If you’re anything like me, you love watching Chip and Joanna turn something less than stellar into something amazing. Planning your birth is a lot like fixing up a home, except that – with the right help – it’s much more attainable. It will take work, but it's a worthy investment! Would you like a birth plan that’s “show ready”? I’ve put together a few quick tips to get you started in the right direction, so whether you need a few touch ups (or a major overhaul) you can prepare for an amazing birth, instead of just hoping for one!
What’s your style?
Pay attention to how you feel about the different options for you and your baby. Do you like the freedom to move around? Ask your provider how they monitor you and baby. For example, continuous fetal monitoring, such as a belt they have you wear around your belly in labor at the hospital, will be less easy/comfortable to move around with then intermittent monitoring. Is readily available pain relief important to you? Or would you rather avoid as many interventions as possible? Start making note of what things are important to you for your birth. In Dallas we have a wide range of options available during labor and birth. Think about what you want! The next step is to find the places that offer it. For some reading to give you more ideas of different birth options, try The Birth Book and/or Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth .
Size up the potential locations
Do you know where you want to give birth? There are different perks of every birth location. Where are you most comfortable? Ask friends who had birth experiences similar to what you’re looking for. Where did they give birth? How did they feel about the experience? Is there anything they would have done differently? Make a list of things that are important to you.
Gather a winning crew
One of the best things you can do to plan for your birth is choosing a great provider. Where (and with whom) you give birth will likely have the greatest impact on the outcome of your birth experience than the rest of your preparations. Bring a list of questions to ask your provider to see if they’ll be a good fit. Consider hiring a birth doula who has an inside look at the local birth scene and provides one on one support throughout pregnancy and birth. Decide who will add to your birth experience and who you’d prefer stayed home. Sign up for a childbirth class to help you and your partner be fully prepared for birth whether it’s in a hospital, at a birth center, or at home.
Formulate the plan
You’ll likely have lots of ideas and plans swirling around in your head, and putting it in writing helps you to lay it all out so you don’t have to worry about remembering anything when talking to your provider or arriving at your birth place. In the Birth Boot Camp Classes I teach to expecting couples, Class 9 talks about the “Yes, please” and “No, thank you’s” for your birth plan. It’s a great way to approach your provider with your wishes while letting them know you’re on the same team. There’s a free birth plan download on the Birth Boot Camp website, and it even has downloads for printable icons to place in your yes or no columns which also gives you the chance to consider more options you may not have thought of.
After the “unveiling”
You prepared well, but birth isn’t the end! Many parents are concerned about all the changes they will need to make with the arrival of their baby, including how to handle problems that might arise such as postpartum depression, colic, or breastfeeding(if they plan to breastfeed), but they often neglect to plan ahead. Coming up with a game plan (including resources of birth and postpartum professionals, which your doula or childbirth educator can help with) beforehand for how to cope with potential bumps in the road can make a world of difference in how everyone adjusts to the newborn/postpartum recovery phase. It’s much easier to call and set up an appointment to see a lactation consultant when your baby is having trouble feeding and you are exhausted if you already have the name, number, and a recommendation from a trusted source (which I provide for all my clients because it's so important!) By preparing for after the baby comes, you are investing in your own recovery and self-care, which means you’ll be more available for caring and bonding with your baby.
Your “big reveal” will be one of the most memorable days of your family’s life! Enjoy this time preparing for your baby. This post won't teach you everything you need to know to have a great birth, but it's a great start. With the proper preparation, and a fabulous crew, your birth day is sizing up to be the experience of a lifetime!
Callie teaches Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Classes and serves clients as a Birth Doula in Flower Mound, Denton County, and the surrounding areas of North Dallas, TX. Some of her favorite things are birth, Brene Brown, her three exuberant little girls, making new creations for her Etsy shop, and having a treat stashed away in her closet for a rainy day. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.theswayingdoula.com.