This is the second of my 'Top 5 tips for a positive and empowering birth experience'.
Giving birth is as intimate as making love. The same cocktail of hormones that are produced during love making, and conception, are the same cocktail of hormones that are required for birthing.
For these hormones to function effectively, the right environment is vital. Would you make love in a bright, cold, noisy room with multiple people present to observe? Well….you might, but the majority of women wouldn’t!
The ideal birthing environment is one where the labouring woman feels safe, unobserved and free from judgement. This generally involves a dark, quiet room, familiar belongings and minimal observers. If her body feels unsafe, or perceives any kind of threat, the hormones many not work as well, and her body can stall or 'shut down' labour.
The best support person to have is the person who is going to respect your wishes, help advocate for you and who will be helpful when you need them to be. You need to trust this person and feel comfortable to 'let go' and do what feels right to you. This might involve being naked, swearing, yelling, moaning or being silent.
Sometimes husbands/partners are not the best support people. Some partners are terrified of birth and, even though they love you and their unborn child, they just don't want to be there. It's really important to have an open and honest conversation with them and decide together whether they feel that they can be present and properly support you, or whether it would be better to choose someone else to be with you during labour.
There are two different categories of support people, and they each have their own pros and cons. You can choose to have a family member or friend, or you could hire a privately practicing midwife or doula. The benefits of hiring a midwife or doula are endless - but the main thing is that they have experience in supporting women during labour, and they are unbiased and only have your best interests at heart.
The benefits of positive birth support include:
- Reduced levels of pain
- More likely to give birth without intervention
- Increased confidence
- Enhanced experience of labour
- Less likely to use pain relief
- Shorter length of labour
I hope that you have found this blog helpful, and that it has encouraged you to seriously think about who you will choose to support you during your birthing experience.
Hormonal physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for women, babies and maternity care. Dr Sarah J Buckley, 2015.
The Role of Hormones in Childbirth
Evidence on: Doulas
Evidence Based Birth
Choosing a birth support person