During pregnancy and when preparing for labour, as with everything in life, knowledge is power. Whether it’s taking online courses on childbirth education, having regular contact with midwives, or attending physical classes, it’s important for women and their partners to find the best information available. That information should then be used to decide what is right for mama and baby.
Childbirth education can instill confidence and help manage expectations. Remember, every labour is different and things don’t always go according to plan. For this reason, we don’t recommend having a birth plan that is set in stone. Instead, you need to know what all your options are and be prepared for any situation that may occur. At Urban Hatch we call this a birth preferences list rather than a plan and many of our mamas have found this a useful approach. It’s great to have a preferred option in place, but make sure to also have a plan B, C, and D, in case things don’t go according to plan.
Good quality information from the early stages of pregnancy has been proven to improve birthing outcomes for women and their families. Therefore, it’s important for parents-to-be to educate themselves and build relationships with those who can help. And that is exactly what it’s all about here at Urban Hatch.
Women rely on the expertise of trusted care providers
As midwives and our obstetric colleagues we are there to help ensure the health and safety of mama and baby during pregnancy and delivery. But we can also provide educational materials, instructions, advice, and tips during the course of your pregnancy. Most importantly, we help parents-to-be make birth-related decisions during the planning phase, such as outlining a birth preferences list.
As we’ve already mentioned, traditional birth plans are not always a good idea because they can lead to disappointment when things don’t go according to plan. However, flexible birth preferences with several options and scenarios can be helpful and leave room for negotiation during labour.
Creating a birth preferences list with an open mind is a great tool for outlining birth expectations, and can open up communication between mama’s-to-be and care providers. This ensures that women are equipped with important knowledge prior to giving birth.
Relationship between care providers and expectant mamas
A strong, trust-based relationship between midwife and mama-to-be is very beneficial. It’s a unique relationship – and can feel closer than the typical healthcare provider to patient relationship. Getting to know your midwife and having their support and knowledge ensures that a mama enters labour confidently – prepared and well-informed.
Also important to consider is that women who feel well supported in making decisions and have a lot of trust in their care providers to make decisions on their behalf, often recall having a more positive birth experience. The fact is, women don’t only view care professionals as sources of information, but also sources of advanced knowledge, as well as pillars of support.
Challenging birth and postnatal experiences
Again, things sometimes don’t work out the way you planned and birth and postnatal experiences can be challenging at times. The good news is that the midwives at Urban Hatch are trained to support women and their partners in these types of situations. This is thanks to the knowledge that is shared by parents-to-be during both the online classes and weekly check-in sessions.
Antenatal Education and Support After Birth
It’s not just about having the necessary knowledge for pregnancy and labour. New mamas also greatly value being equipped with consistent information and support from the moment they arrive home with their new addition to the family. This is especially true when it comes to infant feeding and sleeping.
Having the foundation of antenatal learning is key. So, during pregnancy it’s also important to ensure that both parents engage in antenatal educational courses. In the chaos of new parenthood you may not remember everything that you learnt, but you will be able to assimilate this information more readily when needed.
Women that choose to breastfeed should also ensure that they have gathered information from trusted sources on the process and options prior to birth. Research suggests that antenatal education and support can significantly improve the rates of exclusive breastfeeding. In other words, women that are well-informed about breastfeeding, have a better chance at success.
To have a feeling of control over your pregnancy and labour experience, education is key, ensuring that you have all the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions about what you would like your experience to look like. It’s about building a foundation of learning, developing strong and trusted relationships with care providers, and reaching out to professionals when you need help.