People often ask me what the secret to an amazing birth is. It got me thinking... I could say that it is education, knowing proper nutrition or great birth positions. Those are all really important but I believe the number one thing that can make or break a birth experience is the labor support team.
These people are not experiencing the birth personally but they are so important in helping and guiding a mother through her experience. Birth is a woman's job.
Try and imagine trying to hike Mount Everest. You can't go and hike it tomorrow. You need training, intense training, and amazing guides. Even though you have intensely trained, you don't know the way, you need support along the trip. Birth is a woman's Mount Everest. It is physically one of the most challenging things a woman will experience in her life. Having a great support team can make her experience amazing.
THE SUPPORT PERSON
- Can you have just anyone? NO! This person needs to be someone you can rely on and trust deeply. Birth is one of the most intimate moments of a woman's life.
- What if they have no idea what they are doing? What if they are terrified to see you in pain? This person needs to be educated. Knowing the birth process itself is so powerful. This helps mom and her partner know what is actually happening. They can see hallmark signs of the labors progression and know what comes next. Education also teaches the birth team in knowing what will help with labor pains.
- Do you want your support person passing out when you need them most?!
- Do you need a doula?? YES YES YES you do! They are the most invaluable tool you can add to your toolbox. I want to shout from the rooftops that everyone needs a doula! Think Oprah... "You get a doula, and you get a doula!!"
- I will never forget the support I was given during my first birth. Our doula guided my husband and I and took our fear away. Being able to look up and see her calm, smiling face allowed me to relax and know that what was going on was good and normal. It allowed me to surrender to the process and allow my baby to be born.
- They support your support person. They guide them and teach them how to give you the help you need the most.
- They suggest new coping skills, comfort measures, relaxation techniques.
- They can help you weigh pros and cons of unplanned events.
THE CARE PROVIDER
- This is one of the most important parts of your whole birth. Your care provider can make or break your experience.
- What they "allow" or don't allow guides your birth. If you have a provider who doesn't agree with your hopes and goals, find someone who does!
- Watch for red flags. Hearing "I'll LET you... We'll see about that..." are signs that your provider really isn't supportive of your plan. Are they laughing, mocking your wishes? Trust your intuition. You are hiring them, think about that for a minute...
- Advocate for yourself and your baby. This may be the first decision you make as a parent.
Paige Goldade - A Birth Boot Camp Instructor living and loving in South Dakota. She is a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers. She works as a childbirth educator and Board Certified Registered Nurse.