Last month, a friend of my younger sister’s emailed to ask some questions about natural birth. She is newly pregnant and very interested in her birth choices (yay! How exciting!). I shared a couple of ideas with her and thought I would share them with my blog as well:
It can be hard to know where to start—there is SO much information out there. I would suggest getting a good, informative book—though I haven’t yet read it myself, Your Best Birth is a new book that is supposed to be good and very “balanced” at helping you make the choices that are right for you. I also have a suggested reading list here. Mothering Magazine’s Having a Baby, Naturally is also quite good. Speaking of Mothering Magazine, their discussion boards are PACKED with good information and they all come from a natural/holistic perspective (a lot of other message boards have more of an “epidural soon!” culture). You can join a “due date club” there, etc. There is a whole forum just for birth stuff (and a subforum for homebirth), etc. Good resource, as is their entire website. Other good guides include Lamaze’s book Giving Birth with Confidence. One of my favorites as a really good “basic”/intro guide for pregnancy and birth is Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Newborn by Penny Simkin. A brand new edition is out, so think about checking it out!
Particularly if you plan to have your baby in a hospital, a doula would be a really good addition to your birth “team.” Doulas provide non-medical labor support and are there just to support YOU and what you want. It is really good to have continuous labor support. And, she does not replace your partner—he has his own “journey” to take into becoming a father and having a doula there frees him of a lot of the pressure of trying to be your “doula”—he can just be there with you, loving you, rather than trying to remember all kinds of stuff from books!
I would also suggest finding a good independent childbirth educator to take birth classes from when you get closer to your due date (one who doesn’t work in a hospital—it doesn’t matter if you plan to give birth in a hospital, an educator who works for herself instead of for somewhere else, is better able to give you complete information instead of just teaching about the “rules” of that particular location). Read more about “why independent classes” here.
Most of all, spend time celebrating your changing body and marveling at its inherent wisdom. Take time each day to “tune in,” draw inward and connect with your baby. Honor your natural rhythms—eating when you’re hungry, resting when you’re tired. Be gentle and loving with yourself. Know that you already have everything you need within you and strive to create a birth environment that encourages that inner wisdom to blossom and fully respects your right to freedom in birth.