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5 Things to Know Before Giving Birth

The nursery is decorated, tiny clothes are all hung up, and your hospital bag is ready by the door. You’re ready for this… right? While it’s important to plan for all the fun parts of having a baby (those tiny onesies are irresistible!), make sure that you’re prepared for the main event: Giving birth. Kathy has been talking to the nicest, most wonderful, childbirth educators and doulas to find out exactly what they think you need to know before you go into the delivery room. Here are the 5 things we think you need to know before giving birth ....

1. Train your mind

A man cradling a pregnant womans stomach with the logo bliss in birth

“Childbirth is a marathon, train your mind and body to get ready for it,” explains Maud, of Bliss in Birth. I loved how Maud outlined a lovely way to think about the start of the parenting journey: “Everyone has their own path that eventually leads them to becoming the best parent for their baby.”

Helen and Tania, both Birth Doulas with Love Birth and Gentle Beginnings respectively, discuss the importance of self-care, stress reduction and emotional well-being, even before you have conceived.

Helen gently encourages people, “Don’t be negative about labour and birth with expecting parents. Empower them on their journey.” While the narrative around childbirth can often have negative energy, ensure that you seek people out who can lift you up, and who talk about how incredible the process of childbirth is. Maud shared a perfect quote from Marie Morgan: “Your uterus is perfectly designed to assist you birth your baby.” That sums up exactly what I want pregnant women everywhere to remember.

My take: I remember being asked so many questions by friends and family about the negative aspects of childbirth, or warned of the things that would hurt or be difficult. I wish I had spent more time preparing my own mental state so that I could have been truly present, and focused on, some of the wonderful moments during my own daughter's birth.


2. Educate Yourself

Gentle Beginnings logo of womans and babys hand

Birth Doula Tania from Gentle Beginnings reminds us that “Knowledge is power”.

The birthing experience isn’t exactly a time when you want to wing it. Speak to your doula, doctor, or healthcare professional to understand exactly what you’ll experience when giving birth, and what that means for you, your body, and your baby. Now is the time to ask questions, take notes, and get clarification on anything you’re unsure of. Ask about the room you’ll give birth in, the afterbirth care you’ll receive, and how they plan to support you as you bond with your baby after birth.

No matter how, or where, you plan to have your baby, educating “yourself about childbirth so that you can make the best decisions for you and your baby” enables us to “let go fears and negative images about birth and parenting, explains Maud from Bliss in Birth. Positive thoughts become positive plan”.

Helen from Love Birth stressed to me that we must remember, “It's your Body, your Baby and your Birth”, you deserve to have your own unique moments based on your own unique needs.

My take: Ask questions, ask ALL the questions - trust doesn’t equal informed consent - get informed so that you can make informed decisions about your own body and on behalf of your baby


3. Create a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a document that “outlines your preferences and desire for labour and delivery” explains Tania from Gentle Beginnings. This can range from the position you want to give birth in, who you want in the room with you, to the music you want playing. The birth plan outlines your priorities, and is given to your healthcare provider. Having a plan in place before labour starts is key… No one wants to be scrambling in the middle of contractions.

Helen Nash Midwife and Doula supporting a woman in labour

Maud said it perfectly, “There is no perfect way to give birth but your way”. Doulas are so passionate when they talk about childbirth preparation, all they really want you to do is to “Love your Birth!” explains Helen from Love Birth. Of course, while we love a good birth plan, it’s important to stay flexible as labour can be unpredictable. Fortunately, we have doulas like Tania and Helen available to support clients through these moments of adaptability in the heat of the moment.

While you should have plans in place, also make space for flexibility. Your healthcare providers should honour your plan, but will also let you know if they need to deviate from it for any reason. Changes to a birth plan do not mean that there was any failure, but that a different path was necessary.

My take: It can feel intimidating to write your own birth plan, but it’s a natural flow from point 1. When we educate ourselves about our bodies, our options and believe in ourselves, and can articulate that with a clear conscious mind it truly helps your healthcare team support you in the most beneficial ways for you and your baby.


4. Build a Support System

Surround yourself with a supportive network as you get ready to give birth. Build your village so they are there for you before and after you give birth. Everyone’s village looks a little bit different, so find one that supports you unconditionally and that will love and cherish you and your baby.

Whether you have family, friends, or chosen family around you, make sure they are there to give you both care and support, and “if someone offers you help, say yes! Even if it's to buy milk, so that they ask again when needed,” said Helen quite forcibly (haha!)! Seeking support is crucial, and knowing who you will turn to is priceless. Tania explains that, “postpartum can be a physically and emotionally demanding time”, and I know as a Postpartum Doula that when you are in the thick of the acute postpartum period it can feel too overwhelming to reach out, so get it lined up in advance.

My take: This is my mantra, this is why I created Pregnant and Popped, we aren’t meant to do this alone, we were never meant to do this alone.


5. Advocate For Yourself

“Your voice matters”, says Tania from Gentle Beginnings. You and your babies are the stars of the show, and what you say goes (within safety reasons!). Trust that your care providers are doing the best work possible for you, but make sure that your boundaries are respected, and that any pre-arranged plans are put in place. The birthing experience is unique for everyone; use your voice to make sure you have the kind that you will treasure forever.

Maud teaches that “there are no stupid questions” in her Hypnobirthing classes, because it’s the start of women finding their voice during this transition. Remember this is your baby and doulas like Helen make sure that women know their own strengths and that their “instinct is a powerful thing!”

My take: Becoming a mother is the most profound transition, you will literally never be the same again. Without a doubt a lioness is born in all of us, and even the most introverted people feel a ember glowing in their belly, with a bigger voice than they had before. Trusting our instincts and advocating for ourselves and our children seems daunting at first, but trust me when I say it is inside you, you’ve got this!

If you’re getting ready to give birth and want more resources like the tips above, join us for Pregnant and Popped, THE Baby Fair for MUMS. Come speak with more than 30 perinatal experts all under one roof, and find the support you’ve been looking for.

Remember, knowledge is power, and we're here to empowa you with educational and informative content. As always, prioritise you and your families well-being and consult with your healthcare provider for personalised advice. We're excited to continue sharing insights and supporting you through this incredible chapter of life.

As always, I am here for you

All my best wishes




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