These three tips will help every mother. It does not matter what kind of birth you are planning, cesarean, epidural, no epidural, home birth etc. These are staples to receiving the care you want.
1. Choose a provider who is supportive of your goals
This is often very hard for women to do. You have been seeing the same provider for years. You trust them. You like them. You are comfortable with them. Then, you get pregnant and suddenly the two of you no longer agree on your care. What do you do?
I will preface with saying that every provider is different. They all came to their standard procedures and care from their education and medical experiences. So, even though one provider may allow pushing standing up and the other may not, neither are "wrong". One just is not the provider for you.
Your birth is not the place where you want to have to fight battles if you can help it. If at all possible we always encourage women to work with providers who are fully on board with and support their desires. Sometimes this means switching providers. If you do not want an epidural free birth, the last thing you need is someone pushing you to go without it. Likewise, if you want an epidural free birth, the last thing you need is someone pushing you to accept one. Finding a provider fully supportive of your plans will go a long way in ensuring you are able to meet your goals.
2. Choose a facility whose standard PROCEDURES are closest to your goals
This goes the same as choosing a supportive provider. Often you have gone to the same facility for care most of your life. It is a comfortable place for you. Now, you are planning for the birth of your child and discover the standard procedures at your facility do not allow for your desires to be met no matter what provider you choose. Maybe you want immediate skin to skin, but your facility requires baby to be observed first. You may want to refuse the first bath, but your facility does not allow it. Whatever the reason, every facility will have different standard procedures every care provider has to follow. Find a facility that will support your wants and needs. Why fight battles during your labor and birth if you can find a facility fully supportive of you?
3. hire a doula
Seriously. Doulas provide continuous emotional and educational support throughout your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The evidence shows that doulas improve birth outcomes for mothers. You can see the research here. Also, check out our blog Five Reasons You Should Hire A Doula.
For women who do not have the luxury of finding a provider or a facility that is supportive of your wants, needs, goals, and plans. I am truly sorry. All women deserve to feel completely safe and supported during such an amazing and vulnerable time in their lives. You may have to chose to fight some battles during your labor and birth, Hopefully you are making the path a little easier for the women who will come behind you.