The following post was written by one of our monthly columnists: Christi Bennett. Christi offers a wealth of good ideas and practical tips on a wide variety of subjects. I'm thrilled to have her a part of our creative team!
This post is part two in a two-part series (ok, so it’s more like a mini-series).
In Part 1, I talked about using the same care in planning your “birth day” as you would in planning your wedding day. Because you’ll remember that day forever.
I gave a lot of details and suggestions for how to choose your “wedding coordinator”—i.e. birth provider.
So, stop right there!
Do not read any further until you read Part 1.
For you scanners out there… Take a look at Part 1 before you check out this article.
(A Quick 5-Second Quiz)
Ok, bride-to-be, now that you’ve cast your vision and you have your supportive wedding coordinator at your side, let’s explore our venue options.
As we decided in Part 1, we are going for a super-casual beach party wedding, complete with a volleyball game and hot dog dinner.
Quiz time: Which venue would be ideal for the beach bash nuptials?
As beautiful as they all are, please tell me you chose option “B.” If you didn’t, read the title and then try again…
Just as there are ideal venues for certain types of weddings, there are ideal locations for certain types of births.
Often, your provider choice and birth location choice go hand-in-hand. Most OB doctors will only deliver in hospitals. Midwives can deliver at home, hospital, or birth center (depending on the midwife).
Let’s take a quick look at the three main “venue” options:
- Allows quick access to medical technology in high-risk or emergency situations
- Can offer epidurals and other pain relief options that other settings can’t
- Often requires (to varying degrees) certain protocols and policies for laboring women, such as IVs, fetal monitoring, clear fluid diet, and regular blood pressure checks (Note: If desired, inquire about the facility’s protocols and the facility’s rates of c-section, episiotomy, etc., to get an idea of what you can expect.)
- More personnel coming in and out to assist with procedures, take blood pressure regularly, etc.
- Affiliated with hospitals where you can be transferred if needed (though transportation takes a bit of time)
- Offers minimal medical support, such as handheld Doppler ultrasound to monitor your baby, IV fluids, oxygen, local anesthesia, infant resuscitators, and infant warmers
- Offers natural childbirth in a comfortable, home-like environment where you can eat and drink what you want, wear your own clothes, have family visit, and have a water birth if desired
- Typically recommended for healthy women with normal pregnancies
- There are also in-hospital birth centers, though they may be hard to find in some areas
- Makes it more difficult to have quick access to medical interventions in emergency situations (and therefore can be higher-risk)
- Allows you to birth in the comfort of your own home with more personal control over the childbirth process
- Typically recommended for healthy women with normal pregnancies
The location of your birth can set the mood and tone of your birth experience, and there are many factors to consider. Take the time you need to choose the place that’s right for your birthing experience.
Bridal Birthing Party
We’re making great progress planning this wedding! Now it’s time to choose the bridal party—or, in our case, birth attendants.
There are really two different questions to consider here:
- Who would you like helping you prepare in the nine months leading up to your birth (besides your doctor/midwife)?
- Who would you most like to have at your side during your labor (besides your doctor/midwife)?
There are many professionals who can assist you during pregnancy and labor. I could say so much about each of them!
This list is not exhaustive, but I recommend researching any that you think you may want to have involved:
- Acupuncturist/Acupressurist – Acupuncture has been shown to help relieve pregnancy troubles such as morning sickness, pelvic pain, and sleeping problems.
- Childbirth Educator – Childbirth education can come in many forms. Classes can be focused more on the medical aspects of childbirth or on pain management/breathing/etc. Most hospitals offer childbirth classes to expectant moms. Doulas sometimes offer personalized instruction. You can sign up for Lamaze or other childbirth classes.
- Chiropractor – Chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy can, among other benefits, balance your pelvis to allow for optimal fetal positioning
- Doula – Literally a Greek word meaning women’s servant. A doula is there to assist you as you prepare for labor as well as during your labor and delivery. Many studies have proven the benefits of having a doula present during pregnancy as well as labor.
- Massage Therapist – Massage therapy during pregnancy can improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
Having some of these people available to help you may cost some extra money. But, like your wedding day, it may be worth the extra investment to make it a more positive experience.
During Labor & Delivery
Many women choose to have their man with them during labor. My hubby was an amazing help and support during my labor and delivery experience!
Make sure to take some time to sit down with him to get on the same page about what you each expect and what type of role he should play. You may also want to consider having him come to a few prenatal appointments/childbirth classes/doula meetings/etc., so he can gain a better understanding of what to expect.
Let’s look at some of the others you may or may not want to have present when in labor:
- Anesthesiologist – Typically, the anesthesiologist on call will be involved if you have an epidural or other anesthesia during labor.
- Birth Photographer/Videographer – Is having photos or video of your birth something you’d like? If so, consider hiring a birth photographer! Some doulas also offer this service. (Note: Check your hospital’s policy—many will not allow photography/video at certain times.)
- Family – Are there any family members you’d like to have there? Or, do you feel having other family (siblings, parents, etc.) there would be a distraction/hindrance to your labor? Make sure to tell them what you want them to do when baby time comes! Would you love to have your mom by your side through your entire labor? Ask her to be there! Think labor will be better with fewer people present? You may want to consider politely requesting beforehand that all extended family members refrain from coming to meet the baby until notified.
- Nurse(s) – Typically you will be assigned a nurse if you deliver at the hospital. However, you can request a different nurse if the one you have is not a good fit! Or you can explain when you arrive what you are looking for in a nurse so they can assign one accordingly.
- Student(s) – Sometimes, student midwives/doctors/nurses are invited to be present. If you have preferences about whether you want a student present at your delivery, let your provider know.
The people you have by your side on that special day can make all the difference.
We don’t want any embarrassing Maid of Honor speeches or attention-stealing bridesmaids at this party!
Finally: Let it Go
So, you’ve made all your wedding plans. Everything is in place. All the people involved know what to do when.
Whatever provider, location, and attendants you choose, just make sure it’s what’s best for you and your baby! Set yourself up with the people and setting you want, and then trust in the arrangements you’ve put in place, let it go, and stay flexible.
Remember: When the big day is finally here, things may not go as planned.
So, keep perspective. Just as a wedding day is only the beginning of a marriage, giving birth is only the beginning of a brand-new, life-changing parenting adventure!
What Do You Think?
What venue have you chosen for your birth(s)? Or are you still deciding?
Which attendants do you find are (or think will be) most helpful?
Meet Christi Bennett
In addition to being a wife, stay-at-home mom, and monthly columnist here at Incredible Infant, Christi does freelance graphic design work, and manages her Etsy shop. She also enjoys photography, fine art, spending time with family and friends, being organized, chocolate, reading, and being outdoors.