- 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
Postpartum, The Fourth Trimester
One of the most important parts of welcoming your little one into your world is the immediate, uninterrupted infant bonding period just after birth. Ideally you should have quiet time to welcome your newborn. Many hospitals still have a separation policy but most people know in their hearts that this separation is unnecessary. Once those first few hours are gone you can never get them back. Yes, you can still bond with the baby but talk to parents who have had this wonderful experience and they will tell you it is of critical importance. Fathers should also spend skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest time with baby. This simple act will enhance a father's feelings for life.
Remember to find out about practices and procedures for baby following birth. Many common hospital practices have no scientific basis and may only be taking into consideration the clinical aspects of birth. What is routine for the hospital is of mammoth proportions for parents and babies. You can often get what you want by asking. Sometimes you have to put a request in writing well before the birth. You can also use informed consent to waive some procedures that you do not agree with. Don't underestimate the importance of early bonding. Make educated and informed decisions.
Loss and Grief
No one wants to think about bad outcomes. Babies can have medical problems. Stillbirths and late-term miscarriage still happen. We are much more aware of how to help parents cope with these difficult situations. While there is really no way to prepare yourself for tragedy by making the best-informed, educated decisions during birth you can assure yourselves that you did the best you could. By avoiding unnecessary interventions you reduce your chances of birth injury or accidents.
Our culture expects us to to forget about our tragedy as soon as possible. Jo Anne Lindberg, founder of BirthLink, has a unique perspective on this issue:
"As a mother who lost a daughter during birth for no apparent reason, I can say that loosing a child under any circumstances is the worst thing that can ever happen. Thankfully, though, there are many more grief resources available now than there used to be. I wish I had taken pictures, kept a lock of hair or some of the other things that would now help me remember her. Parents facing this experience should seek help in dealing with loss and grief. In time we learn to accept that these things happen. My daughter was a blessing to me and I'm sure she is at least partly responsible for the creation of BirthLink."
There are several risk factors which can increase the chance of having problems postpartum. Traumatic birth can be difficult to recover from. Not having help or support the first few weeks can increase both fatigue and the time it takes to heal. The textbook idea of how long it takes to get our pre-pregnant selves back is, according to the medical model, six weeks. Remember, though that it took nine months to create this baby and it may take that long or longer to fully heal. If you are breast feeding you will need to take this into consideration even more. Older mothers who have been career-oriented most of their lives may have difficulty adjusting to motherhood.
Babies haven't been briefed on adult conversational and life-rhythm habits and generally have their own ideas about what they want to experience and when they want to do it. The stay-at-home lifestyle can create isolation and as we live in a culture that doesn't support it very well each parent has to seek out their own options. Fortunately there is a lot of information available as well as professional help for these problems. See the Birthlink Providers List for helpful ideas. While there is more postpartum depression today than before, with some simple precautions it can be greatly diminished or altogether avoided.
It takes a village to raise a child. Support groups or parenting networks are forming to give parents many resources to choose from. They offer speakers, babysitting co-ops, new mother's groups, play groups, nannie share, newsletters, events and more. They are run by volunteers and give parents the chance to meet other new parents. Being a parent will be the most challenging and rewarding thing you will ever do. Extended families are often a thing of the past. Create a support network with friends. parent network or a church family and enjoy parenting more! See the Providers List for options.