Thursday, May 30, 2013

Planning for Your Birth!

I want to apologize to Julie Olson and Katie Immel.  They submitted this great guest blog for the 2013 Blog Carnival honoring the International Week for Respecting Childbirth (last week) and I just now found it in my spam box.  Please welcome Julie and Katie.....

Planning for your Birth
by Julie Olson and Katie Immel

The day your child is born is a day you’ll remember forever, so it makes sense to put some thought and planning into how you would like it to go. It is important to keep an open mind during pregnancy, labor and birth, because things can happen that are outside of anyone’s control. However, your preparation, planning and goals will affect your experience and may alter the decisions that you make along the way. If you understand and give thoughtful consideration to your options ahead of time and communicate your desires to your care provider (and to the people who will be supporting you), you are more likely to have a happier and more satisfying experience.

Books, websites and discussions with friends can provide helpful information and serve as a valuable starting point, but a childbirth class offers you and your partner a dedicated time to focus on your upcoming birth, discuss information you have learned and put more concentrated effort into identifying and clarifying your desires and goals. 
Sometimes, parents believe they do not need to take a childbirth course because they are planning an epidural, but childbirth education is about more than pain management. Classes provide education on all kinds of topics, such as pregnancy wellness, the typical course of events in labor, your choices, what to expect after the birth and possibly newborn care and breastfeeding. This information can relieve fears and help you enjoy your pregnancy, birth or postpartum time more than if you go through it blindly. You also have a chance to connect with other expectant parents, learn you are not alone in this journey and maybe even meet couples who turn into lifelong friends.
Occasionally, parents believe they do not need to be educated because their care provider will be there to handle things. While in some ways it might seem easier to turn over decision-making to another person and be free from responsibility, there is no one else as invested in your birth experience or its outcome as you are. No one else will be taking your child home and raising him/her and no one else will feel the emotional impacts of the birth like you and your partner. Some decisions made for you by your care provider may not make a difference to you or may be beneficial, while others may leave you with doubt, regret or even trauma. You may look back at your experience and wonder if that intervention or medication was necessary or ask yourself “what if...” questions. Important future decisions might be affected by your birth experience, such as limiting how many children you have or resigning yourself to a similar birth with your next child. Your involvement in the decision-making, regardless of the birth experience or outcome, can have huge benefits to you for years to come.

Every woman is different, every baby is different and every labor is different. There are no absolutes and no hard and fast rules that apply one hundred percent of the time. Education can’t guarantee a particular outcome or ensure that your birth is all that you desire, but it can help you feel respected and empowered - and all families benefit from that.

Julie Olson is a mother of two, a DONA International Birth Doula, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and the owner of Plumtree Baby, LLC, which provides printed materials and visual aids for childbirth education. Katie Immel is a mother of three, a DONA International Birth Doula and an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator. She is an author and graphic designer for Plumtree Baby, LLC.

1 comment:

Janet Mahaffey said...

This is a kind, brief and thought provoking article. It will absolutely encourage a family to, at least, think about childbirth classes. Understanding the process of birth takes a lot of fear out of childbirth.