A New Mother's Guide to Building the Best Birth Team
You are not a bystander in this experience! You will be the only person giving birth but you will not be alone. This is your opportunity to create your team of professionals and non professionals that can support you through pregnancy, birth and beyond. Think of the ideal way you’d like to feel when giving birth. Is it scared and unsupported? Probably not... am I right? Don’t assume everyone has the same goals for your birth as you. Don’t assume that other people’s goals are better than yours even if they're wearing a white coat. Do your research. Find out ALL of your options, give it some serious thought and have some honest conversations with your partner.
Whether you choose an OB GYN or a midwife, feeling safe and supported during labor and birth will make the biggest difference in your overall birth experience. A birthing mother MUST FEEL SAFE in order for normal physiological birth to occur. Even if you know you’re having a cesarean, it's still your birth and it should be treated as special and as significant as any other birth! You can change your mind at any time! It's absolutely OK to change health care providers at any point in the game.. Of course making changes sooner will make transitions easier so you have time to get settled into a new situation.
There are other people you might want to include in or exclude from your birth team. A birth Doula is a professional who has studied and trained to help a birthing mother with the physical, mental and emotional aspects of labor and birth. Doulas are not medical professionals but can be an excellent addition no matter where you plan to give birth.Your doula can also be a great resource to find out how to fill your team out even more. There are chiropractors who have specialized training in working with pregnant women. Prenatal massage therapists and acupuncturists can help you on your journey through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Your partner can be helpful but they aren’t likely educated about birth so they may be a hindrance to some degree. It’s a good idea to have an open and honest discussion with your partner about their role in your birth. With all or any combination of these providers it’s important to check in with yourself and figure out how YOU feel - This is YOUR birth.
Even if you are the only one questioning something, remember that you are the only one who can give birth to your baby. Ask your questions during prenatal appointments and pay attention to the answers you’re getting - or not getting. How do you feel about the answers and the care you are receiving? Do you feel satisfied, supported and heard?
Top 5 Questions for Your Care Provider
What percentage of your patients ultimately give birth via c-section.
What are your induction policies?
Do you have policies regarding positions in labor or pushing positions?
Do you have philosophies or protocols for unmedicated birth?
Do you have time limitations for labor?
While it might be intimidating and time consuming - taking the initiative to find the right people to support you during this life changing event is your responsibility. Pregnancy and birth is an especially sensitive time when we need the people around us to not only understand our goals but have a plan to help us achieve them. When the time comes you will be so grateful that you did your research and built a team that you trust so that you can focus on being in the moment and handling your labor and birth like the amazing you woman you are!