- Birth Options Consultation
- Birth Planner
- Find a Provider
- Classes and Events
- Join BirthLink
- Promote Birth Education
Birth Planning Options
Use the links below to learn more about your birth options:
- Preconception and Birth Planning
- Where You Can Give Birth
- Money and Insurance Issues
- First Trimester
- Creating Your Birth Team
- Pain Management and Comfort Measures
- Childbirth Education
- Celebrate Your Pregnancy!
- Second Trimester
- Pregnancy Issues
- Pain Management and Comfort Measures
- Birth Plans
- Celebrate Your Second Trimester!
- Third Trimester
- Infant Health
- Postpartum Plan
- Celebrate Your Nearly-Over Pregnancy!
- Loss and Grief
- Postpartum Depression
- Parenting Resources
You have made it through your first trimester! You may feel that you still have a long time until you get to meet your baby but that time will be gone before you know it. Are things going the way you would like with your care? Have you decided what the best birth will be for you? Are there any changes you would like to make? Remember that you can change your primary care most easily up to the thirty-second week. After that it is more difficult although one mother actually fired her OB at the birth itself. This is extreme but imagine how empowered she must have felt! As mothers get closer to the end of pregnancy they often get more in touch with their true feelings.
Pain Management and Comfort Measures
Our beliefs about labor and birth are influenced by our cultures. Some cultures are without much fear of bodily experiences and don't experience birth as particularly painful. It seems unlikely that primitive cultures feared birth the way we do. In fear people tense up and block their natural endorphins with adrenaline. This tension fights against the body and can slow or even stop the progression of labor.
It's important to remember that the mind can have complete control over the body. While we all have different pain tolerances, it is very rare for a woman who is allowed to follow the natural rhythms of her body to experience the pain of birth as completely unmanageable. Continuous professional labor support is critical to managing the pain of this process and avoiding unnecessary interventions.
Anything that will help a mother relax and embrace the power of her contractions can help shorten labor and decrease pain. Water therapy, hypnosis training, acupuncture or acupressure are a few helpful options. Women either focus inward and find all distractions very disruptive or they find distractions to be very helpful. Note that this can also change throughout the labor. Music, pictures, dancing, breathing, walking, talking laughing and many other techniques are sometimes used by doulas and can make all the difference in avoiding interventions.
When considering medication it is difficult to know what the risks vs. possible benefits may be. It must be determined if there is a reasonable medical indication or necessity. Many risks are often down played by the medical community and the medications can be used so heavily that they begin to seem "normal". You can learn more about this from an independent birth instructor or doula.
Watch out for the birth plan trap! Just because you are educating yourself and have ideas about how you would like things to happen — don't become too attached to your plan. It's a good exercise to go through so that you can familiarize yourselves with some of the things that could happen. If you are birthing in a hospital choose your battles carefully. Birth plans can cause more conflict than necessary depending on how they are worded. They may or may not be honored by staff. You may want to write one for yourselves and one for your doctor and hospital staff.
Remember that you need to remain open to what happens along the way as birth is an event we have very little control over. It's the one time in you life where you will have to be totally present in the moment. While a sense of control can serve you, being too controlling will not. If things don't turn out the way you had hoped, adding painful disappointment by investing too much in planning can make the healing process more difficult.
Celebrate Your Second Trimester!
Continue to create rituals that allow you to make space to connect with the miracle that is taking place within you. Make space in your busy life to connect with your baby and appreciate all the changes that are going on during this incredible process. Listen to relaxation tapes. Find ways to honor yourself. If you don't have a regular exercise program yet think about prenatal yoga or water aerobics. Some people maintain their regular exercise class and modify the activity level. This exercise will make a big difference when it's time to be in labor. Birthing is a lot of work and the stronger we are the less chance there is of exhaustion. Feel good about your body. You are a miracle too!