Today we have a guest post by Maria Barker.  She has given us some insight on what your options are for giving birth and how to go about planning for your big day.  My advice is not to get too attached to any specific plan, as it may not pan out the way you imagine!

Planning the Birth

So you’ve found out you’re pregnant (early pregnancy symptoms), and you’re probably a good few months into the whole experience – now what?  You might be one step ahead of the game and have already begun to plan the birthing experience and exactly how you want it to work out, whereas some of you might not have even begun to consider the ins and outs of what you want when you go into labour.

Where do I give birth?

The first step is probably deciding where exactly you want to give birth, and you have a variety of options.  Hospital is a commonly accepted place for us all to give birth, and I know plenty of people who have gone down this route.  However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is the only place you can consider.  More and more frequently, women are deciding that they want to have a home birth and this can be organised with your midwife.  It is important to remember that if they think something could go wrong (or is going wrong) then you might end up giving birth at the hospital, regardless of what stage you are in.  Choosing either of these options does not limit the choice you have when it comes to how you deliver your baby though, so don’t get caught up in the ‘I must deliver my baby in a bed’ stories.  There is so much choice when it comes to how you actually give birth!

What are my options for giving birth?

You might decide that you want a water birth, and as long as you have discussed it with your midwife then there should not be a problem with this – they will explain exactly what will happen along the way.  This means you know you will have the support you need, but also the chance to give birth the way you want to.  And you don’t even have to stop there!  How about giving birth using a birthing ball?  This might not be high on many of your lists, but it is proven to be a successful and enjoyable way of giving birth, so perhaps it is worth checking out!  Other things to think about are different positions, whether you’d like to walk around or be still, and what sort of pain relief you’d like (if any).

There is also the option of caesarean section, which some people have to go through despite their wish to have a natural birth.  If a caesarean is medically necessary or a viable option, go through the pros and cons with your doctor as that could help you make your final decision.    

Who and what can help me?

Sorting out a birthing partner is really important, having to go through the whole experience on your own can be extremely difficult, so whether it is your partner, a friend, or even a doula make sure you organise it in advance.  With the birth partner in tow, don’t forget to give them your hospital bag that should contain everything that you think you’ll need during your time in hospital, from the biggest items to the seemingly smallest things.  Have your bag packed and ready to go so you don’t forget anything.  Perhaps a book would be a good idea, you might be sitting around for a fair few hours!

The most important thing to remember is that walking into labour without any plans can lead to unnecessary stress – which just doesn’t need to be the case.  We all want to go through our labour with as little stress as possible, so do a little planning now… put on a cup of tea (coffee might not be advised!) and then get ready for the birth.  Nine months will go all too quickly!