Preparing for Birth

You would like to have a positive, satisfying birth.  How do you make it happen?

While we understand that birth can be surprising, there are certainly steps you can take to set the stage for your positive birth experience.

1)  Meet with a birth professional who has seen how birth happens in our local hospitals, birth centers, and homes.  Often expectant couples have never witnessed a birith–except the rather dramatic ones on TV!  While it is great to ask other mothers about their experiences, often they are viewing birth through the narrow lens.  A birth professional can help you see through the marketing and misconceptions.  That is why Upstate BirthNetwork provides free one-on-one consults with our volunteer professionals.  What will happen during a consult?  Our volunteer will listen.  And listen some more.  Then she’ll suggest local resources, help you with your birth plan, or loan a book from our lending library.  If something is beyond her scope, she might contact one of our Medical Board members for additional ideas.  She will not try to sell you anything or promote a particular agenda.  She will continue to be available to you by email throughout your pregnancy.  Use our contact form to schedule your consult.

2)  Explore all your options.  Interview other providers or tour other facilities.  Invite a midwife over to talk about homebirth.  Exploring options does not oblige you to anything.  It does expand your vision to include paths that might have once seemed mysterious or dead-ends.

3)  Consider hiring a doula.  If it isn’t financially an option, talk with us.  Sometimes we can help find a low-cost or free service.  Some professionals will barter for services.  However, simply because a service is not covered by insurance does not mean it is not valuable.  A doula is much less expensive than an epidural and has much better outcomes.  The difference is that insurance covers an epidural.  A doula provides a 50% reduction in cesarean rate, 25% shorter labor, 60% reduction in epidural requests, and a 40% reduction in pitocin.  She is a valuable commodity.

4)  Read positive birth stories!  There are websites dedicated to sharing stories of empowering births of all sorts.  We also recommend books like Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Journey into Motherhood, and The Way of the Peaceful Birther.

5)  Learn about normal birth.  Take an independent childbirth class.  Learn the physiology–not the procedures and protocols that have sometimes replaced the normal process.  Becoming educated about the hormones surrounding birth, the average length of active labor (12 hours for a first-time mom), and average length of pregnancy (41wks 1day for a first-time mom) can assist you in making informed choices about your birth.

6)  When you’ve prepared and planned, then let go.  And enjoy your birth.  You’ve surrounded yourself with support, knowledge, and care providers you trust.  Now, let your thinking brain shut down and surrender to this powerful experience; trusting that your body knows just what to do.