Now that you have considered where you are going to have your baby and who your care provider will be, it’s important to think about who you will have by your side when you bring this amazing blessing into the world. Who you choose to have in your “birth space” is critical, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to take some time to think about what is important to you regarding your birth and who will help foster those hopes.
Birth is such a beautiful, amazing, EMOTIONAL, and VULNERABLE event, and you want to have people around you who will be supportive – and more importantly, who will advocate for you and your baby when you are having a hard time speaking for yourself.
Considerations for Your Birth Team…
Spouse/Partner: This is typically a no-brainer! Taking birthing classes together (I love the private class offerings in Des Moines – they are so much more intimate) can help your partner feel more confident about being a good birth companion. Knowing what to expect and what situations may arise ahead of time instills confidence, and being offered suggestions for ways to help you through labor gives your spouse/partner some tools for feeling some worth throughout the process. I HIGHLY recommend spending time together talking about what is important to you both regarding standards of care and procedures during your pregnancy, labor, delivery and aftercare.
Doula: Full disclosure: I am a doula, so I’m partial to this; but really, everyone should consider having a doula! My husband and I had one for each of our births and wouldn’t change it for the world! A doula’s job is to educate, equip and empower women and their families to have the birth they desire, and then to advocate for them and support them throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, and beyond. Often times dads and partners worry that a doula will take over their job, but a good doula should actually help them feel like a better support person. They don’t speak on your behalf; they will support you in whatever path your journey takes you on and will answer your questions and guide you to resources along the way.
Prenatal Chiropractor: Again, I’m partial to this and biased, as it’s my passion and profession. Finding a chiropractor who is trained in prenatal chiropractic and receiving care throughout your pregnancy can be a game changer. Studies have shown, and I’ve seen over the years, that pregnant women seeking chiropractic care are less likely to experience back pain during pregnancy and back labor, and more likely to have shorter labors and pushing time and less in-utero constraint for their babies. The main support for your uterus is your pelvis, and making sure your pelvis is aligned will help with optimal positioning of the uterus and your baby.
Massage Therapist: We all know that our bodies experience many changes during pregnancy. Our center of gravity changes, our pelvises and rib cages expand, and our muscles and ligaments are stretched to compensate for our growing child. Seeing a massage therapist routinely, and especially at the end of pregnancy, can help ease those transitions, decrease muscle tension and back/hip pain. And, getting to be on your belly for an extended period (with a pregnancy table supporting your belly) is amazing! The best massage of my life was actually the one I was gifted just days after our daughter was born!!
Acupuncturist: This is something I can’t completely understand, but I can guarantee you that it was the most helpful with my nausea and fatigue in early pregnancy, and I’m certain it was a critical component in my easy labors and deliveries. Aimed at optimizing the energy flow and proper function of your organ systems, acupuncture isn’t as painful as you would imagine and always promised the best relaxation and rest of my week. Acupuncture can aid in a healthy pregnancy, and is heavily sought after by moms with breech babies or those facing induction.
Birth Photographer: Capturing the moments and range of emotions leading up to your child’s birth, as well as their first breath and minutes on this earth, is something that is growing in popularity and is an incredible keepsake to have. As I tell families all of the time, if you are at all considering photographing/capturing video of your labor and delivery, DO IT. You can always put them away and not look at them, but you can never get those moments and that opportunity back. The albums and video presentations put together by these amazing photographers dedicated to birth are so impressive and wonderful to share with friends and family. And the best part, they are so stealthy, you often wouldn’t even know they were there!
Of course this may seem like an entourage to some, and others may also want to include other family members and best friends; but take some time to intentionally consider who you want by your side, what moments you want captured, and what steps you want to take ahead of time for a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Watch for my post next month on birth plans.