When it comes to birth, everyone’s experience will be unique. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about labor and delivery. No two birth stories are the same. It is such a special and individual moment for every mother.
But there is something about birth that is true for a lot of women – some sense of fear and anxiety.
So I’m here to tell you, as a labor and delivery nurse, a mom of two, and the creator of Mommy Labor Nurse, that whether it’s your first birth or your fourth, it’s completely normal, and very common to have some sense of fear as your due date draws closer.
Luckily, there’s actually a lot you can do about it.
4 things you can do to have a more confident birth
1. Make a birth plan
If you know me, you know that I like birth plans, but I always mention them with a pretty big caveat. A birth plan is not a binding contract with yourself (or your provider) that details the exact birth you are going to have. Too many times I’ve seen rigid birth plans be a source of pain and disappointment when things don’t go as planned, and I definitely don’t want that for you.
However, I still wholeheartedly recommend making one as a way to prepare for a more confident birth. Why? Because the act of creating a birth plan sparks a dialogue between you and your provider, it gets you questioning aspects of the birth process (leading to more education!), and it helps you visualize some parts of this big, looming unknown.
So don’t skip the birth plan, mama! Just think of it more like “birth wishes” and do your best to keep an open mind and understand that things don’t always go as planned.
2. Get educated
One of my greatest passions as a labor and delivery nurse is educating new moms about birth. I firmly believe that this is the single best way that you can prepare for a more confident experience. I see it time and time again in the delivery room!
Birth courses and childbirth education help you learn what to expect from the entire birth process - from the anatomy of labor to pain management options. They can even put things on your radar about birth that you didn’t even know about previously. Trust me, it’ll be one of the biggest factors in erasing some of that unknown.
When it comes to which course to choose, I recommend an online class. This way you can complete it in your own time, from your own home, at your own pace. Plus, you can re-watch it as many times as you like, and revisit practice sessions and techniques as your due date approaches.
3. Prepare your support team
Your support during birth is a crucial way to feel more confident. And this is definitely something you can prepare ahead of time! Usually, women opt for one or two support people during delivery. This might be your partner, your mom or sister, another loved one, or a birth doula.
To help prepare your support person, I recommend involving them in developing your birth plan and having them complete childbirth education with you. It’s super important that they know what to expect, too.
And don’t forget to prepare a support team for after birth as well. The transition to motherhood can be challenging for many, and part of approaching birth with confidence is knowing that you’ve got some solid support waiting for you on the other side. This might look like homemade meals from friends, help around the house, childcare for older siblings, or a long-term stay from a loved one to help in any way necessary.
4. Get obsessed with birth
Basically, I want you to start consuming as much birth and newborn content as possible. Follow informational accounts on social media, get involved in the pregnancy and birth groups on Peanut, listen to birth stories, check out some pregnancy and birth podcasts, and talk to other women about their experiences.
All of this builds on the theme of this article: knowledge = a more confident birth. By learning as much as you can and checking out pregnancy and birth-related content on all different channels, you’ll be that much more aware of what to expect.
Mama, I know you’re going to rock your birth, and with the tips in this article you will have more confidence on the big day! You’ve got this.
You might also be interested in:
Online Birthing Classes: Are They Right For You?
Hypnobirthing: What It Is, How It Works, and Top Techniques
Your Guide to Having a Vaginal Birth
All You Need to Know About Early Decelerations