a Postive Birth Experience
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you expecting a baby? Then you may be wondering how to get ready
to give birth. If you have started meeting with your caregiver
then you have begun preparing for the medical side of birth, but
how about the emotional, spiritual, and comfort aspects of childbirth?
you cannot plan your labour there is a lot that you can do in
preparation. Prenatal classes are a very good starting point for
childbirth preparation. Your local family resource centre also
has many good resources such as educational books and videos and
knowledgeable staff. You may want to consider having a doula,
or professional labour support provider, to help you prepare for
and cope with childbirth. You may also want to write a birth plan
for your caregivers about your preferences for the labour, delivery,
unexpected circumstances and care of the newborn. Birth videos,
articles, prenatal classes, and lots of discussion will help your
partner prepare to support you.
on many expectant mothers' minds is the prospect of pain. The
perception of pain is associated with fear and tension. Some find
it helpful to think of these intense sensations in other terms.
Barbara Harper, in her book Gentle Birth Choices, describes some
visualizations for labour such as imagining that with every contraction
you are riding a giant wave or melting like a candle. Ina May
Gaskin, the author of Spiritual Midwifery, prefers to call contractions
"rushes". Labour is not the pain of injury but of transition;
it signals progress in the birthing process. Surrendering to these
feelings will help you to relax and cope with every contraction
as it comes.
that doesn't mean you have to take the pain lying down! There
are many comfort measures that may help you feel more relaxed
and help advance your labour. Think of things that you do when
you are feeling pain in everyday life: a warm bath or shower,
a soothing massage from a loved one, a hot water bottle on the
abdomen, aromatherapy (lavender is good in labour), music, conscious
relaxation, or cold/heat on your lower back. Many women prefer
an upright posture such as sitting, walking, squatting, all fours,
or standing and leaning. If you are feeling exhausted, try dimming
the lights and lying on your side with pillows.
environment makes all the difference to your level of comfort.
Did you know that you may bring your own sheets to the hospital
or wear your own clothes in labour? You can dim the lights if
you find the room too bright. If you want to try music in labour
bring a small tape recorder to the hospital. You can bring a special
object or picture to focus on for contractions. Don't be shy about
unpacking your comfort tools in the labour room so they are easy
to access. Some women bring a small crock-pot to keep their water
hot for aromatherapy compresses.
good support and care, a few coping strategies, a comfortable
environment, and most importantly, a positive state of mind, you
will be most likely to have a fulfilling birth experience, however
Prouse is a certified doula based in Charlottetown. For more information
on her services please call 894-3926,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.peidoula.com
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