Anne Doherty Quinn is a hypnobirthing instructor at ‘Simply Birth Donegal‘. Through classes and workshops, she helps parents take the fear out of childbirth.
So you’re delighted to be pregnant but suddenly you’re getting inundated with lots of advice, as well as horror stories.
Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to do things YOUR WAY:
- Forget the horror stories.
Listening to all the gory details of a loved one’s experience or watching shows like ‘One Born Every Minute’ will not make you more informed, only more nervous or worried.
Instead of focusing on the birth you don’t want, start focusing on the birth you DO want to have. Surrounding yourself with positive birth stories and images is a good place to start.
- Prepare for your birth, the same way as you would any other major event in your life.
If you’d signed up for a marathon, you wouldn’t skip training because you don’t know what way things will go on the day – you could get a cramp, feel ill or the weather might not be what you were expecting. You’d still train hard regardless and hope for the best.
Birth is no different. We can’t control what will happen on the day, but we can stack the odds in your favour of it being a positive experience.
Good preparation is key. This doesn’t mean you have to swallow a medical dictionary or start worrying about every possible scenario that could (and probably won’t) go wrong. But there’s no point in burying your head in the sand either. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any!
- Exercise regularly.
Giving birth takes physical strength and energy. Yoga and swimming are both great forms of exercise when pregnant.
If you have other little ones or have a busy work schedule, this can be hard to fit in. Exercise at home with YouTube videos, or see if you can fit in a good walk a few times a week.
- Bring your birth partner when you go to a birth preparation class.
They will be one of your biggest assets in labour – once they know how! By going to a class together they’ll know what you know, will have a very definite role to play and have the tools and techniques to really support you on the day.
- There is no ‘rulebook’ for birth.
Or parenting for that matter.
Too often women talk about ‘not being allowed’ to do certain things when they give birth. Know that you have choices and the same rights in childbirth as you do in all other areas of your life.
Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions so that you can make informed decisions that are right for you and your baby.
- Head down baby.
Our modern lifestyle means we are sitting a lot more than we did in the past. This has led to an increase in breech and back to back presentations so it’s worth making a conscious effort to encourage baby into a good position for birth, especially in the third trimester. Sit on a birth ball for spells everyday, and avoid too much time spent lying on your back with your belly button pointing up to the ceiling. Spinning Babies is an excellent resource to check out if needed.
One of the most powerful tools you have in birth is your mind. There’s a strong link between your thoughts and beliefs about birth and how your body will react during labour.
Listening to positive MP3s helps undo negative associations around birth that have built up over your lifetime. This, combined with the knowledge of normal birth and relaxation techniques will help keep you calm, focused and in control.
Hypnobirthing is a really useful tool for ALL births, whether natural, medicated, induced or a caesarean birth.
If going to a class isn’t an option, getting a book and some MP3s to listen to will also be really worthwhile.
- The Fourth Trimester.
So many Mums can’t see past the birth itself and forget to think about the early days with a newborn.
Freeze some food, try to keep visitors to a minimum for a few days, ask family members and friends to help out if you have older children.
Have the contact details of any professionals or support groups you could call on if you need some extra support in the beginning, especially if you are planning on breastfeeding.
- Permission to slow down.
You’re growing another human in there. That can be hard work at times!
Take time to relax, to tune into your breath and your instincts – you can’t do this if you are rushing around all the time.
Take time to wonder at the marvel of it all.
- Your Birth, Your Way.
Enjoy preparing for the birth of your baby in whatever way empowers and works for you. And believe in yourself! Your body is designed for birth. You’ve got this!
Anne is a mother of three and helping women own their birth experience is her passion.
She teaches one day ‘Positive and Prepared’ hypnobirthing classes for Mums to be and their birth partners in Letterkenny and Donegal Town. Contact 087 9241432 or find her on Facebook and Instagram @simplybirthdonegal.