Between the dramatic movie scenes and scary stories friends and family can’t wait to tell you it seems to be a bit of a reach to consider the possibility that labor and birth can be a positive experience. But with a little bit of preparation a positive birth is not only a possibility – it’s a probability.
As a Midwife my philosophy has always been that a positive birth comes in many forms. For one mom that’s an active unmedicated birth, for another it’s a planned calm cesarean.
A positive birth is defined by you – not your sister, careprovider, doula or best friend.
What can you do to stack the odds in your favor of having a positive experience?
Birth is both physically and mentally demanding (no matter what kind of birth you’re planning), so it makes sense that you’re exercising both your body and brain to be sure you’re in the best physical and emotional shape possible for what is potentially one of the biggest days of your life. Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to increase your fitness gently in pregnancy as well as walking and swimming.
Eat a healthy balanced diet and avoid sugary foods
Talk to your caregiver about any concerns you have
Ongoing open communication with your care provider will reassure you as your baby’s EDD gets closer.
Reduce stress and increase sleep
Fear of birth is associated with longer labors and more emergency cesareans. Reducing stress is good for you and your baby.
Consider hiring a doula to support you and your partner
Doula care is associated with more positive birth experiences and less PPD.
Take a comprehensive childbirth preparation class
GentleBirth is an emotional and mental fitness program for pregnancy, birth and parenting. You can also use our homestudy program to compliment your hospital classes. We incorporate sports psychology, hypnosis for birth and mindfulness.
It’s ‘brain training’ for birth (and beyond). With very little effort you can start to feel excited about your baby’s birth – and don’t worry we’ll also feed you a healthy diet of uplifting positive support throughout your pregnancy (no fancy workout gear required – just your Mp3 player and a positive attitude!).
One thing is for sure – there are no guarantees of how your baby will arrive on the big day (babies don’t read birth plans) but by using all of the tools in your labor toolkit you’ll change the way you emotionally cope on the day – no matter what comes your way.
One thing you have 100% control over on the big day is how to react to what’s happening. In an emergency would you and your partner like to have the tools to feel calm and focused or overwhelmed stressed and distressed (this goes for the weeks AFTER your baby arrives too)? Using GentleBirth techniques GentleBirth parents have the tools and techniques to stay calm and focused and handle anything that comes their way in pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Hodnett, E. D., S. Gates, et al. (2012)“Continuous support for women during childbirth.” Cochrane database of systematic reviews: CD003766.
Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention during pregnancy on prenatal stress and mood: results of a pilot study — C Vieten, J Astin – Archives of women’s mental health, 2008
C Dunn, E Hanieh, R Roberts, R Powrie – 2012
About Our Expert
Tracy Donegan is an author, Midwife and Founder of GentleBirth. Tracy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two boys and husband and teaches GentleBirth workshops to expectant parents. GentleBirth classes are also available in Florida and Kansas.
For more information on GentleBirth classes visit – http://www.GentleBirth.com