12 Ways to Have a Better Birth
As a L&D nurse, doula and childbirth educator, I’ve led many women down the path to motherhood.
Some births go better than a mama had planned and some don’t. Birth isn’t always predictable and moms need to be flexible while it’s unfolding.
But there are some things that you can do to set yourself up for your best birth possible. Finding support, informing yourself and reading about other moms' experiences can all help you decide what kind of birth you want.
Read on to check out 12 ways you can have your best birth possible:
1 Read positive birth affirmations during your pregnancy and believe in your body’s ability to give birth.
You wouldn’t believe how powerful your thoughts actually are! If you tell your brain that you are strong and capable of giving birth, your body will actually start to believe it!
2 Watch The Business of Being Born
It’s an eye-opening documentary about the state of childbirth. It follows a few women as their births unfold in the hospital and at home. It was created by Ricki Lake.
3 Use visual imagery to envision your perfect birth.
Where are you? Who’s with you? What are you wearing? What music are you listening to? Imagery is used by athletes all the time before big events- you have to see yourself having the EXACT birth that you want.
Seriously. Write it down with very specific details. See yourself handling labour and birth, imagine how happy and excited your birth is going to make you. Close your eyes every single day and envision it. This is just another confidence booster that will convince you how capable your body is of giving birth.
4 Research REBOZO
The Rebozo is so versatile for childbirth. You can use it to hang, to provide support to your belly, to sift your baby down the birth canal and even to use if you’re chilly. I can’t recommend it enough! Watch this video about using a Rebozo during birth and decide if you want to use one for your birth.
5 Attend a breastfeeding class while you’re pregnant.
Mama, if you’re planning to breastfeed you should take a class while you’re still pregnant. Look, it seems like breastfeeding should be the most natural thing in the world for a mom and baby, right? The truth is that it’s a learned art and starting off with as much information as possible is the quickest way to a successful breastfeeding relationship! This post is JAM-PACKED with information about how to get started on your breastfeeding journey, including free downloads!
If you're a mama who smokes cigarettes, you NEED to check out this blog post!
6 Are you a visual person? Learn about cervical dilation.
Watch this video about cervical dilation so you can understand what it means for your cervix to “thin and dilate”. It’s really cool and she uses a balloon and a pingpong ball to demonstrate!
It’s easy enough for a nurse to tell you that you’re dilating, but do you really know what it means for your birth? Check out the video and you’ll have a better understanding of the process your cervix has to go through to become “fully”.
7 Ask your mother or grandmother about her birth experience.
You may notice that she’ll be able to recall very specific details about the day you were born, so many years ago. That’s the power of birth. It’s important for you to understand that you will remember specific details too. It’s important to protect your memories by feeling your absolute BEST on your birth day. Check out this post about 3 different moms with 3 different birth memories!
8 If you can, hire a doula for your birth.
It’s scientifically proven that moms who use doulas have shorter labours and reduce their chances of having: an epidural, vacuum, forceps or a caesarean!
So many women think they don't need a doula because they're having a caesarean or epidural or a midwife.
Check out this blog post that outlines the most common reasons women DON'T want to hire a doula.
9 Learn About Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
It's not normal to pee a little when you sneeze, even while your'e pregnant! Check this out to see other symptoms of a weak pelvic floor that you can totally fix! Btw- don't do any more than 50 Kegels a day. If you want to know why they’re important, listen to this song- “Do The Kegel” (It's pretty hilarious!)
10 Let labour begin on its own. Avoid induction if possible.
For the most part, inducing labour means other interventions are necessary (IV fluids, which limit your movement, for instance). The more interventions, the higher your risk of needing forceps, vacuum or a caesarean.
If you're dreaming of a natural birth, read this gem: 5 Things Standing Between You and a Natural Birth
11 Stay home until you’re in active labour.
This is a tough one, especially if it’s your first birth. But a general rule of thumb for active labour is contractions. The truth is, even if you’re planning on an epidural you can’t have one until you’re in active labour.
When your contractions are 3-5 minutes apart and lasting 60-70 seconds, you're considered to be in "active labour".
12 Attend a childbirth class or take one online. Connect with other moms and check in with each other every week by phone, email or text.
Obviously I’m going to suggest this. After all, I’m a childbirth educator AND I happen to be the founder and President of Mamasoup Inc., the app just for moms! But finding people who are going through the same experiences as you can make you feel so much better about the daily changes to your body.
You deserve to have an incredible happy birth, Mama.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!