There are many things to consider when giving birth and in today’s world, the choices are endless. It can all seem a little overwhelming to navigate. And while I don’t recommend writing a traditional birth plan, I am a huge believer in preparing for your birth by focusing on the choices you can make beforehand and prepare physically and mentally for the unknown place labour and birth takes you. Here are a few things to consider when giving birth and discovering the choices available to you.
In some countries, the first decision you will need to make will be whether to go to public or private. This is a very personal choice and can depend on numerous factors ranging from financial consideration to language differences as well as what is ‘the norm’. Again there is no right or wrong choice here. If going private is an option financially, I always recommend couples to visit both hospitals to get a feel for the environment, the language options (if offered) and the ‘rules and regulations’ at each.
This area that has grown rapidly in the last decade. Once upon a time in most countries around the world midwives delivered your baby. Now there are numerous options, these can vary from country to country, private vs. public, but it’s important to find the option that best fits your physical and mental state during pregnancy as well as with what is possible and supported in the country you live in.
Whether you can choose a Doctor or Midwife or other it’s important for you to choose someone you can trust. Don’t just choose someone because your best friend/sister etc chose them. Every birth is different, every woman unique and your choice should be based on your individual needs. Don’t be influenced by popular opinion.
Go for a consultation, meet the Doctor/Midwife etc and ask them any questions you may have, discuss fears, hopes and based on their answers make a decision. This is the time to be picky. Even after you’ve made your decision if something doesn’t feel right or you are not happy, find someone else.
Depending on the country, you may have a choice who is by your side during labour. The obvious choice may be your Partner, but there are other options to consider. And again, depending on the hospital you may be allowed more than one.
Personal Options: Life partner, family member, close friend?
Labour and Birth Professionals Options: Midwife, Doula
Support Professionals: Acupuncturist, Yoga Coach etc.?
This choice should be based on what you want to get out of your experience, not based on the relationship you have with this person.
If going the professional route, be sure to know the physical and legal limitations the professional has. Doulas, for instance, are great emotional support but cannot offer or give medical advice, whereas a Midwife is a medically trained expert in labour and birth. Chose the one that’s best qualified to cater to your specific pregnancy and birth.
Lastly, and most importantly you need to be physically and mentally prepared (as best you can!!).
Regardless of the way you chose to bring your baby into this world, being prepared will make the process a lot smoother. Don’t give yourself rigid rules, be flexible and knowledgeable and in the end, a lot of the stress will be alleviated through your preparation, not over planning.
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