Want to have the best birth possible? With so many variables out of your control, it’s best to focus on those few things that you can control AND that make a world of difference. Here are the 2 most important things you need to have an amazing birth!
Preparing to Rock Your Best Birth
Getting ready to give birth to a tiny human is pretty intense. There is so much to consider and to prepare for. It can be overwhelming to try to think about and get ready for any little variation in the birth process.
You’re probably tempted to want to try to control the whole thing. If you induce or elect to have a caesarean birth, you can control the timing (somewhat). If you have an epidural, you think you can control the pain (news alert: you can’t always!).
But mama, it’s best to start learning now that the sooner you release control over all the tiny details, the sooner you will be experiencing birth as it’s meant to be – a little wild and woolly and free!
So maybe start with some daily affirmations about accepting your birth as it happens.
Then, put all your focus on the things that you really can control, and that is forming the support team who are going to hold you up no matter what & just soaking in all the information about birth and babies that you can so that you can make the best decisions possible at any point along the journey.
The Only 2 Things You Need to Have An Amazing Birth
It’s true! Besides your gorgeous pregnant self, you only really need two things to have your best birth.
This might seem silly or like a weird cop-out, but hear me out on this one:
We’ve already discussed how birth is so full of things you can’t control: when you go into labor, how fast or slow your labor is, how intense your contractions are. Not to mention, all the myriad health considerations: your blood pressure, baby’s heartbeat, you and baby’s health in general.
But, of all the things that color a woman’s birth process, THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE THAT AFFECTS HOW SHE REMEMBERS HER BIRTH IS HOW SUPPORTED SHE FELT. Did I say that loud enough for the people in the back?
You need to feel fully supported by your family, friends, and caregivers. Period. This is really where “amazing” happens when it comes to having your best birth.
And the research supports this. Click here for a great roundup of the current findings on how labor support leads to satisfaction in childbirth.
Related Content: Want To Give Birth Naturally? Get Ready to Work!
The other piece of this puzzle is the informational aspect of pregnancy and birth.
In order to feel really connected to what is happening to you and your body and your baby, you need to understand what is happening and what your options are as much as humanly possible.
Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” And those words have never been truer than when applied to having a baby!
No, you don’t need to get a degree in Human Childbearing 101, but you do need to learn what options you have for having a baby in your case and for your location and your own personal particularities.
Now, want to have that amazing, best birth and learn more? Let’s dive deeper.
Support You Need to Have The Best Birth Possible
Being supported throughout your pregnancy, but especially throughout your birth, is absolutely crucial to having the birth you want.
Support Provided by Your Medical Team
You need to have a medical caregiver, like an OB or midwife, who is committed to guiding you through a safe pregnancy and birth by assessing your particular situation through the lens of proven best practices.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but obstetrics is a field in which doctors and even midwives still often make medical decisions that have not proven to be helpful in order to protect themselves legally. This sounds backwards, but it’s unfortunately true.
For example, electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) has been shown in studies to not actually be helpful, but may even more often be harmful by causing doctors to intervene prematurely, and yet hospitals continue to require EFM because having a graph on a paper holds up in court better than intermittent manual monitoring.
You need to first get informed (See #2) and then hold your medical provider up to a high standard of care. If care in the U.S. were already at a consistently high standard, we wouldn’t have such an abysmal mortality rate amongst new mothers and babies.
You Might Also Like: Ali’s Positive Natural Hospital Birth Story
I plead with you to seek out a caregiver who is on the one hand prepared to support you by following the best evidence-based practices in obstetrics today, and on the other hand is not treating you and your baby’s health and safety with a cavalier “I’m sure you’ll be fine” attitude while they assure you that all of your complicating factors are normal and don’t need any special care.
Support Provided by Your Hand-Picked Birth Team
Once you have a top-notch medical team to work with that you feel confident in, you have the privilege of assembling your own hand-picked birth team that is going to give you all the emotional, psychological, and informational support that you will need during your birth. We have, to a large extent, lost the female touch that a community brought to a birthing woman.
You are going to bring that ancient practice back with a modern twist, by choosing just the people you want by your side to mother you and love you throughout your entire labor and birth. They are your biggest cheerleaders. Pick them wisely and well.
You might or might not want your partner on your labor support team. You may want to hire a doula. Sometimes a mother or mother-in-law makes a great birth support (but sometimes not!). A sister or best friend is a fabulous choice. Whomever you invite to be on that dream team, equip them with this labor support handbook beforehand so they are well prepared!
Information You Need to Have the Best Birth Possible
Ahhhh, the good old days when you didn’t have to educate yourself, you could go to the only local OB and hope for the best.
Those days are over, and it’s a good thing, too! Your chances back then weren’t always so great.
Now we know so much more, but it’s a lot more work for the poor pregnant mama to figure out.
You need to know what the best current medical practices are.
You need to find a provider that actually follow these practices.
You need to know ALL (or at least most!) of your options during your birth process, from ways to induce labor to ways to alleviate pain, and the list goes on and on.
The Easy Button on Knowing Your Options-Hiring a Doula
If all that seems too much, then hiring a doula is a great way to make sure someone is in the room at all times who does know all of the options and is able to keep a level head during the process.
This, of course, loops you right back up to the other thing you need for an amazing birth, support!
Doulas are a great idea partly because they bring together BOTH of the most important things that you need to have the best birth possible.
A great way to find a doula in your area is with the easy search function at Doula Match.
The Long Haul on Learning Your Options for Birth-Reading
I don’t want to overwhelm you with a list of 30 books you MUST read before having a baby.
So I’m going to give you my top picks, the ones I recommend to my doula clients and the ones I relied on myself. These books and websites are the ones that I feel carry the most knowledge about giving birth that will empower and inform you on your journey.
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth In this book, Henci Goer takes all of her thorough knowledge of research to determine what are the best obstetrical practices for the best outcomes. I feel like I need to mention it is 20 years old this year and probably needs an update, but there’s still nothing like it out there. She walks the reader through the studies that have been done and what they mean in everyday practice. This book is illuminating and will give you so much well-researched information so that you can make the most informed choices possible. I implore you to at least skim through it!
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth In many ways the opposite of Henci Goer’s book, this volume will give you faith in your own ability to birth your baby. Ina May, a midwife who has some of the best outcomes in the whole country, shares with her readers all of the inspiration and practical advice necessary to give birth without feeling like a technological miracle has to be performed. A must read!
- Spinning Babies Website Gail Tully is another inspirational midwife who uses her website to share a ton of knowledge on one of the most important things on having an easier birth-fetal positioning. The way your baby is lying and enters into your birth canal can either make your birth long and arduous or much shorter. Gail shares many exercises and tips on how to put your baby in the perfect position for a great birth.
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn This last resource is a great general book that lists all the different options you have for prenatal care, good nutrition, comfort measures for pregnancy and birth, pain relief during labor, interventions that can be used during labor, pain meds, and all the different options for baby. It’s a great no-fluff book with a more natural viewpoint that can inform you and help you sift through all the information out there.
If you’re a mom who is serious about having the best birth you can possibly have, you can not go wrong with these 4 resources. I truly hope you check them out and find them useful.
Now You’re Ready to Rock Your Best Birth!
Once you’re armed with a kick ass support team and a head full of knowledge, you’re ready to go out there and have a gorgeous birth.
No, we can’t control every last detail. But at the end of the day, if you’ve learned a lot, made the best decisions you could make with the full support of your awesome team, your chances of being satisfied with your birth outcomes are super great.
Now get out there and have an amazing birth!