1. Choose the right provider for you:
I’ve found that especially first time couples choose the first provider they’ve heard of and even if they don’t click with them, they stick with them the entire time. The truth is, this is your choice! Find a provider that you feel comfortable with – know their policies and procedures and feel good about it. Your birth experience is your experience and making these early decisions help make that possible. (Spokane has many options from difference hospital experiences, birth centers and home birth midwives! I can't list all of them here but again, ask me for information and I would love to pass it along).
2. Take a holistic childbirth class (not just the one the hospital offers):
The truth is, you need to be prepared. Birth is one of the most important events of a woman’s life if they choose to do it, so invest in it. I would also suggest taking a class outside of the hospital class that is provided. When I took a “Birthing as Nature Intended” class with my first, it left me feeling like I knew everything my body was going to do, it prepared my partner and it helped me feel excited. Knowledge is power!
A couple suggestions:
I teach a class now!
Over the Moon Birthing
3. Hire a doula:
I promise I’m not saying this to promote myself – I really believe in the power of having a doula at your birth. I had a doula with my first, I hired one for my second and I couldn’t imagine birth without it, especially because birth is unpredictable. It’s important to plan but doulas are super important for when things don’t go as planned. I had a couple who after a difficult three day induction said to me, “the only we did in preparation for this kind of birth that was helpful was having a doula.” Each labor is different and you can’t always prepare for what is going to happen. Doulas know birth, they have seen all different kinds of labor and they are there to help make you feel supported and encouraged no matter what. Plus they are really important to help encourage the partner as well.
Doulas in my doula group:
4. Invest in yourself:
For my first birth, I honestly did not do this. I didn’t know the importance of things like chiropractic work, acupuncture, prenatal yoga, childbirth classes, consistent exercise, reading up on birth, etc. There are so many resources out there so find what will help you feel good and be healthy throughout your pregnancy. And invest in your body! If you have more questions about this ask me! I know a lot of difference local resources I can point you toward.
5. Make a postpartum plan:
This doesn’t have to be extensive. I think the most important thing is to think about, read a little bit and talk to your partner about the postpartum period. You will need a community around you to help you out. My suggestion would be to identify two or three people you can talk to beforehand about helping out once the baby is here. One could be in charge of creating a meal train and passing it along, one could be in charge of helping with your older kids if you have them and one could be in charge of checking in on mom and making sure she is healthy. Another thing I would suggest is read up things like breastfeeding, PPD and most importantly, listen to what you need. Say no to others and say yes to yourself during this time.