Excerpt from 4th Edition Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn (The Complete Guide)
“No on has complete control over pregnancy and childbirth, but the decisions you make during pregnancy will affect your memory of your birth experience.”
- Take care of yourself during pregnancy so you begin labor in the best possible health.
- Choose a birthplace that has a low rate of cesarean birth and minimal routine interventions.
- Find a caregiver who has low intervention rates and encourages the use of self-help techniques in labor. If your pregnancy is low-risk, consider using a midwife (if available). Midwives typically use fewer medical interventions than physicians do. If intensive medical care become necessary during pregnancy, a midwife willl refer you to an obstetrician
- Educate yourself and prepare a birth plan. Take childbirth preparation classes that emphasize informed decision-making and self-help methods to relieve pain and aid progress.
- Hire a birth doula. The continuous labor support a doula provides often leads to a shorter labor, reduced need for pain medication, increased chance of normal vaginal birth, and increased satisfaction with birth experience.
- Avoid labor induction for non-medical reasons. If you caregiver suggests induction for a debatable medical reason (such as suspected big baby), ask about other alternatives.
- Use medical interventions only when clearly necessary, not because they’re routine. For example, avoid routine IV fluids, continuous electronic monitoring, and augmentation with Pitocin or artificial rupture of membranes. In some cases interventions may be the best option for you and your baby. Ask questions to ensure that you make informed decisions.
- Learn to differentiate between early labor and active labor so you can delay hospital admission until active labor. Use labor-coping skills at home to manage pain and aid progress. Eat, drink, and rest as needed to keep up your energy.
- Use a varety of positions and activities during active labor, such as walking, dancing, rocking in a rocking chair or on a birth ball, or taking a shower or bath.
- Push in positions that aid decent, unless the birth is happening fast; then use positions that slow descent. Use spontaneous pushing if you have an urge to push. Delay pushing if you don’t have an urge to push (and you and baby are doing fine).
Trusting Birth and Life!