Childbirth Options - Create the Birth Experience You Desire

by Claudia Heilbrunn - Date: 2007-04-18 - Word Count: 730 Share This!

The Right Birth for You

Women today have more choices than ever about how their baby is going to enter the world: in their own home or at a hospital; aided by a midwife or obstetrician; with an epidural or drug free; with solely her medical staff or with her husband and a doula by her side. Many women opt for the popular choice (a gynecologist and an epidural), yet exploring all your childbirth options empowers you and gives you a shot at having the birth experience you desire. During pregnancy, you can educate yourself about all of your options and choose the method of childbirth that's right for you.

Know Yourself

"What kind of birth do I want?" is a question that needs to be answered before you hire people to assist you with the birthing process. Unless you know your feelings and beliefs about childbirth, you will have a hard time knowing whom you want by your side.

Ask yourself:

Do I want someone (besides my partner) with me throughout the labor? Would I feel more comfortable with a gynecologist or a midwife? Do I know all of my options, or do I need to read books and articles to educate myself? Do I want to use drugs to ease the pain of labor? Would taking a child-birth class help me to feel more secure? Do I feel it's important to be in complete control of my faculties and therefore not to use drugs during labor (except in the case of fetal and/or mother distress)? Do I want to be notified about all decisions? Do I want my partner with me at all times?

Choosing the Right Doctor or Midwife

To find the doctor or midwife best for you:
1. Get referrals from friends and moms who have recently given birth.
2. Check to see who is on your insurance plan.
3. Narrow your list down to 2 or 3 choices.
4. Set up a consultation with each (both you and your partner should attend).
5. Create a list of questions to ask the doctor/midwife. Your questions should focus on whether the doctor fits your birthing philosophy.

For example: if you know you want to have 'natural childbirth' and the doctor you are interviewing believes that women should spend their labor on their back and use epidurals for pain management, you know that this doctor is wrong for you (but right for someone who knows that she wants an epidural). Your questions may include:

Do you have a general birthing philosophy?

How do woman in your practice generally manage their pain?

In what position do most moms spend their labor and give birth?

What do you do if a woman is not progressing?

What percentage of woman in your practice receive epidurals, caesareans, episiotomies, electronic fetal monitoring?

How do you feel about doulas (female labor support person)?

What is your call schedule (i.e., who covers for you, and how many people are in your practice)?

If you are interviewing a midwife ask if she has obstetrical back-up.

After your interviews think about, and discuss with your partner, which doctor's birth philosophy most matches your own. Most of all -- trust your instinct: you will feel comfortable and at ease with the doctor or mid-wife who is best for you.

Some Tips from Moms Who've Been There:

* Hire a doula for your birth.
* Have your partner catch the baby.
* Take a childbirth class.
* Spend time during your pregnancy envisioning the birth that you desire.
* Be open and honest with your health care provider - share your concerns, anxiety and hopes.
* Discuss with your partner how you are feeling about your upcoming birth.
* Discuss with your partner what kind of support you need from him or her.
* Prepare yourself for childbirth by reading material on the subject.

The journey through pregnancy is filled with choices: the steps you take to ensure that you have the birthing experience you desire is critical for your feelings of security, comfort and ease. But don't forget, planning your perfect birth will not necessarily mean that you will have it: child birth is filled with surprises and your body and baby will have a major impact on the events of this special day.

But remember: Researching your options, communicating your desires, and taking actions to create your optimal outcome give you the best chance possible of having your ideal birth as your crowning moment.

Related Tags: childbirth, birth, motherhood, moms, bonding, mommy, post-partum

Claudia Heilbrunn is a parenting expert and a Life Coach for first time moms. She offers insights, tips, strategies, and consistant support to new moms to increase their satisfaction, joy and wellbeing day to day. Claudia is the owner of Significant Self Coaching. Visit her website at or contact Claudia at or 212-222-4394

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