What are birth preferences and how do you decide?

As I get closer and closer to my due date, April 17th, 2018 I have been talking to my mommy friends about their experiences with labour and delivery. I have learned that they have either enlisted the support of a doula or wished they had.

I started to explore this idea by looking into the role of a doula. According to Angie Evans, a doula in Regina, “[a] doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother and partner during pregnancy, birth & early postpartum. In much of the world today and throughout history, women support women through labour & birth.”

I really liked the idea of having a larger support system extended to someone who is connected with other doula’s and who has supported over 100 births. This kind of community, knowledge, and advocacy was exactly the kind of resource I wanted/needed for my first pregnancy. I am excited to have an experienced birthing partner in the room who can help me and my husband move through labour in a good way.

Now we needed to find and choose a doula! We sought recommendations from doula’s in Regina for a doula in Saskatoon and we interviewed Karen Slater. After we met, talked, and learned (a lot) about each other and the birthing experience we decided that she would be a good fit for us. Since then Karen has provided us with resources, books, and things to think about as we prepare for delivery.

Via Giphy

She indicated it would be good to consider our birth plan/preferences. Now that I have a doctor I am able to take all of the resources I have to construct my preferences. However, I didn’t know where to start to begin creating my birth preferences, and so I turned to the internet for help and found some questions to answer or consider. This is my first attempt to develop my preferences and it is based on information I have heard about or learned from friends, family, various websites, my doctor and my doula. I choose to use the bolded questions and answers as a starting place and know that these may change over time and as we get closer to child birth.

Where would I like to give birth?

In a different circumstance I might have liked to give birth at home, but because we are currently living in an apartment waiting for our house to be built I would prefer to deliver at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

Describe ideal labour environment.

The type of labour environment I hope to construct will involve the following items for optimal relaxation:

  • ability to walk around
  • dim lighting
  • soothing music playing
  • private room (if possible)
  • personal items (blanket, pillow, robe)
  • lavendar aromatherapy

Who Do I want Present?

I would like my husband, Kyle and my doula, Karen to be present during labour and delivery.

Is there a special birthing apparatus and/or position that appeals to me?

Some birthing positions that appeal to me include:

  • kneeling on the lower part of bed with arms or upper body resting on upper section
  • on all fours with stomach facing down, supported by hands and knees

Both these positions help to relieve backaches which I am expecting to have plenty of. If there are other positions that relieve backaches and are more natural/gravity-centered please share with me!

Other birthing preferences

  • intermittent external fetal monitoring
  • internal vaginal exams every 2-4 hours after active labour begins
  • no pain relief medication – only pain management through acupressure and massage (the pain control options include narcotics, nitrous oxide, and epidurals)
  • no episiotomy
  • if we have a boy – no circumcision
  • rooming in – keeping the newborn in the hospital room with us unless there are health concerns with the baby
  • delayed cord clamping; we will donate the umbilical cord blood

My doula also recommended taking prenatal classes from the Prairie Birth Collective. We have signed up for the “six-week birth preparedness class. Topics will include childbirth principles and history, signs and symptoms of labour, childbirth choices, breathing and relaxation, the coach’s role, medications, breastfeeding, postpartum, as well as early childhood literacy.”

Learning about labour and delivery from these resources has been instrumental in helping me shape the kind of birthing experience I value and appreciate.

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7 thoughts on “What are birth preferences and how do you decide?

  1. So exciting:) Thr second time around we took an awesome couples labour prep class that gave us lots of techniques to use together in labor. It really helped my husband and I and he was there, Ina. Helpful way , for every contraction! Also, the bath was a life saver for me! I laboured 80% of the time w Grace in the water. Try it too! Water is great for calming and helping w pain management.

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    1. Hey Colleen – great idea! Yes, I am interested in taking some hypnobirthing classes or just some general childbirth classes in Saskatoon. Yes, I definitely want my husband there in a helpful way too and do like the idea of being in the bath. I know at the hospital there are only so many tubs to go around, so I hope if I decide to go this route it will be available. Either way though – preparing for it all! Thanks for sharing your experience with Grace!

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  2. I remember a friend of mine talking about how wonderful it was to have a doula, especially the first time she gave birth. The doula was able to provide emotional support and guidance on all of the available options as they navigated this new territory. I wasn’t here for most of that time but I do remember the plaster cast they took of my friend’s stomach in her 8th month. She said it was a wonderful bonding experience with her yet-to-be-born child and helped her feel more comfortable in her ever-changing body.

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    1. Hey Jennie! That is good to know that people all over have had good experiences with their doulas. Ooh, plaster cast sounds fun and messy! It sounds like it would be a pretty neat bonding experience. I might try going for a float – it would be cool to feel/be in a simulation of weightlessness and tranquility, much like the womb. I think it could be pretty powerful to experience this at the same time as the little one inside of me. Thanks for reading and for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have done amazing research. While your plan is well thought out it is also important to be flexible. That little peanut will be running the show when it comes to everything…during birth and beyond. I think it’s essential for you to be open to various possibilities and ultimately the goal is a healthy delivery and baby. I had 3 births… 3 birthing plans and all 3 did not execute as I hoped. Things out of my control…controlled the delivery and I was OK with that.
    Glad to see you are doing well momma!!

    Liked by 1 person

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