possible!
#10 Be as educated as possible
When it comes to preparing for your birth, you don't need a "How to give birth" lesson. Every female body is born with the knowledge of how to birth a baby! Our new Online Antenatal Classes are all about helping empower your family with knowledge, helping you develop trust and faith in the amazing ability of Mama to birth your baby, as well as equip you with information to make informed decisions. Our course journeys with you right from the start of pregnancy, all the way through to when baby is 3 months old. How cool is that?!
Like to find out more about having a positive birth experience?
Start with our FREE online mini course Optimal Cord Clamping & Care of the Placenta As a bonus, if you are registered for this course you'll be the first to hear of the launch dates for our new Online Antenatal Classes. So sign up today, and either whip through this little beauty while waiting for your Online Antenatal Classes to begin, or tuck this course away for later in your pregnancy safe in the knowledge it is all yours, and start your journey towards a positive birth experience with our first trimester session in The Birthing Room's Online Antenatal Classes.
Just want to join our newsletter so you can find out course launch dates? You can do that below!