How to Have an Empowered Birth
Tips and Advice for Forming Your Birth Plan and Preparing for Birth with Your Partner
Are you pregnant? Have you thought about what will happen once you arrive at the hospital? Do you know what your options are before, during, and after labor? Did you know you even have options? In this post we dig into choices moms make before, during, and after labor for an empowered birth.
What is a Birth Plan?
This might look familiar. Birth plan is a term that has been making its rounds on mommy blogs, Pinterest posts, and Instagram stories. There are many different versions of birth plans but essentially this is a list or series of decisions a mom and her partner make before arriving at the hospital for their birth.
What Is the Purpose of the Birth Plan?
There are two main purposes for birth plans. First and foremost, it is to help expectant parents prepare for the delivery of their baby. By going through a series of decisions, parents can research the various options and make an informed decision ahead of time. The second purpose of a birth plan is to communicate the wishes and desires of the expectant parents to their healthcare team.
Preparing for Birth:
Pregnancy feels like a long time, but it's really not that much time to prepare for something as life changing as the birth of your first child. This being said, we don’t recommend ladening yourself with research from the first positive test result. The first trimester can be rough. You’re tired, chances are you’re feeling pretty sick too. We recommend surviving your first trimester and then once the energy of your second trimester hits then you can start to research and prepare.
Take a Class
With in person classes being postponed right now, online classes are a great option. They will help you prepare for the birth of your child but from the comfort of your home.
Read a Book
Outside of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, there are some great options to help prepare for your empowered birth. We highly recommend a quick read, The Doulas Guide to Empowering Your Birth.
Listen to Other Stories
There are loads of podcasts out there where you can listen to birth stories. It is immensely helpful to be able to hear firsthand accounts of what other mamas went through. If you listen to a variety of stories, you are bound to remember some of the things you heard when you are in labor to help power you through!
Download A Birth Plan Template
You don’t have to make your birth plan from scratch. By downloading a free template like this one from BeauGen, you can give yourself a great jumping off point to start your journey to an empowered birth.
Speak with Your Healthcare Provider
Now that you have a birth plan template, or a list of decisions that you will need to make, you can use your upcoming appointments to speak with your doctor about the options for each section. Those appointments become a lot more frequent towards the end of pregnancy, when your provider asks if you have questions and choose a section of your birth plan to walk through together.
This is one of the most talked about options during birth. The issue is often polarized and people tend to think you are in Camp Natural Birth or Camp Epidural. There is pain during labor, and there are several options for pain management: epidural, IV pain medication, water, and more. Talking through your desired labor experience can help you prepare to make the right decisions in the moment. You may decide that you want to try for an unmedicated birth, but have a back up plan in case you change your mind.
Laying on your back and pushing is not the only position in which a mom can labor. There are a variety of options. Your healthcare provider can walk you through the different positions, give you the advantages and disadvantages of each option, and explain which ones are available in your hospital or birth location.
Working with a Midwife or Doula
When it comes to your healthcare team, it's not all or nothing. Many healthcare providers will welcome the additional support of a midwife or doula. Speaking to your healthcare provider will ensure this as an option, and they might have a couple of recommendations.
Aids for Labor That You Can Request or Bring
Many hospitals will have balance balls either in your hospital room or that you can request for your labor. Also known as a “birthing ball”, these labor aids relieve back pain, pelvic pain, and there are some claims that it can shorten labor.
If you experience back pain during labor, applying counter pressure can help to alleviate the pain. A tennis ball is a great way to provide this pressure and it can be a way to involve your partner in your labor. Counter pressure can be used on its own or in combination with other pain relief techniques.
Whether you want to create a calming or sacred atmosphere in your birthing suite, use essential oils for pain relief or relaxation, or to help generate energy for your labor, essential oils can help. Speak with your hospital and medical provider about using essential oils, whether they allow them, and if they have them on hand for you.
Additional Recommended Resources:
While these ladies aren’t producing new podcasts, they are keeping over three years of powerful content live and accessible for mamas like us. Birth Kweens uses honesty and a sense of fun to share helpful information and entertaining stories about birth.
The Birthful Podcast
Distilling pregnancy, birth, and postpartum down to honest, helpful, and factual information the Birthful podcast is a great resource for Mamas and Mamas to be. This informative podcast helps arm women with knowledge so that they can follow their intuition and make the right decisions for their bodies, babies, and growing families. Check out the over 300 episodes here.
The Birth Hour
There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to giving birth. The Birth Hour is an informative podcast series focusing on pregnancy, birth and the various options available to mama. This has quickly become the number one birth podcast because of the wealth of information and the format in which it is presented.
Black mothers face a unique set of challenges, preconceptions, and dangers when it comes to birth. Natal is a podcast docu-series specifically for black mamas. Creating a community and, empowering moms through information, Natal shares the stories of black mothers, birthworkers, medical professionals, and researchers. Listen here.