Preparing for birth can feel intimidating, but you can do things to feel more confident when the moment comes. These tips will help.
Birth can feel very overwhelming and can sometimes cause new mothers to feel negative instead of positive. After all the decision-making about which crib and what brand of diaper to buy, you then sit back and remember, “Oh right, the birth.” Yikes!
No matter how you intend to or end up giving birth, all mothers deserve to feel confident and empowered when their big day comes. These tips outlined below will help you feel your best on the day you meet your new little one.
I’ve found that some of the fears associated with birth are caused by a lack of education or a gap in prenatal care. It’s time to change that.Ruby Guenther, Doula
Ten tips for giving birth with confidence
Tip #1: Create a birth plan
Creating a birth plan is unique for everyone, but even if you’re a high-risk pregnancy, you should. It doesn’t set standards; it sets your intentions for your birth.
In the process of writing a birth plan or filling out a template, include who you want there, the desired mood, what you want to be done to you (and what you don’t!). Also, take the time to learn about all the common newborn procedures that take place.
Ultimately, a birth plan is not a plan. It’s a time to figure out what you would like and educate yourself on things that may or may not be in your control.
Tip #2: Hire a doula
Hiring a doula might be the best decision you can make. Doulas are emotional and physical support during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
They are not only there for support, but they can be a child educator, as well. When you hire a doula, there’s no need to take a million baby 101 classes. They have all the resources to give you a very positive and educational pre and post-natal journey.
Tip #3: Find your best support system
Finding your support system starts with your care provider. No matter what your pregnancy looks like, we want to make sure you feel heard and supported, which means finding a great midwife or OB-GYN and doula.
I highly suggest interviewing providers and asking personal questions that fit you. This will give you a better understanding of what you want from your tribe.
Tip #4: Ask for help
No matter if it’s in pregnancy, birth, or postpartum, you need to ask for help. Asking for help can look different for everyone. Sometimes asking for help means, “Can you do my laundry?’ Or “Can you go check the mail for me?”.
As new moms, we think we can do it all. Guess what, mama, you can’t. Stop feeling guilty, and start feeling empowered. Asking for help may feel hard now, but man, it will be rewarding.
Tip #5: Let go of the things you can’t control
When I was pregnant, I worried a lot. I worried about all the things I couldn’t control mostly.
- “Will I tear?”
- “What if something goes wrong?”
- “What if he’s not breathing?”
The thoughts that would pop into my head at 2 am drove me crazy. At a certain point, my husband said, “Ruby, you’re slowly killing yourself. You’re okay. Everything will be fine. Stop worrying about all the things that are out of your hands.”
At that moment, I knew I had to get out of that headspace and accept the things I could not control regarding my birth experience. I took things day by day. Week by week, and drowned myself in birth education.
My number one fear was tearing. So, what did I do? I watched over 100 birth videos of women tearing or coming pretty close to it. Yes, I did that. Getting used to fear. Understanding my fear.
And In the end, still remembering it’s all out of my control.
Tip #6: Put up birth affirmations cards around your home
Setting up birth affirmation cards is helpful when you are a little nervous about your birth. If we read something every day or even hear it multiple times a week, we will start to believe it.
Some examples of birth affirmations include:
- You are going to see your baby soon.
- You are designed to give birth.
I have my own downloadable birth affirmations I created and would love to share them with you. Hopefully, they will help you feel like a badass when you birth.
Tip #7: Stretch and move your body
Oh, the power of moving. Stretching the body paired with simple workouts can truly help your labor and delivery.
Some women swear by squats as others love prenatal yoga. My advice as a Doula is, do what feels good for you. Find ways of moving that compliment your body and lifestyle.
Tip #8: Educate yourself
Education is key, and it is so important to feel confident in your birth. Understanding what is happening in your body and with your baby is encouraging. Some of the fears associated with birth are due to lack of education or the gap in prenatal care.
I know it can feel overwhelming with so much to do and so much to learn, as birth can be extremely complex. Write down all the topics you want to dive into and ask your provider about them, talk to a doula, or do your own research.
Sometimes it’s just about watching a couple of birth videos to see what’s about to happen. Sometimes it’s reading books on hypnobirthing. Whatever education looks like to you, jump in and have fun with it. You’ve got this, mama.
Here are some great books for birth education:
- Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Motherhood
- The New Rules of Pregnancy
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
- Giving Birth with Confidence
Tip #9: Make time for self-care
Please take care of yourself. As a new mom, you are learning how to be a new version of yourself. That can be very stressful, and in a blink of an eye, you realized you haven’t showered in six days.
Self-care doesn’t need to be a luxurious spa full of bath bombs and face masks. It can be you drinking some tea alone or listening to a podcast in the bath. Self-care does not mean skincare. Self-care means taking the time to care for yourself.
Check out some of the helpful articles on postpartum self-care.
Tip #10: Have open communication with your care provider
Informed consent and being open with your care provider go together beautifully. If you have questions, ask away.
Suppose you feel uncomfortable about your care and don’t feel like you are given good information; self-advocate for yourself and tell them. Remember, this is your birth, not theirs, and you are the one paying them.
I love the acronym B.R.A.I.N. which means benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, and nothing. Below is an example of how to use B.R.A.I.N.:
B – Benefits
You ask: What are the benefits of having your membrane swept?
Provider answers: It is possible that having your membrane swept will bring on labor.
R – Risks
You ask: What are the risks to having my membrane swept?
Provider answers: Some women find the procedure to be painful, and it may inadvertently rupture your membranes (break your water).
A – Alternatives
You ask: What are the alternatives to having my membranes swept?
Provider answers: You can wait for labor to start on its own.
I – Intuition
Ask yourself, how do you feel about this? What’s your gut telling you?
You ask: What if I don’t want my membranes swept?
Provider answers: There’s no real risk, but we can discuss at a later time.
Final thoughts on giving birth confidently
Having a confident birth means you feel good about your pregnancy and birth experience. There is no gold star for having a birth plan, natural birth, no medication, or waterbirth. You get a gold star for birthing and taking full control of your space.
Birthing your baby will most likely be the most memorable yet insane day of your life. So you might as well go about it with a heart full of confidence. You got this, mama.