Maybe you don’t think that birth is something that you can plan, however if you really want to have an empowered birth there are some things you should think about and do before hand. Such as..
- Talk to other women about their births.
Surround yourself with role models for birth – women who have wisdom you can learn from. Learn from the good experiences of others and also the negatives, so that you may learn not to repeat the same mistakes they did. Find out the best parts of their experiences, and find out what they’d do differently. Discuss the types of care they had during pregnancy and also after pregnancy, too. Information is power. Normalising positive birth begins with discussing birth in an open field, and doing lots of listening.
- Ask questions.
When you have found prospective care providers to support you throughout your pregnancy, have a list of questions you want to ask them ready prepared. Be detailed! This is your birth – it’s an experience you’ll never forget. If their answers don’t mesh with your values then perhaps it’s worthwhile to look elsewhere, or keep asking more questions. Ask them about their caesarian rate, ask them about why they are in the maternity-care industry, and what they love about it. Find out about what the root of their passions are, to see if you’re in sync. Ask them about what kind of care they offer when things don’t go to plan, too.
- Think about the kind of birth you want.
Whether it’s giving birth in water, having your other children present at the birth or even Lotus birth – brainstorm it, so that you can then be clear in your head about your goals. And then find care providers who will support you to achieve your outcomes.
- Think about beyond birth, too.
An empowered birth experience does not just end when the baby is out. Think about what you’d like your first few days as a new mother (or a new second-time mother) to look like, and make sure you discuss what postnatal care encompasses from your care providers. If they can’t offer you much support post-natally; find out who can.
- Make sure your partner is onboard & can be your advocate.
Birth is definitely women’s business; but it really helps to be clear with your significant other about the kind of birth you want to have, so that they can be there to advocate for you when you are not in the position to. If you don’t have a significant other, that’s okay of course – but have someone who you know and trust who can support you to achieve the type of birth you want, and can boost you emotionally when you’re feeling fragile so that your wishes are respected.
Birth isn’t just one day. It is a sacred rite of passage; and one that you will forever remember. So believe me when I say, it helps to be prepared.