1. Surround Yourself With Only Positive, Loving People And Caregivers Pregnancy is a time of lots of change and stresses. It can also be a time of wonderful healing and growth. Pregnant women tend to be very suggestible, and negativity can impact them more than they think. Pregnant women should make it a point to surround themselves only with loving people, positive messages, and life-affirming, supportive care.
2. Be Assertive About Your Care Stand up for yourself and your baby! Don't accept anything less than wonderful care. Don't be bullied or pressured into any tests or procedures that you are not sure of, or out of anything that you feel would be best for you and your baby. Become your own best advocate. You do not have to do anything you don't want to agree to.. YOU are the employer, and they are your employee, after all! If you are not satisfied, speak up and try to work things out; often there is a compromise position that can be worked out. Do whatever you need to, to feel safe and respected and listened to. Your baby is depending on you!
3. Research Pregnancy And Childbirth Issues Become an informed health consumer. There are many controversies in childbirth care, and even the experts disagree strongly among themselves about some things. You will not get the same care if you go to different providers; you'd be surprised how much care decisions will differ between providers! Research pregnancy and childbirth issues so that you know what you why a proposed procedure or intervention may be beneficial or harmful, what the trade off of risks and benefits are, and what impact the decision may have on your and your baby. Women who are more involved in their care tend to have happier and more satisfying birth experiences. Form a partnership with your provider and share responsibility for your care.
4. Be Proactive; Practice Excellent Nutrition And Exercise Habits Taking care of your baby doesn't start at birth; it starts long before then! Do everything you can ahead of time to prevent problems from happening. Utilize prevention now instead of intervention later! Get serious about minimizing stress in your life, get regular exercise, and practice excellent nutrition. Remember that everything you are doing now may be influencing your baby. You don't have to be absolutely perfect, but do work hard towards being as proactive as possible. Taking great care of your self now can prevent or minimize lots of problems later on. This is one of the most powerful tools for a healthy pregnancy and birth you have, and it's entirely under your control. Really work hard to do the absolute best job you can!
5. Choose A Midwife For Your Care If Possible Strongly consider a midwife for your care. Midwives have a much lower rate of intervention, take more time to talk to you about your concerns and choices, and are much more likely to be size-friendly. In some studies, you cut your chances for a caesarean nearly in half by choosing a midwife, and strongly lower your chances for an episiotomy too. OBs are appropriate if you are high-risk (pre-existing diabetes, heart problems, etc.) but they are mostly trained in birth abnormalities and not how best to foster a normal vaginal birth. Midwives are the expert in normal birth, and are much more likely to work with you to help prevent complications, take time to listen to your fears, and give you lots of choices and alternatives in your care.
6. Hire A Doula To Assist You And Your Partner Consider hiring a professional labour support person ("doula") to help both you and your partner through the labour and birth. Doulas are especially helpful for first-time moms, and for women with special concerns, such as those with a lot of birthing fears, a history of negative contact with doctors, a prior difficult birth, a past history of abuse, or a history of infertility/pregnancy loss. The presence of a doula is known to cut the caesarean rate significantly, lower the rate of women needing drugs during labour, increase the chances for breastfeeding success, and improve maternal satisfaction with the birth. Although many fathers fear that hiring a doula would displace them or make them feel uncomfortable at the birth, a doula actively works to support both the father and the mother during the birth. Fathers who were initially dubious about hiring a doula almost universally report a high level of satisfaction with that choice afterwards; they were surprised at how much it helped, and at how much they appreciated extra emotional and physical support. Doulas are experts in birth, and have many 'labour tricks' they can suggest to help if the going gets tough. You do not have to be committed to a completely all-natural birth in order to hire a Doula; Doulas support your birthing preferences, and work to help you achieve the birthing experience you desire
7. Attend Non-Hospital Childbirth Classes Choose childbirth education classes that occur outside of the hospital setting as part of your preparation for birth. Although you will pay more for these classes, you are more likely to get exposure to a wider variety of viewpoints and choices, and more in-depth assistance in methods of coping with labour contractions. Although some hospital classes are good, many hospital-based classes are simply exercises in how to be a good, compliant patient and not question your treatment.