My 5 Essential Strategies..
Many women I support are ambitious and determined and want to feel in control as much as possible! This still applies when pregnant, so feeling in control in the birth room is often an essential.
I have therefore created five simple strategies to help you achieve that sense of control during the birth:
1. Educate Yourself: Knowledge is power and always helps you to feel more in control, so invest time in understanding the birthing process. Get support for both you and your partner from someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about birth, The more you know, the more confident and in control you’ll feel when making decisions during labour.
You don’t have to be a passive “patient” when you give birth. There are all sorts of practical steps you can take to increase your control, confidence and focus. Learn about the physiology and emotions of birth so you really understand what’s going to go on in your mind and body. Learning some mind techniques, physical comfort measures and different birthing positions will really help you and your baby during the birth
2. Create a Birth Plan, or Three: Develop a birth plan that outlines your preferences for labour and birth and post-birth. Don’t just include your preferred pain management methods and birthing positions, also talk to your partner and/or your pregnancy coach about different scenarios that could happen during labour and what decisions you can make regarding your birth choices right now during pregnancy.
You may decide to make a 2nd and 3rd birth plan that goes through those different scenarios for example if your labour is induced, or you decide to have an unplanned caesarean.
3. Choose the Right Support Team: Surround yourself with a supportive birth team that aligns with your goals. This may include a partner, doula, pregnancy and birth coach or independent midwife who understands your desires and can advocate for you during labour. Having a trusted and experienced support system can provide both emotional and physical support and give you the time and support you deserve during pregnancy and birth.
4. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualisation, self-hypnosis and mindfulness. These tools can help you manage pain, reduce any anxiety you are feeling and help you maintain focus and control, no matter what happens. During my sessions we can go through a whole host of different techniques and work out which ones are going to work for you, because we are all different.
5. Stay Active and Healthy: Prioritise your physical and mental health throughout your pregnancy. I know this is hard as we can be so busy during pregnancy but know that prioritising yourself means you are also putting your unborn baby’s health first too. Plan your week, create healthy habits such as regular gentle exercise like yoga or walking, and rest when your body is telling you to! I have found that when women stay physically fit and mentally prepared it boosts their confidence and resilience during labour.
Remember that while these tips can help you feel more in control, childbirth can be unpredictable. Be open to moving from Plan A to Plan B or C and trust in your body’s ability to birth your baby. Your determination and preparation will help you to have a calm and manageable birth.
Debbie Willis, Better Birth & Baby