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Tips to help you prepare for a positive birth:

Your experience of birth matters and you do deserve a positive experience.
By Leonie MacDonald
Date: November 20 2011
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Your experience of birth matters and you do deserve a positive experience. This sets you up for a great beginning to motherhood.

  1. The physical process of labour works best when we feel safe, cared for and are able to trust and let go of our inhibitions and conscious thoughts. We are able to do this best when we feel supported and safe,   respected and valued. So you need to be able to trust in birth, trust in your own body, and trust the people looking after you. The preparation you do and the choices you make are important to the outcome of your labour and how you feel.

  2. Find the carers and the place of birth that share your views on birth and will be able to support you and meet your needs. Regardless of you birth preferences or the way your birth unfolds, choosing the right people will help you through any outcomes. Consider having a doula to support you and your partner.

  3. Learn and practise relaxation techniques – yoga, hypnobirthing, meditation do work! However, to get the greatest benefit you need to do the emotional and mental work that goes along with relaxation.

  4. Understand both the hormonal nature of labour and the way the muscles work. Learn how these interact with your feelings during labour. Work towards trusting that labour works and that the sensations of labour are the result of your body working beautifully.

  5. Reflect on the beliefs you hold about what birth is like and about your own ability to give birth. Consider where they have come from and how they serve you. If you don’t like what you find, do something about it.

  6. Be open to new ideas and different perspectives on what makes a positive birth.

  7. Fill your mind with positive stories, words and images. Do everything you can to explore and lay to rest your fears and anxieties. Don’t listen to stories or watch TV shows that sensationalise birth and play up the risks.

  8. Find a community of supportive people who share your positive view of birth and mothering so that you do not feel isolated and alone. It is all too easy to feel surrounded by people who tell frightening stories of birth and do not support or respect the needs of pregnant women to feel safe.

  9. Listen to your inner self and also to your trusted carers.

  10. Focus on the positives – the most likely outcome is a normal, safe birth and a beautiful baby in your arms.

A perfect birth is not always achievable, but whatever your preferences, a birth where you feel well supported and nurtured is possible. Preparing for birth is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn and grow as a woman - embrace it!

Leonie MacDonald is a mother of two and author of Birth Journeys – positive birth stories to encourage and inspire  (www.birthjourneys.com.au). Orders are open now and her book is available in mid-December.

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