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How to Prepare for the Unexpected During Birth

Pregnancy is an exciting time. Your body is changing, your household is changing, and you’re preparing to bring an entirely new person into the world. There’s a lot to do prior to birth, but one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked, or taken lightly, is the birth itself.

Births don’t always go according to plan, possibly leading to feelings of helplessness in the delivery room, which can be traumatizing for both the birthing person and their partner and can even lead to post-traumatic stress in new mothers.

This is why it’s important for mothers and their partners to plan and prepare for the unexpected so that you can feel comfortable and confident, even if things don’t go according to plan.

Planning for the Unexpected:

Write Your Birth Plan- Including Contingency Plans

Explore your options. Imagine your labor and how you’d like it to play out. Rather than visualizing what you don’t want … cesarean, forceps, etc. Focus on what you do want. You’ll want to visualize your birth all throughout your pregnancy so you will be much more at ease when the day finally arrives.

Once you’ve researched and settled on your desires for your birth, it’s time to consider contingency plans. Namely, what will you do if your birth doesn’t go according to plan.

It’s important to discuss these plans with your provider. Because your attending physician in the hospital may not be your obstetrician,  it’s important to make your desires for your birth clear in writing.

Knowledge Is Empowering

Childbirth Classes provide invaluable information to help you plan for a positive birth experience. Learning about what to expect at different stages of labor, exploring pain relief options, comfort measures, and possible interventions enables you to write a well-thought-out and personalized birth plan.

Consider Hospital Policies

All hospitals are different and some procedures you may have read about may not be available at your chosen hospital. Options such as nitrous oxide, wireless monitoring, use of tubs are just a few examples, as are VBAC policies.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen ever-changing hospital protocols vary greatly from one hospital to another.  Know what your hospital’s policies are so you can make adjustments as needed.

Practice Physical and Mental Exercises

Physical exercise is useful for preparing your body for birth while calming exercises can be used to prepare your mind, and enable you to harness your body’s natural relaxation response.

Calming practices, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and visualization can be used to counter the unexpected during birth. Practice throughout your pregnancy!

Communicate with Your Birth Partner

All of the preparation in the world cannot replace a good birth partner. Share your desires with them; practice your breathing and visualization techniques together throughout your pregnancy. The more you prepare with your partner, the better team you’ll make.

Consider Hiring a Doula

Employing a doula is like having a birth coach, a supportive friend, and a knowledgeable advocate by your side. A doula’s primary responsibility is to you— not the hospital administrator, nurse, midwife or doctor. This responsibility directly translates to advocacy inside

the labor and delivery room, helping you to communicate your desires and concerns, amplifying your voice, helping you to navigate your birth journey, wherever that journey takes you.

Interested in hiring a doula?

Reach out to A Mother’s Perspective Doula Services.

Visit: mothersperspective.com

Email: jennifer@mothersperspective.com

Call: 540-907-7892

Emily Freehling
Emily Freehling
Emily Freehling is an award-winning journalist who helps Fredericksburg Parent and Family's advertisers tell valuable stories through magazine advertorials and videos. Emily also produces content for a wide variety of other clients and outlets. Find her on LinkedIn and at emilyfreehling.com.

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