- Posted by Emma Fraser
- On 6th April 2020
- 0 Comments
- Antenatal, Hypnobirthing, Positive Birth
Key elements to a positive birth include – feeling calm and safe, having a supportive birth team and building up oxytocin levels in the body to support the birth process.
This blog is a quick reference guide of easy ways to control what you can in any birth space and help support your body and mind through labour and birth.
Who is there with you?
Who is with you and the general vibe in the room can make a massive difference to any birth experience. Let’s think about who may be there and what each can do to support the birth process:
Birth Partner – A supportive birth partner can help make a mother feel calm, safe and confident. They can set up the room to support movement, dim lights to maintain a cosy birth space. They are also part of building that positivity with others in the room – smile, laugh, chat – don’t be afraid to still be you!
Your Midwife – Midwives are some of the best multitaskers in the world. They are there ensuring mum and baby are safe and healthy, checking heartrates, blood pressure, urine and endless other observations, while furiously note-taking in between to ensure everything is recorded. They also provide emotional and practical support to labouring women – running baths, position suggestions, gentle reassurance, encouragement and much more. I have been in rooms with the most wonderful midwives who go above and beyond to support the women they are with.
Obstetricians & anaesthetists – The doctors may be in the same unit or hospital where you are having your baby (they obviously won’t be about if you are having a home birth). In many instances, the doctors will be nearby but only come into the room on request to check-in, offer advice, or perform procedures as needed.
Your Doula – You may have a doula either with you for the birth wherever that may be, or your doula may be joining you via technological means – video call, phone, messaging apps. They will most certainly still be finding ways to support you and your birth partner even if they cannot be in the room with you. Making suggestions on setting up the room, comfort measures to try, adjustments to position, or massage tips. Offering a listening ear or helping you run through options when decisions need to be made.
The Birth Space
Setting up a birth space in a way that makes you feel most comfortable can be invaluable. Move things about
Bed or sofa taking up the whole room? Push them to one side.
Clinical equipment making you feel uncomfortable? See what can feasibly be moved out of the room, cover anything else with a bed sheet or even better bring a few colourful scarfs to drape over things.
Lighting. Can you close blinds or curtains, turn off unnecessary lighting, maybe just leave a lamp or bathroom light on to give some light to the room.
Noise. Make sure the door leading to the hallway is kept closed, all too often drapes of curtains inside the door are used as the main barrier to the hallway and they are not a very good filter to the outside world.
Your positive birth kit
Sleep Mask – Use this to block out light and distractions in the room. It is great for helping go into your own little bubble, ready to let your body take over.
Headphones – Get a pair of headphones or earbuds to really focus on what you are listening to.
Playlist – Make a playlist full of songs that make you feel happy, relaxed or even a little bit loved up!
Hypnobirthing tracks / recorded scripts – Hypnobirthing is wonderful in any birth scenario, what can make it even more useful is getting your partner or a friend to record the hypnobirthing scripts in a familiar voice. If you are using prerecorded tracks make sure to listen to them well before labour to get used to relaxing with them and making sure the voices don’t actually annoy you!
Rebozo / scarf – Rebozo is something that most doulas love. There are simple rebozo tips that we have shared on our YouTube channel that can get you started. Rebozo is a traditional Mexican scarf, but if you don’t have one a scarf or bedsheet can be used for the same techniques.
Massage – Massage helps to increase all of those lovely birthy hormones. Gentle massage between contractions and hip squeezes or counter pressure during contractions is often a good combination.
Essential oils – If there are scents that make you feel good then these are great for labour and birth. Clary sage is an oil known to help labour progress, but be careful not to overdo it. Speak to your midwife to check in on essential oil recommendations.
Blanket – Bringing a blanket from home to where you are giving birth can make things feel that bit more relaxed. Wrap yourself up or drape the blanket completely over you.
TENS – These little machines are a great job for labour, our big tip is to get using them early in labour to get the most benefit from them. They are also really helpful for back pain during labour.
Water – Shower, bath or birth pool. All these forms of water can be used during labour to comfort mother, and some women share that they were the most effective thing for them.
With everything going on we understand how unsettling preparing for birth may be. Belfast Baby Co have put together online antenatal and hypnobirthing classes to help parents feel prepared and in control of their upcoming birth experiences.
We also offer digital doula services where we can support parents to be virtually through video, phone and message.
Get in touch with us using our contact form and we would be happy to chat about what support we could offer you as you get ready to meet your new baby.