Tips for a safe and less stressful birth

Parenting begins before your baby arrives. Today, you have many birth options available to you. You are not expected to simply lie on your back with your legs propped up the stirrups. However, along with the freedom of choice comes the responsibility of making an informed decision. It would be unwise to say that you will have a relaxed and easy birth experience if you make the right choices, but it will definitely make the experience safer and less traumatic. In this article, I would like to share some birth tips that I found most helpful based on my personal and professional experience.

1. Keep a positive mental attitude – This may sound like a gratuitous advice but according to a study conducted by Dr Gerhard Rottmann from the University of Salzburg, your mental attitude has the single greatest effect on your newborn. Rottman studied 141 women throughout their pregnancy up to the time they gave birth.  He found that mothers with a positive mental attitude had the easiest pregnancy, most trouble-free births and healthiest baby, both emotionally and physically. On the other hand, mothers with negative mental attitudes experienced more medical problems during pregnancy. They also had the most number of premature births and low-birth weight babies.

2. Keep moving – Lying on your back while in labour is probably the least helpful labour position you can take. That position is more for the benefit of the midwife or doctor, so they can examine you or get to the baby easily if they need to intervene with the birth. In fact, when I delivered my firstborn, lying on my back made the contraction more painful.

So, unless you have had an epidural, keep moving. In fact, in the early stage of labour, you’ll probably feel restless. It’s your body telling you to keep moving. Keeping active can help labour progress quicker and also eases the discomforts.

3. Avoid lying on your back - According to Dr William Sears, co- author of the ‘Baby Book’, lying on your back during delivery puts pressure on your blood vessels, thus reducing the blood supply to your uterus and your baby. He likened back birthing to pushing your baby ‘uphill’, as lying on your back narrows your pelvic outlet. Additionally, when you lie on your back and lift your feet up, it tenses the birth canal, making it difficult for the baby to pass through.

Dr Sear recommends squatting as it widens the pelvic outlet for pushing, or standing, as it allows gravity to help make delivery easier.

4. Create a birth plan – The more you plan your birth, the more likely you are going to get what you want. A birth plan can help your midwife understand what you want, giving them a chance to support you better. However, be flexible. However much you plan your birth, it’s not going to follow your script. So, separate what is most important to you, from what would be nice.  And don’t copy someone else’s birth plan. It’s not a test on how well you can write your plan; it’s about expressing your expectations during the birthing process.

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