June, an RN with 25 years of experience, a certified IBCLC Lactation Consultant, an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator, and the owner of Childbirth Education Services, provides some essential tips and advice for both mom and dad-to-be.
Advice for Both Parents:
1) 1) Learn about childbirth so that you can make informed decisions before, during and after birth. Knowing that birth is a normal, natural process for a woman’s body will greatly reduce pain, fear, and anxiety. To learn about childbirth, take classes, ask friends and family questions about their experiences, read books and watch childbirth videos (recommended books are included at the bottom of this article.)
2) Seek, search and plan for childbirth classes EARLY, as resources are limited, especially in hospitals and pick classes that suite your needs and schedule. Private classes can be taken in 2 sessions, whereas hospital classes are generally 6-7 sessions. If mom is planning on breastfeeding, choose a class that includes breastfeeding in its lessons.
3) Research hospital birthing techniques before choosing a doctor and then select the hospital that best suites your wishes and needs for the type of birth plan you have. You can contact labour and delivery of the hospital you’ve chosen to get a referral for a doctor.
4) Decide if a midwife, family doctor, or obstretrician or a combination would be best for you. Choosing a midwife for home or hospital means that they are there to assist you twenty-four hours a day during your labour. Choosing an obstetrician generally means that your baby is delivered by the obstretrician on call, and that they rely on nurses to update them on your progress until it’s time to deliver. Choosing a family doctor generally means that a doctor would assist you, with the help of nurses, and attend the birth.
5) Investigate the benefits of having a doula (a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and during the postpartum period).
Advice for Mom:
1) Moms should plan to have a person (relative, friend or doula) other than your partner with you during labour; it can decrease the need for medication during birth.
2) Moms should prepare physically by exercising during pregnancy. Yoga and walking are great low impact ways to get exercise. Exercising throughout your pregnancy will make for an easier birth.
3) Moms should prepare mentally by thinking positively about the birthing experience as normal and natural. This will help prepare your mind and body to work together for an easier birth.
Advice for Dad:
1) Attend childbirth classes with mom.
2) Learn how labour is going to progress from beginning to delivery of baby through classes, books, movies, and asking friends and medical professionals questions.
3) Learn how to comfort, massage, support and be an advocate for mom during labour in her chosen position.
June's Reading Recommendations:
The Birth Partner, Second Edition : Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, Revised and Updated: The Complete Guide
by Penny Simkin
The Pregnancy Bible : Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
by Joanne Stone
Your Pregnancy Week by Week
by Curtis & Shuler